Algarve News!

Hey folks – it’s time to start gearing up for the Algarve Cup, which kicks off in Portugal soon!  For those of you who don’t follow women’s soccer much – here’s a chance to hop on the bandwagon and get familiar with the coach and players as they head toward the Beijing Olympics this summer.  Twelve teams are invited to the Algarve and will play March 5-12 – with Poland being the newbie this year!  Here’s the match schedule

But, some background first … as most of you know but some may not, the US Women’s National Team has a new coach (Pia Sundhage) as of this past November.  Previous coach, Greg Ryan, was let go after a surprising third place finish at the Women’s World Cup – a finish which many (including myself) feel was prompted by his suspect decision-making and team management.  There was much controversy in and around the team – in large part due to Ryan’s actions, with additional turmoil triggered by some subsequent comments made by Hope Solo – the #1 goalie who had been benched for the Brazil game in favor of Briana Scurry.  Now Bri is sitting at home for the Algarve, while Hope and Nicole Barnhart tend the net for the Nats.

Anyway, that’s all water over the dam and under the bridge at this point, and Pia is at the helm.  A search of old JordanCornblog posts, as well as a peek at the Blogroll will get you more background information if you’re interested.  For now, here’s an interesting piece about Heather O’Reilly’s recent switch from forward to midfielder reflecting some of the very real positives that Pia brings to this enterprise – creative thinking, enthusiasm, and a solid, inclusive management style.  What a breath of fresh air after Greg Ryan!

It’s tough finding information about the Polish Women’s team … but here’s a wee blurb from the UEFA Site.  Hopefully there will be more as the Algarve gets underway.  On the WPS site, there’s a great, rolling list here, of international women’s soccer news.  Might want to check back and see if the Polish women make any waves!

Finally, here’s an interesting (and slightly disturbing) piece by Brandi Chastain about staying in the NOW.  Good advice, to be sure- and what I found disturbing about it was her stated dream of playing again on the National Team.  At age 40, that seems a dream that has stepped over the line into delusion territory. 

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