Tuesday’s Column & More

I Want To Go To Rehab, Yes, Yes, Yes

With apologies to the (apparently) aptly-named Amy Winehouse, the U.S. Women’s National Team is holding its first camp under new Coach Pia Sundhage.

The mini-camp, essentially a get acquainted session, ends Wednesday for the 16 players on the World Cup squad and handful of collegians taking part.

The camp was hastily convened so nothing should be read into the absences of the likes of Kristine Lilly, although the veteran striker is still deciding whether to keep playing until the Olympics or retire.

Hopefully, we’ll have some pictures from camp later today, but you can read all about it here.

A couple of things left out of the column for space reasons: Markgraf especially sounded pleased to be reunited with her former WUSA coach who has more creative and attacking expectations than former Coach Greg Ryan did.

“I shoot more with Pia than I ever did with Greg,” Markgraf said after Monday’s practice. “She emphasizes making the right decision. That’s what soccer is all about.”

There was no major team meeting to discuss goalkeeper Hope Solo’s outburst, although Sundhage referred obliquely to the melt down.

“I have addressed the fact that the U.S. Women’s National Team is a team with different individuals, but no one player is bigger than the team,” she said.

Sundhage said this team has the capability to do for the attacking game in women’s soccer what the Germans did for defense: take the offense to a dominating, withering next level.

Striker Abby Wambach is certainly looking to receive more support up front.

“You’re going to see players play differently than they’ve ever played,” she said. “It will be a lot more entertaining to watch and a lot more fun to play.”

Meanwhile, Markgraf acknowledges this is a team whose PR image also needs a bit of rehab.

“I’m just happy people are still watching us and hopefully we can win them back,” she said.

Mia Hamm to Play at the HDC

Retired great Mia Hamm and baseball-playing hubby Nomar Garciaparra play in a charity game Jan. 26 at Home Depot Center.

The celebrity challenge game includes Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones, Julie Foudy, Brad Guzan, Brandi Chastain and others.

More details are here and on MySpace.

Also, Hamm will appear from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 5 at the upcoming Cal South Soccer Nation Expo at the LA Convention Center.

From the (edited) press release:

Hamm will have two appearances on the Expos central pitch. One will be a 15-minute question-and-answer session, answering questions submitted by Soccer Nation Expo attendees. In the second, Hamm will participate in a 4-on-4 kids game as Kingman, in which she will switch sides with each possession. When not on the pitch, Hamm will be available to sign autographs and meet and greet Soccer Nation Expo attendees at the Nike exhibition booth.

During both pitch times, Hamm will promote the Mia Hamm & Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge, January 26, 2008 at the Home Depot Center, an event that benefits Childrens Hospital Los Angeles bone marrow patients and their families. A bone marrow typing demonstration will be part of this segment. Bone marrow typing is used to find possible matches for patients needing marrow transplants. Representatives from the National Bone Marrow Donor Program at the City of Hope will be at the Expo to type attendees interested in becoming part of the program.

More than 125 exhibitors and 30,000 people are expected to attend Soccer Nation Expo.

More details are here.

Prep Previews

Offseason, what offseason?

High school soccer is gearing up and here are previews from the Pioneer League and Marine League.

A Bay League preview is here.

Prep scores from the South Bay are here and from the Long Beach Press-Telegram here.

Finally, the Daily News checks in with news from a tournament in La Canada Flintridge.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • Coach

    Your headline, want to go to rehab, yes, yes, yes ….. too funny!

    All the best to Pia, Hope and the entire WNT!