The U.S. Women’s National Team will end 2012 at #1 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. As Jack Bell of the NY Times Soccer blog notes – 2012 began with a string of five consecutive shutouts and could end the same way if the U.S. should blank China in the final game of the team’s Fan Tribute Tour.
Sandwiched in there, if that is the correct term, was a second consecutive Olympic gold medal after the American women defeated Japan in the final at the London Games.
And that is not all. At halftime of Saturday’s match the name and the logo for the new women’s professional league, which is scheduled to begin play in the spring, will be unveiled. The eight-team league, a third attempt to establish a successful and sustainable Division I league for women in the U.S., has the support of the federations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The three federations will support financially up to 52 players in their national team pools.
Saturday December 15 – USA vs. China
From FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network
Abby Wambach took the spotlight with her 149th and 150th career goals in the latest win. The former University of Florida star has 25 goals in 2012, her second-highest total in a calendar year behind only her 31-goal performance in 2004. She is also inching closer to 2007 National Soccer Hall of Famer Mia Hamm’s world record of 158 career goals.
Alex Morgan (28 goals) and Abby Wambach (25 goals) have combined for 53 goals in 2012 – the second-most goals of any duo in U.S. WNT history. The record is 55 goals in 1991 when Michelle Akers scored a record 39 goals and Carin Jennings tallied 16 goals.
2012 BEST OF U.S. SOCCER AWARD WINNERS
Best Goal – Alex Morgan vs. Canada, Aug. 6 where Alex Morgan bags the latest goal in FIFA history, sending the USA to the Olympic Gold medal match. Gets better every time you watch it.
Best Performance: Player – Megan Rapinoe vs. Canada, Aug. 6 – 64%
Best Performance: Team – WNT vs. Canada, Aug. 6 – 75%
Best Save – Hope Solo vs. Canada, June 30
On Oct. 30, Tom Sermanni was named the seventh head coach in U.S. Women’s National Team history, succeeding Pia Sundhage who coached her last match on Sept. 19 against, you got it, Tom Sermanni.
Sermanni, 58, the long-time coach of the Australia Women’s National Team brought the Matildas to the USA for two matches, both U.S. victories, and ended up being on the opposite bench of the woman he would replace a little more than a month later.
Sermanni comes to U.S. Soccer with 11 years of experience as a head coach in international women’s soccer – all with Australia – a period during which he led the Matildas in three Women’s World Cup tournaments. Sermanni is the first U.S. Women’s National Team head coach to have experience as a head coach in a Women’s World Cup tournament at the time they were hired.
Sermanni will officially begin his tenure as the WNT head coach on Jan. 1, 2013.
So that’s the Year in Review for the ladies. Will you watch the match tonight? Did I miss any highlights?