There has been much speculation about the potential loss of national team players to a post-Olympics Victory Tour. Is this worth worrying about? With the facts available today, the short answer is “no”.
Will there be a Victory Tour?
Yes, this is a near-certainty. According the US Soccer Federation budget, a ten-game victory tour is a planned. As we see on page 57, the first two are set for September, the next two for October. Unless the US were to fail to medal, this tour is a sure thing.
Will the Victory Tour overlap the NWSL schedule?
No, it will not. The FIFA dates for international women’s friendlies, which is when an opponent would be available, are set for Sept 12-20th and October 17-25th. NWSL has a schedule break for this purpose, from Sept 12-23rd. The October FIFA dates are after the NWSL Championship Match, which is October 9th in Houston.
What about pre-Victory Tour camp?
There will not be any extended camp. According to FIFA’s policies, players are released on the Monday of the break and must return by the Wednesday after the break. Therefore, no NWSL games would be affected. However, we all know that USSF does not respect those rules for the USWNT, even though they do for the USMNT.
But we have a hint from the last time this happened – the 2015 World Cup Victory Tour. The first post-WWC victory tour match was versus Costa Rica on Sunday August 16, 2015. The Thorns played a match on Wednesday August 12th and had the full complement of healthy USWNT players. Thus the preparatory work-out was less than four days for that initial victory tour match. Bear in mind that this was seven weeks after the WWC Final. For 2016, the first Victory Tour match is about four weeks after the Olympics Final, so there should be even less need for a tune-up camp.
So are we home free?
As a team, yes. But for individual players, probably not.
With seven players working for a month at the highest level, the odds are very high that somebody will get an injury. After the 2015 World Cup, we had two Thorns out injured.
Some players may have non-Thorns events like making advertisements, appearancing (not a word, but it should be) for sponsors, meeting politicians, talking to Jimmy Kimmel, etc. While you’d hope these could be scheduled around the very few remaining Thorns matches, there is no assurance they will be.
The bottom line is that NWSL and USSF have done a respectable job minimizing the impact of the post-Olympic period. If the injury goddesses are kind, the Thorns should be fine.
By Richard Hamje
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5 thoughts on “Victory Tour Blues?”
“According to FIFA’s policies, players are released on the Monday of the break and must return by the Wednesday after the break. Therefore, no NWSL games would be affected. However, we all know that USSF does not respect those rules for the USWNT, even though they do for the USMNT.
That’s my concern. I don’t trust Jill Ellis not to decide she wants her team to practice before these meaningless exhibitions.
I tend to agree with you that that’s not LIKELY. But given the past two matches…I don’t even want to think “likely”. I want to feel really confident that our players will be here. Which is why I’m nailing my “USWNT out in the group stage” colors to the mast. For a WC? Hell, no. But we won that. For this circus? Sorry, for this it’s club before country for me.
And the prospect of injury is non-trivial, as well.
So…I’m not AS worried. but I’m still worried.
Club before country! You did notice the feature image on that post? Should make my sentiment clear 🙂
The victory tour is less concerning to me for the reasons in the article. Also, Ellis recently bringing players in before the international window opens could be justified with her claim to heavily weighting Olympic roster selection on training. That excuse just wouldn’t be valid for a victory tour game with no major tournament on the horizon. I’m not saying there is no chance of it happening but I see it as very unlikely.
My bigger concern is when the NT players will actually return. Last year the WC ended on July 5 but none of the internationals played in the Thorns next game on July 11 (except Kyle). Barring an early US exit, most of our NT players will have played 6 matches in just over two weeks with the latest being Aug 19. Due to fatigue and media requests (not to mention possible injuries/knocks), I don’t see the regular players getting back for the Aug 27 match. Sonnett should be able to be available and maybe Sinclair or Henry depending on how Canada and France fair but still nowhere close to our full team.
I hope to be proven wrong but I don’t like our chances of getting any points against a suddenly clicking Seattle team this weekend and if we take a team with half of our starters missing up to Seattle on Aug 27, a likelihood of pulling out a result in that game could be slim as well. Without a result from either Seattle game, we could be below the red line with only four games remaining. WAS would be ahead with any result in their next three games and WNY would pass us with anything more than a single tie in their hone & home with Houston. Either Sky Blue or Chicago could pass us with two wins (or be even with a win and tie). The worst part would be that we would be tied on points with Seattle but they would hold the head to head tie breaker.
The August 27 game is a crap shoot, what with the potential injuries and distraction for our nats. But the only thing Parsons can control is the next two games, and most critically this next one. A draw is a good result, in my opinion. But how to get it?
I’m not confident in our ability to bunker, even though it worked last time. Seattle is better than they were, we’re worse. Maybe attack is what we need, high pressure and quick passing.
And pray that Houston turned a corner in their match with us, and can take down WNYF and Spirit at home.
Thanks for reading and taking the trouble to comment. I’m real curious for your take. Is 1 point enough? If you’re Parsons, how do you set up for Saturday?
One point from either this weekend or Aug 27 in Seattle would be just enough as it would at least guarantee a playoff position going into the final four games when all our NT players should be back (barring injury). Two results would obviously be huge even if they are both ties as it would leave Seattle more than three points behind.
I think I have less confidence in the current roster’s ability to be effective in a high press than in a bunker especially against Seattle who is an excellent passing team and always seem to have players in the right spots to break a press. Parsons has had two weeks to focus on this game so hopefully he has the right plan in place and the players dialed in to execute it.