Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By CAITLIN MURRAY
Legendary U.S. Women’s National Team coach Tony DiCicco could be returning to the sidelines in 2014.
DiCicco is reportedly a candidate to lead the newest franchise of the National Women’s Soccer League, the Houston Dash, according to a Houston news affiliate.
The former national team coach would be a big name for Houston. DiDicco is best known for being at the helm of the legendary 1999 squad that won the World Cup in front of a 90,000-plus crowd at the Rose Bowl and 40 million television viewers.
The Houston Dynamo announced last week they would join the NWSL for next year as the Houston Dash and said they plan to name a coach by Wednesday.
Here’s a look at some other stories from around the league:
HARRIS, BROOKS JOIN AMERICANS FLOCKING TO NWSL FROM ABROAD
On-and-off U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris is returning to the NWSL next season, she announced this week.
Harris had been playing for Swedish side Tyreso FF that is in the middle of a strong Champion’s League run, but will return to Washington Spirit in the NWSL for 2014.
“I’m sad to say I won’t be continuing with Tyresö and I will be staying in the NWSL this upcoming season,” Harris said on Instagram. “This decision has not been easy for me and it’s heavy on my heart I won’t continue this journey in Champion’s League with such a wonderful group of people.”
Tyreso will continue its Champion’s League run next week in the quarterfinals of competition.
Harris is the latest in a string of offseason announcements from Americans flocking to the U.S. Soccer-backed NWSL for 2014.
Bayern Munich announced last week that Amber Brooks was leaving the club to play in the NWSL, with club manager Karin Danner alleging U.S. Soccer had pushed for the move.
“We respect Amber’s desire to be close to the U.S. national team and wish to put no obstacles in the way,” Danner said in a statement on the team’s website. “However, we cannot understand the pressure U.S. federation has on players who did not play in the U.S.”
But Brooks took to Twitter days later to deny the allegations, writing: “Just to clarify, I chose to come back to NWSL for personal & career reasons, nothing to do with external pressure.”
The Portland Thorns had drafted Brooks in the 2013 NWSL College Draft and team owner Merritt Paulson hinted on Twitter this week the club will officially announce Brooks’ addition soon.
Americans Christen Press, Meghan Klingenberg and Whitney Engen, who are Harris’ teammates on Tyreso FF, all appear to be set to join the NWSL next season too after Tyreso’s Champion’s League run ends. Yael Averbuch has announced she will be leaving Swedish club Goteborg for the NWSL next year.
TYMRAK SIGNS EXTENDED CONTRACT WITH KANSAS CITY
Erika Tymrak is staying put with FC Kansas City. The 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year and recent national team call-up has signed a two-year deal to stay in Kansas City, the club announced this week.
“I had a great first professional experience in Kansas City,” Tymrak said in a club release. “Everything about it made me a better player: the coaching, playing style, and especially the fans. I’m extremely excited about the next season. It is only going to get better.”
The year-old NWSL turned out to be a launching pad for the University of Florida graduate. She finished 2013 with six goals and four assists in 21 appearances for FC Kansas City, earning her the league’s top rookie honor.
Tymrak went on to earn two caps with the U.S. Women’s National Team this year plus her first international goal. With the blessing of national team coach Tom Sermanni, she played for Bayern Munich in Germany on loan during the offseason, scoring twice in eight appearances.
“Rewarding her performances with this extension was a big offseason goal for the club and we are very excited to have her continue her promising career with FC Kansas City,” said Huw Williams, team technical director.
WASHINGTON BEGINS REBUILDING WITH ENGLISH NATIONAL STRIKER TAYLOR
The Washington Spirit announced this week they signed English national striker Jodie Taylor for the 2014 season with an option for 2015.
Taylor, a graduate of Oregon State University, comes to Washington off a stint at Sydney FC in Australia.
“I am extremely excited to sign for the Washington Spirit and play in the NWSL,” Taylor said in a club release. “Returning to the states has been a long term goal of mine and I can’t wait for the 2014 season.”
Taylor also received her first senior call-up this week, to an England national team camp in January with Boston Breakers striker Lianne Sanderson.
The signing is likely one of many moves the Spirit may be looking to make for next year. The Spirit had a dismal 2013 record, winning just three games in 22 during the regular season.
BOSTON BRINGS BACK EX-GOALKEEPER PHILLIPS AS COACH
The Boston Breakers are bringing back a goalkeeper from last season – but it’ll be as a coach rather than player.
Ashley Phillips played 11 games for the Breakers last year – the most of any goalkeeper – but will be returning as an assistant coach and goalkeeper coach in 2014.
“I am delighted to have strengthened our coaching staff by adding Ashley,” Boston Breakers general manager Lee Billiard said in a club statement. “She has experience as a player and as a coach, and she is someone who knows the league, players, and the college game very well.”
This past season, Phillips posted a 2-5-4 record with one shutout and a 1.82 goals against average.
What do you think of this news? Would you like to see DiCicco take over the Dash or is there another coach you have in mind? Are you glad to see Americans returning to the NWSL or should they continue playing overseas?
Share your thoughts below.