No new CBA deal? No problem, apparently. On Thursday, US Soccer announced a two-match trip to Europe for the USWNT this coming summer. The squad will travel to Norway for a friendly on June 11 at the Komplett Arena in Sandefjord. Norway are one of the few nations in the world to have won the World Cup and Olympic gold.
While for the USA the match is simply a way to develop future talent for World Cup 2019, for Norway it offers the perfect warm-up match for the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro in Netherlands, in which Norway has been drawn into Group A with.
Norway is currently ranked 11th in the FIFA standings, with the USA holding on to the top spot. Thinking ahead about the second match of the trip, Sweden and Denmark stand out as ideal options. The USA is already scheduled to play France, Germany and England in the SheBelieves Cup in March. Sweden (8th) remains as the only other European team in the top 10 for the U.S. to battle, with Spain (14) and Denmark (15) following.
Although this trip will disrupt NWSL play and take about 15-20 key players, the impact is far less than past years. With no Olympics or World Cup in 2017, and the growth of the player pool, the league shouldn’t see any major issues during this USWNT trip.
Hopefully USWNT coach Jill Ellis uses the trip to test out new players who have yet to start for the national team, including players yet to break out in the forth coming NWSL season. Back in January Ellis kept five players from the U23 squad to train with the senior side.
By the time we reach these summer friendlies the younger league players or college standouts may be required, moreso that just a chance to expand the talent available. If US Soccer and the Women’s National Team are unable to reach a new deal by late spring, will the leaders on the team finally move for a strike?
At some point either a strike will be required to drive home their point if US Soccer doesn’t agree to new terms before then. Otherwise it’ll be another long four-year cycle of wanting better pay, but having missed the chance.