Neville names first squad; Stoney hangs up the boots and the US face pay questions

Womens Super League

The latest news from women’s football in the UK and around the rest of the world over the last week.

Phil Neville has named his first England women’s squad since taking charge, with the Lionesses set to compete in the SheBelieves Cup next month.

Chelsea’s Anita Asante, who was one of the players that said they were treated badly by Mark Sampson, has been recalled for the first time since 2015. Neville has also confirmed that he will select previously-exiled Eni Aluko in the future, should she merit a call-up.

There are places in the Lionesses squad for defender Hannah Blundell and midfielder Gabby George – both of whom will be hoping to claim their first caps.

Captain Steph Houghton was included in the squad but has since been ruled out with an ankle injury, while Karen Carney and Jordan Nobbs have also had to withdraw. The trio has been replaced by Houston Dash’s Rachel Daly and uncapped Manchester City duo Abbie McManus and Georgia Stanway.

Keeping with the national side, as former England skipper Casey Stoney has agreed to join Neville’s coaching staff, following her retirement last week. The defender, who won 130 England caps, ended her memorable career on a high when her Liverpool side saw off Sunderland 3-1 in the Super League.

Elsewhere in the WSL1, Chelsea threw away a two-goal lead away to fellow title contenders Manchester City on Saturday. The draw means that the Blues remain one point above City at the top of the league.

There could be huge changes on the horizon for women’s youth football at international level, as FIFA is currently considering merging the U-17 and U-20 World Cups. The governing body’s competition committee met two weeks ago, and the suggestion is that the two tournaments may be combined to create one single event with 24 teams competing.

The U.S Soccer Federation posted their most recent tax form last week, which showed that several U.S Soccer employees were paid more than their world champion women’s coach, Jill Ellis.

Between April 2016 and March 2017, the figures showed that Ellis earned around $292,000, while Jurgen Klinsmann’s main assistant on the men’s team at the time, Andi Herzog, received $447,000.

Klinsmann himself, who had his contract terminated in November 2016, is easily the highest-paid coach in the history of U.S soccer. The ex-boss claimed $3.3 million in the year of his termination and later received $6.2 million in severance because he was contracted until the 2018 World Cup.

Klinsmann’s replacement, Bruce Arena, was paid $400,000 in December of 2016 final, with the majority of that coming from a signing on bonus.

Ellis was one of only two women included in the list of top earners, with a further seven USSF officials from those already mentioned, receiving more than the women’s national coach.

Afghanistan Women’s coach, Kelly Lindsey, has said that her players are risking their lives to play football. The former USA international told BBC Sport that the players get spat on, stoned in the street and even have to avoid bombings on their way to training.

During Lindsey’s tenure, Afghanistan has risen from 128th to 106th in the FIFA world rankings, despite the coach never setting foot in the country because of security concerns. This means that all training camps and matches take place outside of Afghanistan for safety purposes.

The FA has launched its London Leopards coaching programme, where it aims to introduce 100 female coaches into girls’ football. The coaches will deliver sessions in London to around 1,000 girls between the ages of seven and 11.

There are currently only 11% of girls aged between five and nine playing football, in comparison to the 52% of boys of the same age. Whereas the numbers have risen to 41% in girls taking part in the sport between the ages of 10 and 11, but this is again a long way behind the 88% of boys participating at the same age.

Along similar lines, the Irish FA have announced that they are currently working on a new strategy to take the women’s and girls’ games forward, and have extended their invitation for the consultation to anyone who wishes to be part of the process. There is more information on their website about how to get involved.

About the Author

James Murray
I am a second-year journalism student at London South Bank University. I am a huge football fan and love to analyse, write and talk about various aspects of the beautiful game.