photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
NEW YORK — Abby Wambach has smashed the international scoring record, won a FIFA World Player of the Year award, and claimed two Olympic gold medals.
Yet there’s still something she is desperately craving.
Wambach’s storied career has seen her accomplish a whole lot from both individual and collective points of view, but the one thing that has eluded her throughout is winning a World Cup. Wambach is set to enter her fourth and final World Cup with the U.S. Women’s National Team in a matter of days, and the soon-to-be 35-year-old striker is eagerly hoping to cement her legacy by crossing off that final item from her to-do list.
“Right now, you’re damn right I need it,” said Wambach. “It’s all that I’m thinking about. It’s all that’s on my mind. It’s the thing that I haven’t been able to be a part of. I haven’t won yet. It’s something that I know all of us have to be willing to be forever disappointed in not winning, because that’s what it takes.
“You have to completely give into it, you have to completely allow yourself to be crushed by something. It’s like love. If we give into it, if all of us give into it, then I think that we can have a chance at this. I do.”
Here are more notes from the U.S. Women’s National Team’s Media Day:
Photo by Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
The 2016 MLS All-Star game is officially bound for San Jose.
As reported by SBI earlier this week, MLS announced Thursday that the 2016 All-Star game will be held at the San Jose Earthquakes’ Avaya Stadium. The match will be broadcasted on ESPN and Univision and will be the second time San Jose has hosted All-Star festivities after previously hosting in 2001.
“We are pleased to bring the AT&T MLS All-Star Game to San Jose,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber in a statement, “and know that Avaya Stadium and the Earthquakes’ passionate supporters will provide a vibrant and electric setting for this marquee event.
“It will be 15 years since the last time San Jose hosted our All-Star Game, and the growth of the All-Star Game and festivities has mirrored the remarkable progress of the sport in North America. We look forward to celebrating our game with soccer fans throughout the Bay Area.”
Here are some more of Thursday’s MLS news and notes: Continue reading
By RYAN TOLMICH
In the wake of the federation’s latest scandal, FIFA president Sepp Blatter is looking for the organization to better police itself, with Blatter personally leading the charge.
In his first public comments since Wednesday morning’s arrest of numerous FIFA officials, Blatter told FIFA’s annual congress that the organization must repair its reputation.
“I know a lot of people hold me responsible for the actions and reputations of the global football community,” Blatter said, “whether it is the decision of hosting a World Cup or a corruption scandal.”
“We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time. If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it. But it must also fall to me to be responsible for the reputation of our entire organization, and to find a way to fix things.
“I will not allow the actions of a few to damage the reputation of FIFA.” Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
Tab Ramos has touted the current U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team as the most experienced and talented one that he has ever coached, but now the Americans will have to live up to the hype and deliver in order to prove they are deserving of such superlatives.
The U.S. Under-20s will begin their much-anticipated World Cup campaign on Saturday morning (12:01 am ET, Fox Sports 1) with a match against relatively unknown Myanmar. The Americans enter the showdown at Northland Events Center as the favorites, but that’s a role they are expected to carry throughout the opening rounds of the competition after also being paired with New Zealand and Ukraine in a favorable Group A.
Apart from having landed a kinder draw, this group of U.S. U-20s is also much more seasoned than the one that went three and out in Turkey two years ago. Players like captain Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht) and Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) have begun to break through at the club level, making for increased expectations and pressure in this World Cup.
The Americans are aware of that, and of the fact that failing to get out of the group will be deemed as a huge failure. Still, the U.S. is not thinking that far ahead. The sole focus right now is on starting the tournament with a win.
“Our goal right now is to beat Myanmar the first game, so if we can get the three points the first game then the next challenge will come along,” Ramos said earlier this month. “One of the things that the team knows – and it’s no secret because I think every team in the world will tell you – that the team that we have can beat any team in any one given day.
By RYAN TOLMICH
For the first time ever, players such as Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux will be in the game.
EA Sports announced Thursday that the U.S. Women’s National Team will be among 12 women’s national teams included in the upcoming FIFA 16 video game. The USWNT will be joined by Germany, France, Sweden, England, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, China, Italy and Mexico as playable teams, marking the first time that gamers will be able to use women’s teams in the popular FIFA series.
Each team will be playable in both online and offline gameplay, but will only be playable against other women’s teams.
The announcement comes just over a week before the kick off of the Women’s World Cup, which is set to run from June 6 to July 5.
Have a look at a trailer for the new feature below:
By IVES GALARCEP
The game of soccer has made major headlines for the wrong reasons this week, with federal corruption charges snagging FIFA officials and threatening to lead to a long-awaited cleaning house in the sport’s governing body.
Episode 208 of The SBI Show takes a look at the FIFA scandal, and what it could mean going forward. We talk about the impact on CONCACAF, and whether Sepp Blatter is really ready to face justice.
Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss the U.S. Open Cup, which saw USL teams sweep NASL teams in all seven match-ups on Wednesday night.
Give Episode 208 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:
photo by Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
NEW YORK — Alex Morgan is still battling a knee injury, but the star U.S. Women’s National Team forward insists she will be ready for the start of the World Cup.
Morgan has been recovering from a bone bruise in her left knee in recent weeks, and missed both of the U.S.’s wins against the Republic of Ireland and Mexico earlier this month because of the injury. Her status for Saturday’s send-off series finale vs. Korea Republic is unclear, but Morgan believes she will be fully healthy and ready to go when the Americans open up their World Cup campaign against Australia in about a week-and-a-half.
“I’ve been doing a lot better and I’m still day-to-day,” said Morgan. “Once June 8 comes, there’s no question in my mind that my knee will not be bothering me. I’m going to be 100 percent and I’m looking forward to the World Cup and knowing that won’t set me back at all.”
By DAN KARELL
Sepp Blatter and FIFA are feeling the heat, a little more than 24 hours after the U.S. Department of Justice and their Switzerland counterparts raided FIFA’s personnel and offices.
Blatter held an emergency meeting with the leaders of all six FIFA confederations, a FIFA spokesperson confirmed, while reports are growing that Blatter has rejected calls for him to stand down or even move Friday’s FIFA presidential election.
“There was a meeting today with the president [Blatter] with the representatives from the confederations to discuss the current situation,” FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer told reporters.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Swiss police officers arrested seven individuals in cooperation with the U.S. DoJ, and at the same time, police officers raided the offices of FIFA for information surrounding the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process.
Since then, UEFA has called for a postponement of the presidential election, but FIFA has reiterated its desire to hold the election as scheduled, as well as to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Here are some more stories to start your Thursday: