Germany is the first European team to qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014. Germany booked its spot with its second-straight victory on Thursday in the group phase of the UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship in Wales, securing a spot among the final four teams of the continental championship.
Germany will be joined by three other teams that will book their spots on Sunday 25 August – the third and final day of the group phase to this year’s competition. Finland, Sweden and Norway are the other competitors in Germany’s group (one more spot) while England, Denmark, France and Wales are the four teams in the other group (two spots for Canada 2014).
“We would like to congratulate Germany as the first team to qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014,” said Peter Montopoli, Chief Executive Officer for the National Organising Committee for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015. “We look forward to welcoming Germany in 2014, who are not only previous hosts of this competition, but also two-time title holders in both the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 will feature 16 teams from around the world, with both Germany and host Canada taking two of those 16 spots. The biennial competition is recognised as the most important women’s youth football tournament and as a stepping stone to the FIFA Women’s World Cup (held every four years).
CONCACAF Qualifiers underway in Honduras
CONCACAF Qualifiers in Central America, meanwhile, are underway this week with four teams participating in one of two group phases before next year’s CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in Cayman Islands. This week’s group phase in Honduras features Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Qualification matches in Honduras this week are 21, 23 and 25 August 2013. Next month, a second group of matches will take place in Panama featuring Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.
The CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship runs 9-19 January 2014 in Cayman Islands. The competition will qualify three additional teams for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014, not counting Canada who has already qualified as host but will compete in the CONCACAF championship.
NWSL playoffs this weekend
Four teams have qualified for this weekend’s National Women’s Soccer League playoffs, with first-place Western New York Flash hosting fourth-place Sky Blue FC and second-place FC Kansas City hosting third-place Portland Thorns FC. Both semi-final matches take place on Saturday 24 August 2013.
The two winners will advance to the NWSL championship final that will be played on Saturday 31 August.
In advance of the final, the NWSL has also begun announcing award winners for several categories, with Lauren Holiday (née Cheney) confirmed as the Golden Boot winner. Also announced this week, FC Kansas City trio Erika Tymrak has been named NWSL Rookie of the Year, Nicole Barnhart has been named NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year and Becky Sauerbrunn has been named NWSL Defender of the Year.
Pierre-Louis named Top Player at Canada Games tournament
Québec striker Amandine Pierre-Louis – who is age-eligible to represent Canada at next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 – was named Top Player at the Canada Games Women’s Soccer Tournament in Sherbrooke, QC.
Pierre-Louis scored five goals in five games, including one goal in the final that Québec lost 3:2 to five-time champions British Columbia.
Along with honours as the top player, Pierre-Louis was also selected to the tournament’s 18-player all-star team. The full list of all-stars is listed below.
Canada Games Women’s Soccer Tournament – All-Star Team
: Goalkeepers Maryse Bard-Martel and Julia McDonald.
:Centre backs Jordane Carvery, Aman Shergill and Natasha Tcheki-Jamgotchian
: Outside Full backs Ashley Adams, Rachel Jones and Jordan Lundin
: Midfielders Vanessa Grégoire, Victoria Pickett, Carla Portillo and Sura Yekka
: Forwards Sope Akindoju, Jasmin Dhanda, Samantha Dion, Seina Kashima, Amandine Pierre-Louis, Valerié Sanderson
The Women’s Game: Yoreli Rincon
It is not easy to be a trailblazer, a role that involves treading paths no one else has taken and drawing on all your mental strength to overcome the obstacles and barriers you face along the way. Complete your journey, however, and the sense of satisfaction is immense.
Just ask Colombia’s first female professional footballer Yoreli Rincon, who spoke to FIFA.com about her inspirational story. “It’s great to be able to open doors,” said the midfielder, who now plays her club football for Sweden’s mighty Malmo, one of Europe’s leading sides, and is one of the main reasons why the women’s game is riding high in Colombia.
Having made her way to the top, Rincon is not about to forget how hard it was for her to get there in the first place: “It was very tough, starting with my father, who early on used to burst my footballs with a knife so that I couldn’t play. On top of that we were a family of modest means and we barely had enough money to buy shoes. My brother used to make me shin pads from cardboard boxes.”
READ MORE at FIFA.com in The Women’s Game section