By CAITLIN MURRAY
The French are coming.
According to a report in France, France women’s national team coach Philippe Bergeroo said Tuesday that his squad will visit the U.S. for two friendlies in June.
Bergeroo, who replaced coach Bruno Bini starting in August, said he wants to see if the French team is up to par with the U.S., currently ranked No. 1 in the world. France is ranked No. 6.
By June, the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League season will be well under way, meaning allocated players will likely miss matches if the friendlies fall outside FIFA dates or the NWSL schedule again sets games during FIFA breaks.
The U.S. Women’s National Team has never lost to the French side. Their most recent clash was in the Olympics last year where Les Bleus took a 2-0 lead in the first 14 minutes, only for the U.S. to come roaring back with four unanswered goals. Still, the French represent a worthy competitor for the U.S. as they will be preparing for 2015 World Cup qualifying later next summer, too.
U.S. Soccer has not confirmed the France friendlies and typically formally announces domestic matches a month ahead of time.
Here’s a look at some other stories from around the league this week:
SEATTLE SWAPS FOXHOVEN FOR McDONALD, MOROS WITH PORTLAND
Laura Harvey is at it again.
The wheeling-and-dealing general manager and coach of Seattle Reign FC continued her offseason re-tooling of her squad Wednesday, peeling away forward Danielle Foxhoven from rival Portland Thorns.
In exchange, the Thorns received forward Jess McDonald and the rights to midfielder Rebecca Moros.
Foxhoven, a grad of the University of Portland, had appeared in 21 games for the Thorns, including eight starts, tallying four goals – two of them game-winners.
“Danielle is a fantastic addition to our squad,” Harvey said in an emailed statement. “Her proven experience and ability will be a valuable asset in the future development of this team.”
Moros, a native of Larchmont, N.Y., and a Duke University grad, joins Seattle coming off a stint with INAC Kobe Leonessa in Japan, where she helped the team win championships in 2012 and 2013.
McDonald made nine appearances for Chicago Red Stars this season with one assist before joining Reign FC, where she made 16 appearances, tallying three goals and two assists. McDonald graduated from University of North Carolina.
THORNS DEFENDER DOUGHERTY RETIRES AT 29
Portland Thorns defender Marian Dougherty, 29, announced her retirement from soccer Tuesday.
Dougherty had played in 19 of 22 regular season matches and every minute of the NWSL playoffs, where the Thorns later won the championship.
“It was a hard decision and it’s going to be a change for me, but also a challenge that I look forward to in the future,” Dougherty said in a statement. “Everything in my life, I owe to the game of soccer. It has brought me remarkable moments, memories and friendships. One of the best moments of my career has been to play in this city with such an amazing team and organization.”
Dougherty of Lakewood, Colo., played four professional seasons, spending three years in Women’s Professional Soccer with the Chicago Red Stars and Boca Raton, Fla.-based magicJack before joining Thorns FC in 2013. She was the club’s fourth-round pick in the NWSL Supplemental Draft in February.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER-BACKED EXPANSION DECISION COMING
A decision on an NWSL expansion team is still pending.
Reached Friday, Houston Dynamo President Chris Canetti said the club’s ownership group is still deliberating on opting into the NWSL as an expansion team.
“I would say things are progressing well,” he said. “There will definitely be a decision next week.”
As reported by SBI Tuesday, the Dynamo have developed a plan for expansion that has been presented to U.S. Soccer and next steps hinge on whether Dynamo decides to proceed.
What do you think of the U.S. hosting France in June? Will you attend? Do you think Laura Harvey has done a good job with offseason team building?
Share your thoughts below.