The 24 teams have now been confirmed for Euro 2016 – the biggest European Championship tournament there has ever been following UEFA’s decision to add eight extra teams in the space of four years.Follow paulmbanks
Starting this weekend at the Rose Bowl, U.S. Women’s National Team forward and Chicago Red Stars franchise player Christen Press will host the soccer themed segments on FOX Sports digital series, @The Buzzer.
Press hails from Palos Verdes, California and with FOX being headquartered in Los Angeles, it’s convenient for everyone involved.
“Working with such a cool digital series like @TheBuzzer was such an attractive opportunity for me and I am so thrilled to be a part of it,” Christen Press said.Follow paulmbanks
With her transcendent performance in the World Cup title game rout of Japan, Carli Lloyd established herself as one of the faces of the USWNT. Lloyd won the tournament’s Golden Ball Award (which goes to the most outstanding player), and in doing so placed herself squarely within the national consciousness.Follow paulmbanks
Julie Johnston and Christen Press, two players currently with the United States Women’s National Team on their victory tour, were named to National Women’s Soccer League best XI today. It’s the All-NBA first team of the NWSL. Press and Johnston shone the brightest of all the Chicago Red Stars, helping lead the team to the NWSL semi-finals.
This was the first time in the Red Stars eight year history that they have reached the postseason.Follow paulmbanks
The NWSL is fairly certain that it will return in 2016, but 2017 is still up in the air. Next year is season number four for the National Women’s Soccer League and no professional American women’s soccer league has ever survived beyond three seasons. So the NWSL has already achieved more than any of their predecessors, but 2016 is a critical crossroads year.
The league has a special unique opportunity to capitalize on growing interest in the game and maybe take it to new levels. That is, if they can market themselves correctly.Follow paulmbanks
When United States Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan made some Tweets ripping the National Women’s Soccer League for substandard team accommodations a month ago, it received a lot of media coverage. Anything involving bed bugs, as this matter did, tends to get a lot of attention. Both bed bugs and Alex Morgan are indeed clickbait.
The NWSL response to Morgan’s complaints went completely under the radar however. NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush answered a reporter’s question on this topic yesterday.Follow paulmbanks
Amy Rodriguez is a member of many teams: the United States Women’s National Team, FC Kansas City of the National Women’s Soccer League, and theoretically, Bill Simmons’ “Reggie Cleveland All-Stars.” Rodriguez is FCKC’s leader in assists, goals and shots. She is the focal point of their offense.
Today, she dominated the first of the two NWSL semifinal matches, scoring two goals in the first 25 minutes, as visiting KC routed Chicago 3-0. The Red Stars surrendered three goals in a 13 minute span that essentially rendered the remaining 65+ minutes irrelevant.Follow paulmbanks
The position battle that will determine the NWSL semifinal between the Chicago Red Stars and FC Kansas City is clear- Christen Press and the Chicago forwards versus KC’s central defenders.
“Christen Press is a very talented player, she’s probably one of the best when she gets in the box or right around the box, she’s so incredibly dangerous,” said Kansas City FC Defender Amy LePeilbet following the most recent meeting between the Red Stars and KC.Follow paulmbanks
Julie Johnston is probably the favorite to win NWSL Defender of the Year and for good reason. She does a lot more than just protect the goal, get clear-outs and defend the Chicago Red Stars zone. She gets it out to the Chicago attack and gets an assist here and there.
Last week she beautifully set up Press on a header for the Red Stars only goal, coming in the 90′.Follow paulmbanks
With 10 goals in 11 National Women’s Soccer League games this season, she’s a constant. FC Kansas City will focus their game plan around her when the two teams meet in the NWSL semi-final. Press scored both of Chicago’s goals when the two teams played to a 2-2 draw in Chicago on August 1st.
To beat the reigning champions and advance to the NSWL title game in Portland, they’ll need additional scoring options beyond Press. Canadian International and Winger/Forward Adriana Leon has to become one of those scoring options. Leon, who holds down a very key position in Chicago’s attack, will play a significant role in determining how far the Red Stars go in their first ever trip to the postseason.Follow paulmbanks
The Chicago Red Stars are having the best season of their short history, and scoring sensation Christen Press is leading the way. The Red Stars were founded in 2007, hence the hashtag #crs07, and this is the first season in which they reached the postseason. Today is their regular season finale, versus World Cup Golden Ball winner Carli Lloyd and the Houston Dash.
It’s 4 p.m. at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire, instead of at the Red Stars’ usual home, Illinois Benedictine University. Next week, they’ll be back at Toyota Park to host a National Women’s Soccer League semi-final game.Follow paulmbanks