It’s a busy time of the year for women’s soccer as many players are preparing for the 2011 FIFA World Cup while also competing with their club teams in the top leagues all over the world. Several teams have high expectations for themselves as preseason is wrapping up and games are about to begin.
Our Game has been following what has been happening in offseason and has placed predictions on each league. Read on to see the thoughts of top players and coaches as they give their expectations for their season and the impact they feel the Women’s World Cup will have on their league.
Toppserien (Norway): April 2
Home Opener: Røa I.L. vs. Sandviken
Prediction to Win League: Røa I.L.
Quote from Røa I.L. forward, Lene Mykjåland:
“I have big expectations for both myself and my team, Røa I.L, this season. I’ve been training a lot and really well, and want to be good this year. The same goes for my team, we have a great team this year, but we’ve had some injuries in the preseason, so it’ll be exciting to see how we do. I predict this season to be tighter than ever, especially between us, Stabæk, Kolbotn, Arnar Bjørnar, and Lillestrøm.
“I don’t really know how the world cup will impact the league. Of course there will be a longer break for the league. I guess it can depend a little bit on how Norway perform in the world cup, and also which players get to play. It can be tough as a player to be away for almost six weeks if you’re not playing, mentally especially. It can also mean that you’re not in that good shape when you get home too. The long break can also be tough for the teams with a lot of national team players – the quality on the trainings wont be as good as they usually are and so on.”
Women’s Professional Soccer (United States): April 9
Home Opener: Atlanta Beat vs. Boston Breakers
Prediction: Western New York Flash
Quote from WNY Flash defender, Ali Riley:
“I expect the team to do really well and be the top team in the league. We will play great possession soccer. The team will be affected by the world cup because we have so many internationals and U.S. players but the world cup will hopefully increase the interest in the sport in the long run and benefit the league.”
FA Women’s Super League (England): April 14
Home Opener: Liverpool vs. Everton
Quote from Liverpool Ladies head coach Robbie Johnson:
“My expectations are that if we perform to our maximum capacity as often as we can then we will be competitive in the league, however to achieve this objective it will require the players to be completely focused and for them to maintain this for as long as possible in each game. Regarding the World Cup break, we have senior Scottish and Welsh international players but none in the England squad at senior level. Therefore all of our players will remain at home, so from a playing perspective the break should allow us to recover from the first half of the season and give us the opportunity to work on technique, tactics and fitness that will enable us to improve in the second part of the season and into the playoffs. This is in line with the 16-month programme that was set out in June 2010.”
L-League / L1-League (Japan): April 2
Home Opener: Yunogo Belle vs. Albirex Niigata
Prediction: NTV Beleza
Damallsvenksan (Sweden): April 9
Home Opener: Göteborg FC vs. Tyresö FF
Prediction: LdB Malmö
Naisten Liiga (Finland): April 9
Home Opener: PK-35 vs. Kokkola F10
– By Meagan McCray