Thursday Kicks: Ball Drive in Stoppage Time & More

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You know it’s tough out there when the annual Daily Breeze ball drive needs a little bounce.

I’m also noticing a dearth of donated soccer balls, BTW, hence this appeal to 100 Percent Soccer blog readers. I already have calls out to Chivas USA and the Galaxy who are peering into their equipment rooms, but yet to make any firm commitment (hint, hint, folks). The Sol should feel free to jump in, too.

Conveniently, there’s a Sports Authority store across the parking lot from the Breeze building at the corner of Hawthorne and Torrance boulevards.

In other news:

*MLS announced Thursday the initial list of 62 college seniors to has invited to its annual combine Jan. 8-12 in Florida ahead of the SuperDraft that begins just two days after the combine’s conclusion.

Locals invited include UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk, midfielder/forward David Estrada and midfielder Kyle Nakazawa (Palos Verdes Estates).

The full list is here.

The Women’s Professional Soccer draft is Jan. 15, BTW.

*A slight schedule change to the InterLiga schedule Jan. 10 at Home Depot Center. The first game will now be Tigres-Jaguares (3 p.m.) followed by Monterrey vs. Puebla.

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Wambach, Sol’s Marta Among Five WPS Nominees for FIFA World Player of Year

But Torrance’s Shannon Boxx is not among the 10 female players on the FIFA short list this year.

Marta has won the award three times in succession.

Here’s FIFA’s list of the male and female nominees as announced today.

And here’s the WPS press release heralding the accomplishments of the players nominated who play in the league:

Sonia Bompastor FRA/Washington Freedom – Led the league in assists (6) while tallying four goals and was selected as WPS Player of the Month for May. Her slashing, exciting play at defensive midfield helped the Freedom bounce back from a slow start to finish third in the 2009 WPS Regular Season.

Cristiane BRA/Chicago Red Stars – The only player in WPS to notch a hat trick this season, her incredible long-range strike against FC Gold Pride in early July was one of the goals of the year this season in WPS. Finished with seven goals, fourth-best in WPS.

Marta BRA/Sol – Winner of the 2009 Michelle Akers Player of the Year Award as the league MVP, Marta notched 10 goals and 3 assists to lead the Los Angeles Sol to the regular season title and a spot in the WPS Championship final.

Kelly Smith ENG/Boston Breakers – Tallied six goals in just 15 games in WPS this year to lead the Boston Breakers early charge to start the season as one of the best teams in WPS and winning WPS Player of the Month honors for April. Finished among the top 5 in WPS in goals and was a consistent threat in the offensive third with her dangerous left foot.

Abby Wambach USA/Washington Freedom – After a slow start, Wambach finished tied for second in the league in scoring with eight goals and led her team to a strong finish down the stretch and a third-place finish in the regular season as WPS’s July Player of the Month. Notched her 100th career international goal with the U.S. National Team in July against Canada.

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Report: WPS Sol $2 Million in Red, WPSL Ajax “Broke”

That’s according to Brian Boswell, coach of the Rolling Hills Estates-based Women’s Professional Soccer League club Ajax America (for years now one of the top women’s teams in the nation and a WPSL finalist again last year) and a sometime contributor to this blog.

The revelations were contained in what is essentially a begging letter circulating via e-mail that seeks to ensure the continued existence of Ajax.

Boswell also has close ties to the Sol and it’s the first-time I’ve seen semi-confirmation from someone associated with the team regarding the long-rumored magnitude of the team’s losses.

Still, Anschutz Entertainment Group, which has part ownership of the Sol, has committed to the team for at least one more season and the club will play next year at Home Depot Center again from what I’ve heard.

Here’s the text of Boswell’s e-mail exactly as he wrote it:

Hi Everyone,

Please excuse this mass e/mail but many of you have watched the Ajax women play and/or participated in 1 or more of the Ajax Academies.

Ajax is one of the top women’s teams in the world. Last year we were the LA SOL’s reserve team and had 11 of the SOL players on our roster. We have been US Soccer National Champions 6 times, WPSL national Champions twice in the last 9 years and in the WPSL final 4 of the last 4 years.

Ajax is broke.

Each year we have been able to raise money through the Academies and some wonderful sponsorships. Plus 4 years ago we won $20,000 playing in an international tournament in Korea which we have been using.

For Ajax to play next season we need to raise a minimum of $12,000. This covers league fees, field fees, travel fees, referees fees etc. Notice no coaching fees.

We were hoping this year we would get financial support from the LA SOL but its possible there will not be an LA SOL. They lost over $2 million last season and may not be around for next year. Leaving Ajax as the best women’s soccer you will be able to see locally.

Obviously we would love to find 1 sponsor who would donate the whole $12,000 but we realize that is probably impossible but please feel free to be that sponsor. Realistically we are hoping to find 120 families who would be willing to donate $100 each to the Ajax team.

We hope there are enough of you who have watched and enjoyed Ajax playing that you would want it to continue. We have never charged admittance, just hoped you would come up, watch and enjoy.

Please let me know if you would like to donate or have any ideas that we could use to raise the money.

Please consider this and please pass this onto anyone you feel could help or anyone we have missed.

Any donations are tax deductible.

Thank you all for your support in the past and hopefully the future.

Sincerely,

Brian

Brian Boswell Ajax

Brian’s telephone number is listed on the team’s page, BTW, for anyone who wants to help or get in touch with him.

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Sol Trade Defender Falk and Backup Goalie Henderson

In a shock trade the Sol allowed central defender Allison Falk, an integral part of the L.A. defense last season, and backup goalkeeper Val Henderson to leave for the expansion Philadelphia Independence today in exchange for the No. 5 and No. 22 draft picks.

I’ve received no notification from the Sol, but it’s up on the Independence Web site.

Updated:

I chatted with Sol GM Charlie Naimo about the trade today, focusing largely on Falk leaving.

Naimo observed the Sol defense “was not as good as our stats show” and that the team was at or near the top of WPS rankings in shots allowed and saves made.

“We’re looking to get faster,” he said “We’re trying to diversify the team next year and get a little less predictable.”

With three picks in the first round of January’s draft, which Naimo believes has a collegiete crop much stronger than last year, the team has the option of drafting a defender to replace Falk or picking up an international defender.

The Sol also did not pick up the option of Chinese forward Han Duan who made little impact between injuries, language issues and a lack of form and hopes to replace her with Czech midfielder-forward Pavlina Scasna, who formerly played in the WUSA with Philadelphia.

The option of injury-prone Aly Wagner was also not picked up by the team, although Naimo said he does intend to talk with the former U.S. international again.

Other roster moves: the Sol exercised their options in 2010 for Stephanie Cox, Camille Abily, Brittany Bock, Karina LeBlanc, Aya Miyama and Manya Makoski. The club waived Martina Franko and Christie Shaner and declared as free agents Liz Bogus, Brittany Cameron, Lyndsey Patterson, Keri Sanchez, Lisa Sari, Julia Schnugg and McCall Zerboni.

Naimo indicated he also has another big deal in the works; he’s awaiting word from the other team involved.

“We will be a better team next year,” he said. “Our fans need to trust what we’re doing.”

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Sol’s Bock Receives First WNT Call-up

Defender Brittany Bock, 22, received her first call-up to the U.S. Women’s National Team today in the wake of a 12-day camp at Home Depot Center and ahead of the Oct. 29 game against Germany.

She was an integral part of the Sol’s defense last season.

Also named to the roster were Torrance’s Shannon Boxx of the Sol and USC product Amy Rodriguez. All eight of the WPS teams that played the inaugural season have at least one player on the roster.

The full squad:

goalkeepers – Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica)

defenders – Brittany Bock (Los Angeles Sol), Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis Athletica), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Out of Contract), Cat Whitehill (Washington Freedom)

midfielders – Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol), Tobin Heath (North Carolina), Angela Hucles (Boston Breakers), Lori Lindsey (Washington Freedom), Carli Lloyd (Out of Contract), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars)

forwards – Amy Rodriguez (Boston Breakers), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)

It will be the first meeting between the two nations since January 2007 and the first time the USA has played in Germany since the summer of 2000. The Women’s World Cup will be played in Germany in 2011.

The last two games between the nations ended in scoreless ties after 90 minutes.

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Weekend College Scores

Sunday
Long Beach State 0 UCLA 4
Sydney Leroux scored twice for the No. 7 Bruins, which also got goals from Lauren Cheney and Liz Zadro at George Allen Field.

USC 1 St. John’s 2
No. 12 USC has started the season 0-2, a 54th minute penalty from Megan Ohai failing to stop the Trojans’ first loss at home since 2006, snapping a 19-game streak at McAlister Field.

Tennessee 0 Pepperdine 1
Senior Kelly Reilly’s first goal in three years was enough for the Waves.

Cal State Northridge 1 Oregon State 3
Senior Sydney Vermillion put the Matadors ahead in the 37th minute, but the Beavers scored three goals in the last 12 minutes to earn the road victory.

Also Sunday, the WPS All-Stars beat Sweden’s Umea IK 4-2 Sunday, coming back from a two-goal deficit to win. The Sol’s Marta scored once and added two assists.

Saturday
UCLA 1 UC Irvine 1
Freshman Evan Raynr gave the Bruins the draw, scoring with just six minutes left in the game.

Friday’s results are here.

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Waiting for the Weekend: Live and Local

Click the link to the right for the complete, exhaustive listing of soccer on TV this weekend.

But here are my picks for the best of the games followed by a listing of the local games in and around L.A.

TV best bets Saturday:
4:30 a.m. ESPN2 Chelsea-Burnley
9 a.m. Fox Soccer Channel Manchester United-Arsenal
11:30 a.m. FSC AC Milan-Inter Milan
5 p.m. KVEA CD Guadalajara-Pachuca
8 p.m. ESPN2 Galaxy-Chivas USA

Sunday
7 a.m. Everton-Wigan Athletic
2:30 p.m. FSN WPA All-Stars-Umea IK

Local games
Women’s soccer
3 p.m. today McAlister Field UCLA-Mexico
1 p.m. Sunday Matador Field Cal State Northridge-Oregon State
3 p.m. Sunday McAlister Field USC-St. John’s
5 p.m. Sunday George Allen Field Long Beach State-UCLA

Men’s soccer
4:30 p.m. today Matador Field Cal State Northridge-UNLV (first 50 CSUN students through the gates get a free T-shirt)
8 p.m. Saturday HDC Galaxy-Chivas USA

Thursday Scoreboard
Women’s soccer –
Cal State Northridge 3 Loyola Marymount 0
Cal State Dominguez Hills 0 Vanguard 1

Meanwhile, the men’s program at Harbor College is gearing up for the season.

Finally, this has little to do with soccer, but 18 breweries will be serving up 10 4 oz tastings of their products for $20 Sunday at the inaugural Torrance Block Party, which includes a craft brew festival in Old Torrance. That’s where I intend to beat the heat Sunday.

More details are here.

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Tuesday Kicks

Final shots for the day:

*Sol defenders Brittany Bock and Stephanie Cox and midfielder Shannon Boxx were among 26 players called into Pia Sundhage’s 12-day USWNT camp that begins Sept. 21 at Home Depot Center. Bock gets her second call-up of the year after also making the U.S. roster for the May 25 game against Canada in Toronto she was forced to miss after suffering a heel injury in training the day before.

Sundhage has the luxury of calling in several other WPS players for a look including Washington Freedom midfielder Lori Lindsey (1 cap), Sky Blue FC midfielder Yael Averbuch (2), uncapped Chicago Red Stars midfielder Brittany Klein and Sky Blue FC defender Meghan Schnur.

The squad: goalkeepers – Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Ashlyn Harris (North Carolina), Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica)

defenders Brittany Bock (Los Angeles Sol), Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis Athletica), Stephanie Cox (Los Angeles Sol), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Boston Breakers), Megan Schnur (Sky Blue FC), Cat Whitehill (Washington Freedom)

midfielders Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx ( Los Angeles Sol), Tina DiMartino (FC Gold Pride), Tobin Heath (UNC), Angela Hucles ( Boston Breakers), Brittany Klein ( Chicago Red Stars), Lori Lindsey ( Washington Freedom), Carli Lloyd ( Chicago Red Stars), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Leslie Osborne (FC Gold Pride), Megan Rapinoe ( Chicago Red Stars), Kacey White (Sky Blue FC)

forwards Lauren Cheney (UCLA), Amy Rodriguez ( Boston Breakers), Abby Wambach ( Washington Freedom)

*BTW, the Sol’s Camille Abily scored the winner from the spot in France’s 2-1 win Monday over Iceland at the European Championships. The scorer of the other: none other than Washington Freedom’s Sonia Bompastor.

*New Columbian Chivas USA defender Yamith Cuesta,20, on loan from Colombian side Expreso Rojo was/is scheduled to arrive at LAX tonight and join the team after receiving a visa.

*BTW, I usually skip these press releases, but I couldn’t resist this one. Chivas USA players Jorge Flores and Bobby Burling will promote Clamato juice this coming weekend at local stores (1-2:30 p.m. Saturday for Flores at the Wal-Mart at 8500 Washington Blvd., in Pico Rivera and 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Sunday for Burling at the Food 4 Less at 5100 N. Figueroa St., L.A.). Do they stand next to a huge mountain of Clamato juice? Hand out samples? Make a mean bloody mary? Or just have shoppers wondering who these guys are loitering near Clamato juice?

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WPS Championship Update: Sol-Sky Blue FC

A straight red for Sol defender Allison Falk in the 27th minute after she clipped an on-rushing Natasha Kai from behind.

A poor decision by referee Kari Seitz in a championship game this early that changes the complexion of the match; no way did that look deliberate. It was just a clumsy, almost accidental touch. And I don’t believe Falk was even the last defender back anyway.

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