Events this month (other than Abby Wambach’s retirement):
The end of the Victory Tour
The final four games of the 10-game Victory Tour take place in December:
Sunday, December 6
The U.S. women take on Trinidad & Tobago in Honolulu — Team USA’s first match in the Aloha State. The game is at 7 p.m. CT on Fox Sports 1.
Thursday, December 10
Trinidad & Tobago again, this time at the Alamodome in San Antonio. On ESPN2 at 8 p.m. CT.
Sunday, December 13
China, in Glendale, Ariz. On ESPN2 at 6 p.m. CT.
Wednesday, December 16
The finale, against China at the Superdome in New Orleans. This is Abby Wambach’s farewell appearance. The game, at 7 p.m. CT, is on Fox Sports 1.
China could pose problems. While not the international powerhouse that it once was, the team is ranked No. 15 in the world and made it to the quarterfinals of this summer’s World Cup before being dispatched by the Americans, 1-0.
That said, the World Cup win extended Team USA’s unbeaten streak against China to 25 games. In all, the teams have met 54 times. The United States has won 33 games, China has won eight, and 13 have ended in draws.
Trinidad & Tobago will be completely overmatched. The side is No. 48 in the world. Worse, the island nation’s soccer federation is in chaos.
Randy Waldrum, the respected former coach of the Notre Dame women’s team, had been coaching the T&T women for free, as a voluntary gesture to help the program establish solid footing. But last month, Waldrum told The Equalizer that he had ended that arrangement because Trinidad & Tobago refused to make “some sort of commitment to the women’s program and make some sort of commitment to me,.”
Waldrum, whose paying job is coaching the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League, said turmoil within the island’s federation had made his situation untenable. The federation’s president is locked in a power struggle with its general secretary. The president tried to fire the general secretary. The general secretary refused to go.
Meanwhile, Waldrum can’t get anyone to return his calls. According to The Equalizer, even routine matters, like setting training dates, have become an ordeal. Waldrum has never been able to gather more than eight players for a practice — on a team that needs all the practice it can get. Logistical snafus are the norm. For example, he said, for a morning flight from Houston to Trinidad, the federation sent him a plane ticket that arrived at 11 p.m. the night before — with his name misspelled.
Even with adequate preparation and competent coaching, Trinidad & Tobago wouldn’t have a prayer against the World Cup champs. Stumbling around with no direction, the women of T&T are in for two very rough dates in Honolulu and San Antonio. Let’s hope they at least enjoy the sightseeing.
In their first six Victory Tour games, the American women are 5-0-1 and have outscored opponents by a cumulative margin of 32-4.
Monday, December 14
Sports Illustrated announces its 2015 Sportsman of the Year
I think Carli Lloyd deserves the award.
Hope Solo agrees.
Friday, December 18
Still No. 1
FIFA’s new world rankings come out. Yes, Abby, that’s correct. We’re No. 1, and we will be after the new numbers are released.
December 29 – Christen Press turns 27