Sources: USWNT stars to miss part of 2015 NWSL season for residency camp

USWNT Starting Eleven Team Photo

By CAITLIN MURRAY

The schedule for the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League is not out yet, but it appears the U.S. Women’s National Team stars of the league will be playing a somewhat smaller role next year.

According to sources with the league and close to the national team, players in the USWNT pool will miss at least two months for an extended training camp before the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Portland Thorns FC owner Merritt Paulson, responding Saturday to a tweet that the USWNT players might miss a large chunk of the start of the 2015 NWSL season, said they will miss eight games.

A source close to the team confirmed to SBI that the process was underway to put together an extended camp for the USWNT to prepare for the 2015 World Cup. The camp could be as long as three months, though it is not yet finalized.

Former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage, writing on her Swedish-language blog last week about meeting with current coach Jill Ellis at the recent U-20 Women’s World Cup, said Ellis “will probably have the national team gathered from January to March and just let the players play three or four league games.”

That could create a challenging situation for the league as rumors run rampant that the Canadian Soccer Association will remove their players from the NWSL altogether for the 2015 season. Canada Coach John Herdman was asked directly about it in January in a conference call, and told reporters Canada’s participation in the league would be reviewed at the end of 2014, but stopped short of confirming changes would be made.

The Canadian federation, along with U.S. Soccer and the Mexican federation, allocate their national team players in the NWSL and subsidize those players’ salaries as part of a partnership. U.S. Soccer owns and operates the league.

In the run-up to the 2014 World Cup in June, the U.S. Men’s National Team had a two-week camp in Stanford, Calif. starting in mid-May before embarking on a three game friendly tour.

The big question for the 2015 NWSL season has been how the league will handle the World Cup taking place toward the end of the season in June and July.

NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey has reportedly said the 2015 schedule is in the process of being finalized and will be announced soon. A NWSL spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment Saturday.

The NWSL schedule could add a break for the World Cup or it could be shifted earlier or later. Major League Soccer imposed a two-week break for this summer’s World Cup, enough time to cover the group stage of the tournament.

The 2015 World Cup will begin June 6. For its first two seasons, the NWSL schedule has run from early April to the end of August.

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12 Responses to Sources: USWNT stars to miss part of 2015 NWSL season for residency camp

  1. AMPh says:

    For the league, this seems like it would be a black eye to it’s legitimacy. The US women out for 8 games, the Canadian women possibly out for the entire season!? And what if other countries follow suit? So either the league greatly alters their schedule, or loses it’s brightest stars?

    For the players, a three month pre-tournament camp sees too long, as in, it may become counterproductive in certain areas, like player morale, and team chemistry. That said, I’m sure Sundhage has considered this, and will adjust her camp accordingly.

    OT – Well done, ladies! Show the men how to take a prematch photo.

    • Landy Cakes says:

      uh do you remember how long the MLS players were out for world cup preparation? Maybe they should have moved the season. Or maybe its a good opportunity for younger players to get PT. But seriously who’s going to miss the world cup for a 2 year old league?

      • AMPh says:

        Most pre-world cup camps go for about a month. Our guys trained for two weeks before starting the send-off series, and were on their way to Brazil two weeks later, if memory serves. 3 months, or near that, feels like a massive difference to me. Your other points are fair.

        • RAMONE says:

          Agreed. Three months plus the world cup (which will run June 6th to July 4th), then I assume the players will want at least 3-4 weeks off before going back to club play.

          NWSL season runs April through August. What is the point of bringing back the stars for the last 2-3 weeks of the season when they have missed the whole thing to date? Paulson’s statement that they will miss 8 games seems conservative (which is 1/3rd of the season … maybe he is just talking about the camp alone? or just the WC dates alone? certainly not figuring in them wanting some rest after the tourney wraps up….). NWSL may just want to start with April/May and take a WC break June 1 to July 10, then start back up again and play into October. That would make more sense.

          • @FootyCanuck says:

            Agreed 100%. Seems logical to adjust the 2015 NWSL schedule a bit.

            Surely, this would be a win for all concerned (except the non-nationals, who would benefit from extra PT).

            Let’s face it, the NWSL relies on the draw of the NT stars and those same players benefit from a paying gig. This should be workable.

        • Landy Cakes says:

          the men missed a full month for training camp. Obviously the send off season is part of training camp.

    • Increase0 says:

      Ya, 3 months seems bizarre. The fact that Canada didnt deny is even more insane. You cant have this and have a real league.

      Also, yes Jozy could take some pointers on how to bend his knees.

    • Ezra says:

      > I’m sure Sundhage has considered this, and will adjust her camp accordingly.

      There are no Swedish NTers in the NWSL

    • GT says:

      Why not just start the season AFTER the World Cup? Let’s say July 15 thru November 15?

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  3. kernel_thai says:

    Im a bit confused. If the three months they r talking about is Jan -Mar that’s not so unusually. They generally have a camp in Jan, a camp and two friendlies in Feb, an Algarve camp in March and then a camp and couple friendlies in early April before they inexplicably fire the coach. So just keeping them in residency Jan-Mar isnt really more than just three extra weeks.

    As to the time they will miss from the league, it’s more like a month before plus WC If the league starts in mid April as usual and player r with their teams for 4-5 games then ur talking about them leaving in mid May and returning in mid July.

    They should take a break or at most run a minimal schedule during WC. Not only will the teams be without their drawing cards, but those players will be playing on tv and fans will be staying home to watch them. They should extend the season into Sept and if they absolutely cant, they should bag the playoffs and play right to the end of August.

    As to international players, I wouldnt expect any players on WC teams to be in the league before the WC except the Americans. Th Australians have already said they dont know when and if they will be returning.