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Women's programs and development around the world


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Norway has an interesting program for helping their best young talents. They are returning to a system they have used successfully in the past that focuses in on about three players in each birth year. They're targeting the Rio Olympics in 2016 but also note the benefits it will bring to Germany this summer and London next year.

They have U16, U17, U19 and U23 teams like everyone else. But they don't stop there. They identify and target the the top 10% of that 100.

The select 14 players between 16-21 they feel are the main candidates for future service to the country based on athletics, skill, mental makeup, etc. It's not a closed door and more can get added over time. They currently have four 1995's in the program.

The selected players receive training scholarships from the association, special attention in the club environment, additional health monitoring, and participation in age-specific teams. In addition, some participate in selected full women's team meetings.

The project manager for the rebirth of the initiative was a product of the program in 1996 and ended up with Olympic gold and almost 100 caps.

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Associations focus on developing women's football

Published: Monday 28 February 2011, 14.42CET

A Women's Football Development workshop in Nyon emphasised how UEFA, with the help of its KISS and HatTrick projects, is continuing to nurture the development of the women's game.

The importance being attached to the development of women's football throughout Europe – underlined by a recent UEFA Executive Committee decision – has been reiterated by a gathering in Nyon that helped set the course for the future in this sector of the game.


thanks to www.bcsoccerweb.com

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KISS is Knowledge & Information Sharing Scenario.


If you are giving a workshop on women's football, how hard is it to use powerpoints with women?

51 associations present.

"At its meeting in Prague in December, the UEFA Executive Committee noted the huge growth in European women's football, in terms of both registered players and participation, and agreed to support the UEFA Women's Football Development Programme (WFDP) via a yearly payment of €100,000 between 2012 and 2016. These payments will come via the HatTrick III scheme.

UEFA was delighted to see 51 associations present in Nyon to exchange views and ideas. This first-ever gathering on women's football development focused on subjects such as women's football development at UEFA; women and governance in football; the brand positioning of women's football at UEFA; and the recuitment of female coaches. Several of the participating FAs also presented their own activities and experiences. These included governance issues (Austria and Denmark); volunteer recruitment (Sweden and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia); grassroots programmes (Moldova and Republic of Ireland); promotional campaigns (England); building a girls' academy (Switzerland); and recruitment of female footballers (Germany)."

Sure there are cultural, organizational and financial issues, but CONCACAF needs to get in the game.

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Interesting interview with Boston Breakers GM on monetization and sacrifice at the fringe of the professional level.

Why are there no 'developmental' players on WPS rosters this year?

Crossley: That was a formal classification that had certain financial guidelines and it just doesn’t exist anymore. The Breakers will still effectively have developmental players, but they won’t be called that. In the first two years of the League we had 18 players on the full roster of the team and you could have as many as four developmental players.

Those players typically made $1,000 a month, so through the course of the season they made about $6,000 and they didn’t have the same benefits package, dental and health insurance, that the other players had.

This year the Breakers have a 24 player roster and certain players more at one end of the roster who would have been developmental players last year will be earning that same amount of money, just without the name tag. So, we’ll have players earning $1,000 a month, but they’re going to have a valuable role this year. With the U.S. National Team players away for so much of April and May and training camp in March, these players are going to have a valuable role in training. When we have call-ups, these players will come in and start and in some cases, play 90 minutes or substitute to a greater degree than our developmental players have over the past two years.

Do these $1,000 per month players take side jobs or classes?

Crossley: That would be challenging for them and certainly not what our developmental players did for the past couple years. They train with the team full-time and we train in the middle of the day and we’re there early. It’s not the kind of thing where you can get a job in the middle of the day or go out and bartend till the early hours of the morning and be in great shape the next time you come in. It’s a love of the game and for players that are trying to break through.

This sport is not really different than quite a few other developing or developed sports that have low-level minor leagues. It’s for players just looking for that break. If you look at major league lacrosse for example, the average salary is less than $10,000 a year and some of those players are working other jobs during the week.

If you look at independent professional baseball, they’re making $4,000-$6,000 a summer and not doing any other work on the side. It’s just one of those things where there’s always going to be a group of talented young players who are trying to prove that they can break through and be part of a starting eleven. It’s a dues-paying kind of position.

Boston Examiner article

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a note to illustrate the gap in Canadian football culture:

"The [English] Football Association has announced that over 250,000 people have passed FA Learning coaching courses across the country since the current programme’s formation in 2001."

"Over 5,000 coaches boast both the UEFA B and A licence while 187 have a Pro Licence certificate."

And regarding the specialty youth licenses: "the opportunity to specialise in working with young players is good for the game and points towards a positive future."


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Similar voices of equality and transparency in Nigeria.

"The event, which took place in Lagos was organised by Search and Groom, a nongovernmental organisation based in Lagos in conjunction with the Heinrich Boell Foundation, a German organisation affiliated to the German Political Party, Alliance 90/Greens.

The roundtable, with the theme ‘We play for gender equality,’ had representatives of media organisations coming together to discuss "Gender (in) equality in Women Football."


Sounds interesting and positive. The big kahuna is figuring out exactly what gender equality is. It's such a simple phrase, and such a complex solve. The phrase 'world peace' comes to mind.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Similar stories/sacrifices in our other women's national game

Trying to get the message out


The Gazette March 24, 2011


MONTREAL - The best career advice has always been to find something you love to do - then figure out how to make a living at it.

But if you're a female hockey player - even a multiple Olympic and worldchampionship gold medallist - that's easier said than done.

After the heady glow of the 2010 winter Games in Vancouver faded, after all the one-year anniversary Olympic commemorations were written, that is the challenge facing Sherbrooke's Sarah Vaillancourt and her Olympic mates.

"That's what I'm trying to do. I love it for sure," Vaillancourt said yesterday, shortly before she headed to Barrie, Ont., with the rest of the Canadian Women's Hockey League Montreal Stars to compete in the Clarkson Cup, the national amateur women's hockey championship.

Unlike figure skaters, skiers, biathletes and even snowboarders, the hockey players don't have a competitive circuit to return to between major championships. So it's back to reality, and the ongoing effort to create a viable women's professional hockey league.

"At least we didn't have to pay to play this year. It's the first year it was like that," said the 25-year-old Vaillancourt, who graduated from Harvard shortly before the Vancouver Games and is in her first season with the Stars, who play their home games at the east-end Étienne-Desmarteau Arena.

"I think the people in charge of everything now have higher expectations than people did before and are working hard to get sponsors, get more and more people involved - people more used to the business world," she added. "But I think we're going to need a lot of patience."

Vaillancourt and her fellow Olympians are luckier than most; athlete stipends from the government take some of the pressure off.

Most of her Stars teammates work at full-time jobs. There are teachers, and a few in the business world.

Team captain Lisa-Marie Breton, one of the CWHL's founders, is a strength-andconditioning coach at Concordia University. St. Hubert's Sabrina Harbec and American Olympian Julie Chu coach in U.S. women's programs.

Kim St-Pierre and Caroline Ouellette (along with McGill women's coach Amey Doyle) launched a website last October called Athletichub.com that helps young athletes get recruited by college programs in all sports, not just hockey.

What they'd all love to do, obviously, is be full-time pros. They don't want big salaries or fancy perks. They just want to play. But it has been an uphill battle to get the message out.

"I've invited a few people here and there throughout the season, people who had seen some of our national team games," Vaillancourt said. "They were really impressed by level of play (in the CWHL). I feel like it's just a matter of getting people to go. Once they watch, I know they're going to be hooked."

For women, success on the pro level in North America has tended to come in individual sports - golf, tennis and figure skating. The teamsport concept has generally been a tough sell.

Especially in hockey.

"The NHL takes so much space, there's not much left for us," Vaillancourt said.

The idea of a pro women's league isn't a new one; before the CWHL, there was the NWHL - a league whose teams changed names, locations and home rinks on a regular basis (Mississauga had the Ice Bears, Chiefs and Aeros; Montreal had the Axion, Wingstar and the Jofa Titan).

There have been several meetings with the NHL about getting some backing, in similar fashion to the support the WNBA has received from the NBA.

The home Olympic exposure should have given the effort a big boost, but it remains a work in progress.

After Vancouver, Vaillancourt did notice more people had heard of her. When she would go to a school to give a presentation, she no longer had to explain who she was and what she did. But she believes many fans think women's hockey is only actually played every four years.

"Obviously, it's not at the level it could be," she said.

"I have to explain to people all the time about the CWHL. They're interested in learning about it, and they're surprised when I tell them there's a league. I feel that people think we just get together during Olympic years, and that's a big problem. They're surprised when I tell them there's a league. I feel like if we give people more information about it, they'd get into it. But they don't hear about it."

Vaillancourt's career path is multi-layered at this point. She plays for the Stars, and spends three days a week coaching in the sport-études program at École sécondaire du Triolet in her hometown.

Next season, with the launching of a women's hockey program, she'll work there full time. This summer, she'll also run a hockey school at the city's new arena, affiliated with former Canadien Yanic Perreault's school. She also speaks at schools.

So for Vaillancourt, hockey is at the very least a living.

"The money is not unbelievable, but I can still work out and train, and still play for Montreal," she said.

The Stars, who led the CWHL's regular season and playoff standings, open their quest for the Clarkson Cup against the defending-champion Minnesota Whitecaps Thursday night at 6 at the Barrie Molson Centre.

Sunday's championship game will be broadcast on TSN at 8 p.m.


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  • 1 year later...

I'm going to go to a few 2012/13 European Women's Champions League qualifiers here in Strumica, Macedonia.

Macedonia is a country where women's football definitely takes a huge back seat, and I'm curious to see what the level of play will be like. Other teams playing in the qualifiers are PAOK (Greece), MTK (Hungary) and Skonto Riga (Latvia). On Saturday, PAOK defeated Nase Taxi (Skopje, Macedonia) 1-0. Unfortunately, 50 Greek ultras came supporting PAOK and made a number of political statements etc about the Macedonia issue.

Today I will go watch PAOK play Skonto Riga. Skonto lost 5-0 to MTK on Saturday.

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Spain u-19 were just runner up to Sweden in the Euro championship, and I see that the Spanish league winner now gets a direct berth to the UEFA Women's Champions League. Portugal was a semi-finalist. With a pretty barebones structrure and still few players, the competition is getting stiffer and stiffer. Which is how it should be.

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