Umeå will not be weakened, manager says

The parting of Umeå and Marta is finally done. Umeå's general manager Britta Åkerlund is relieved: "It feels good, it has been a long and energy draining process", she comments to a local newspaper. So, in spite of losing Marta, it feels good.

Umeå has lost the main star, the coach and the team captain. But Åkerlund doesn't feel it is time to lower expectations: "We will have just as high expectations on ourselves as previously and I don't think the 2009 team will be weaker than the one we had 2008."

A player she hopes will help Umeå meet the expectations is Australian striker Lisa De Vanna. But De Vanna, who has finished her Australian W-league season, as her Perth Glory didn't make it to the play-offs, has alternatives. She has an agent who is dealing with the clubs and she will sit down and talk things over with him this week. She says to Västerbottens Folkblad that there are four Swedish clubs that are interesting to her: "I want to play for a top four club, Umeå, Linköping, Malmö or AIK". She visited Umeå just before she returned home to Australia in November and was both impressed and flattered by the attention. But since then, Umeå has lost their coach and important players, which worries De Vanna a bit.

AIK has stated that the door is open for De Vanna, should she decide to return, Linköping's Bengt Ekholm denies that the club is interested, while LDB FC Malmö's Kent Widding Persson neither confirms nor denies any interest in the Australian forward. Or in Cristiane for that matter, who according to her agent Fabiano Farah has Malmö as an option: "It might be so, that's up to Fabiano to say", commented Widding Persson and continued "I really can't comment on these two players. I have a deal that is negotiated, but the player can't sign until next week." If the negotiated deal is one of the players mentioned or another is unknown.

De Vanna is also drafted by Washington Freedom in the American league, but she says she has so far not talked to anyone from the club.

Västerbottens Folkblad:
Åkerlund: UIK blir inte svagare i år, UIK lär få fortsätta att vänta

Stattena signs Jessica Julin

Newcomer Stattena is finally starting to make those important signings of Damallsvenskan veterans, that are crucial to give them any chance to avoid immediate relegation.
Finnish midfielder Jessica Julin comes from two seasons with AIK and has previously played in both Umeå and Göteborg. The 30 years old has more than 100 caps and is right now on her way the 4 nations tournament in China with the Finnish national team. She will be a key player.
Stattena could also announce the signing of 21 year old forward Hanna Pettersson. She has two years of Damallsvenskan experience with Kif Örebro and is capped twice for Sweden's U21 team.
Stattena's Nina Blom is very happy that they've decided to play for the club. She could also reveal that the club is continuing their talks with Lina Rehov, a 20 year old defender from LDB FC Malmö's youth program. Another Malmö youth, midfielder Dafina Memedov, also seems on her way to the club. Both Rehov and Memedov has been on Malmö's roster last season, but are not likely to make the team 2009.
Helsingborgs Dagblad:
Två nyförvärv klara för Stattena AIK- och Örebro-spelare till Stattena

Kopparbergs/Göteborg's 2008 goalkeeper Jenny Olsson has found a new club in nearby Jitex in the 1st division. Jenny följer Sandra till Jitex

Jitex have signed half a team's worth of Göteborg players this winter and are looking good as the main promotion candidate. They were on the other hand the main promotion candidate last season too, but got beaten by Stattena.

Johanna Frisk accepts offer from Los Angeles Sol

Umeå's defender Johanna Frisk today revealed that she has accepted a contract offer from the WPS club Los Angeles Sol. She says they have agreed on a three year contract. Frisk has been 3 years in Umeå and has been a starting centre back since she returned from the knee injury she recieved 2007.
Johanna Frisk recieved the offer from the Sol after Marta had inquired about the possibility in her negotiations with the club. But Frisk doesn't want to comment on Marta's possible contract with the Los Angeles club: "I have decided what's best for me and I can't worry about what's best for someone else".
Whatever. Let's at least agree that Frisk's deal strengthens the theory that Marta will play for Los Angeles come March 29. If that really needs reinforcing.
Dagens Nyheter:
Johanna Frisk klar för Los Angeles Sol

The Brazilian player training with LDC FC Malmö I mentioned yesterday isn't Brazilian at all. It is the 25 years old forward Tasha St Louis from Trinidad/Tobago. She has been a national team stand-out since her first cap at 17 and has played for the successful American clubs New Jersey Wildcats and FC Indiana.
St Louis got in touch with Malmö through her agent and assistant coach Martin Sjöberg says she is worth checking out. "She looks interesting with good ball skills and a natural technique" he comments. "The big question is if she will be able to make the transition to the Swedish conditions with a much higher pace and more physical game".
Tasha St Louis will traing with the club for a week.
Skånska Dagbladet: Västindisk stjärna tränar med LDB FC

Umeå team mates: Marta leaving was expected

"It was expected", commented Marta's former team mates Karolina Westberg and Ulla-Karin Rönnlund today on Marta's likely signing with Los Angeles Sol.
"I've been prepared for her leaving to the USA the whole time", said Rönnlund. Veteran defender Karolina Westberg wasn't surprised either. Just like Rönnlund, she had the feeling that Marta would leave and she said she has known about the move "for some time".
Marta will not be easy to replace - Westberg simply claims she cannot be replaced - but other players will have to step forward and, said Westberg, "we might have relied a little bit too much on her".
Without not only Marta, but also the team's coach (Andrée Jeglertz who moves to men's top side Djurgården) and captain (Frida Östberg, who either retires or moves to Chicago Red Stars), expectations on the team maybe should be a little lower than what has been usual the last years. But, finishes Westberg, we shall not lower our goals.
Västerbottens Folkblad:
“Vi får ta ner förväntningarna lite”
Eurosport: Lagkamraten: "Det var väntat"

Possible to replace or not, Umeå will try to find someone to at least fill her place on the roster. Number one is still Australian striker Lisa De Vanna, confirms Umeå's general manager Britta Åkerlund. Åkerlund said to leading daily Dagens Nyheter that the club are in talks with De Vanna "and I feel it is going very well".
Just like her players, Åkerlund is convinced that Marta will play for Los Angeles Sol. During the entire negotiation period during the fall, Åkerlund said, it has felt like Umeå has been the back-up plan. When things seemed a bit shaky in USA with the financial crisis, Farah was much more interested to talk to Umeå. But Umeå is not interested being a back-up any longer.
Dagens Nyheter: Umeå bryter med Marta - vill ersätta med Lisa de Vanna

Åkerlund's other big task is to find a new head coach. Assistant coach Steve Galloway heads the pre season training that starts this week, but he is not willing to take the responsibility permanently. Åkerlund said she is working on several names, but confirmed that Mika Sankala, recently coaching GIF Sundsvall's men's premier league team, is one of the names.
Sundsvalls Tidning: Sankala aktuell för UIK

Umeå says good bye to Marta

Less than an hour ago Umeå IK submitted a press release, declaring that have left the negotiations with Marta's agent Fabiano Farah and thanks Marta for the five years they have had together.

In the press release Umeå tells that they submitted their final offer December 5. Farah acknowledged that he had recieved it and promised to return to the club within a week. They haven't heard from him since. This uninterest to discuss with the club that has been Marta's employer for the last five years makes Umeå withdraw their offer and leave the negotiations.

In the press release they are also paying tribute to Marta and calls her five seasons in Umeå "unbelievable" and says that she has "both fulfilled and exceeded" all expectations. After some more praise, they finish "We will miss her, not only as a player but also as the wonderful person she is. We wish her all the best wherever she will put down her football boots."
Västerbottens Folkblad:
UIK avslutar affären med Marta

Since the only remaining known bidder for Marta is Los Angeles Sol in the American WPS league, I think we now can consider Marta's move a done deal.

Malmö drops Marta plans, Los Angeles close to announce signing

LDB FC Malmö announced yesterday that they have taken back their contract offer to Marta as their January 5 deadline passed. They are instead focusing on another big name:
"I will not name any name, but I can say that she will sign and FIFA ranks her as one of the world's top five players" said LDB FC's Kent Widding Persson. He added that it felt good that this is a player who sincerely wants to come to Malmö.
If Widding Persson refers to the remaining top five players for the FIFA World Player award, these are besides Marta Brazil's Cristiane, England's Kelly Smith and Germany's Birgit Prinz and Nadine Angerer. And it is not Angerer - Malmö signed a new goalie in November and Angerer signed very recently a long term agreement with Frankfurt.
Dagens Nyheter:
Malmö nobbar Marta - vill värva en annan stjärna

  • Late addition: I just heard that there was a Brazilian player training with LDB FC, when they had their first session for the year yesterday. Probably not Cristiane, but I presume they will release a name tomorrow.

Umeå is also getting close to a conclusion. As far as I can understand there hasn't been any communication between Marta's agent and Umeå since the club made their final offer a month ago. Fabiano Farah, Marta's agent, claims that Umeå hasn't fulfilled their obligations to Marta. The club owes Marta for unpaid bonuses, he says, and there can be no negotiations until this is settled.
Umeå's general manager Britta Åkerlund is surprised by Farah's claims when approached by a journalist. "This hasn't been mentioned to us", she said, adding that she will of course look in to the matter.
Västerbottenskuriren: Missade bonusar upprör Martas agent

At the same time tabloid Expressen claims that Farah has signed a preliminary agreement with Los Angeles Sol, referring to a Brazilian source with direct insight in the negotiations. Marta's agreement with LA Sol will probably be revealed in connection with the FIFA World Player Gala in Zürich next week. The contract is, still according to Expressen, a three year deal worth approximately SEK 4 millions a year, including endorsements. This is just about twice as much as she makes in Sweden.

Marta's friend and team mate Johanna Frisk, who also has been offered a contract by the Los Angeles club, says that she will make up her mind the next few days, but that her decision doesn't depend on what Marta decides.

Expressen: "Marta klar för Los Angeles"

And after all this not-news and we've-heard-it-all-before, some actual events:

Djurgården has signed yet another player from Bälinge, 18 years old forward Alexandra Höglund.

Djurgården: Ung talang till Djurgården

Hammarby has picked up Sara Wiman, a 20 years old forward from 1st division team IFK Gävle.

Hammarby: Sara Wiman till Hammarby Damfotboll

Ingvild Stensland to Lyon, Emma Lindqvist to AIK

Ingvild Stensland, Kopparbergs/Göteborg's midfield star, yesterday evening announced that she has signed an 18 month contract with the French club Olympique Lyon, thus confirming what some of us have been suspecting for a while. Stensland calls Lyon one of the best teams in Europe and a stay in Lyon will help her continue developing as a player.
Norsk landslagsspiller til Lyon

Bälinge's Emma Lindqvist has joined AIK. The club calls her a good all-round player, but intends to use her in the offensive part of the team. The 25 years old has over 20 caps for Sweden's U21's.
This signing completes AIK's 2009 18 player roster, but sport director Peter Johansson adds that "the door is still open for our Australian friends, with whom we are having a dialogue". The Australian friends in question are Lisa De Vanna and Kate Gill, who both played for AIK the 2008 season. They have competition for De Vanna. She is on top of Umeå's players-to-replace-Marta list and is also drafted by the WPS club Washington Freedom. De Vanna visited Umeå just before she returned to Australia for the winter, and commented that she was impressed by the club and flattered by the interest.
AIK: Fyrfaldig SM-vinnare till AIK

Umeå IK are having problems replacing head coach Andrée Jeglertz. Both their top names, Örjan Andersson and Peo Häggström, have turned down the club's offer. Both of them are fathers to young children and have refered to family reasons.
Umeå's general manager Britta Åkerlund comments that they are working with a lot of names and they will find a new coach. They would like to be able to settle this fairly soon, as the pre-season training will begin in only a few weeks.
Västerbottenskuriren: Peo Häggström nobbar UIK

Marta, Stensland and some other almost news

Both Umeå and LDB FC Malmö has set the end of the holidays as the time to leave the Marta affair and move on. Malmö's Kent Widding Persson has set January 5 as the final date for Marta's agent to return with some kind of answer and Umeå's Britta Åkerlund says that she will settle the Marta issue after the holidays, which in Sweden ends January 6. Åkerlund says that the chances that Marta stays in Umeå are "less than 50 %" and Widding Persson declares that he is not interested in playing part in a publicity stunt. If Marta hasn't already committed to any club, Widding Persson wants it to be clear that there are no other bidders for Marta than Los Angeles Sol, and that in good time before the World Player Gala in Zürich January 12, where Marta's deal with the LA Sol is supposed to be announced.
LDB FC Malmö kräver svar av Marta
SVT: "50 procents chans att behålla Marta"

Norwegian star midfielder Ingvild Stensland says that she has made up her mind about where to play in 2009. But, she says, there are still a few minor details to solve, so she will keep her decision to herself until everything is settled. She has three alternatives, her current Swedish club Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, French champions Olympique Lyon and the German top side Turbine Potsdam. "They are all good clubs and my gut feeling and several other factors will decide", Stensland says.
Göteborg's chairman Peter Bronsman says that there is a lot that points to Stensland moving to Lyon. In Lyon she will be playing with her former Göteborg team mate Lotta Schelin and Bente Nordby, the former Norway goalkeeper.
Farsunds Avis: Har bestemt seg
Göteborgsposten: Stensland följer Schelin

Kristianstads DFF has been looking for a goalkeeper since Maria Edman signed for Damallsvenskan newcomers Stattena in November. They have retained their other keeper Sandra Wahldén, who played 9 of the 22 league matches 2008, but needs a good complement. The most interesting player seems to be German keeper Steffi Löhr. The 23 years old plays for the midtable Bundesliga team SG Essen Schönebeck.
Löhr is not the only alternative though. Kristianstad is also looking at an American keeper, who has been playing in the Icelandic league and are having talks with Kopparbergs/Göteborgs Jenny Olsson, who will have a hard time getting any playing time after her club hired national team goalie Hedvig Lindahl.
Besides a goalkeeper, Kristianstad's highest priority is a good centre back. Kia McNiel, who impressed for Kristianstad last season, is trying out for a contract with a club in the American WPS league, "but we knows that she is very keen on returning here if that doesn't work out".
Kristianstadsbladet: Tysk målvakt på väg till KDFF

Not speculation, but a real signing: Kimberly Gustafsson, a 20 years old forward from 1st division side Bollstanäs, has signed for the Stockholm side AIK. Gustafsson scored 22 goals in 22 matches and was named the league's most valuable player last season.
AIK earlier declared that they would sign one more forward and one more defender before the squad was set. Since Gustafsson should have taken the forward position, you could make the conclusion that AIK no longer are trying to persuade Australian star striker Lisa De Vanna to return for another season. But that's of course just speculation.
AIK: Norrettans skyttedrottning till AIK

And this is old news, but Djurgården's keeper Nadine Angerer, who declared that she would leave Sweden already in early November, has now found her new home, Germany's incumbent league champions FFC Frankfurt. She will, just like she has done in the national team, replace Silke Rottenberg, who has decided to retire after yet another injury. Nadine Angerer wechselt zum 1. FFC Frankfurt

A bag of news for Christmas

The LDB Sport Cup will have it's second instalment February 20-21 2009, just like the year before in the southern Swedish town Växjö's full size indoor arena. LDB FC and Umeå will return for the competition, while Russian champions and UEFA Women's Cup semifinalists Zvezda Perm will make their first appearance. The fourth and final participant is not yet named, but the SEK 100,000 cash prize to the winner will probably make it an attractive option. Last year Kolbotn (Norway) and Brøndby (Denmark) played besides Umeå and LDB FC.
Just like last year the tournament will be combined with lectures and clinics and a youth tournament for 14 year old girls has been added.
LdB Sport Cup

The Swedish football site claims that the news of Marta's signing with Los Angeles Sol will be announced in connection with FIFA's World Player Gala in Zürich on January 12. It is being rumoured that there already is a letter of intent between Marta's agent Fabiano Farah and Los Angeles Sol.
There is of course no confirmation of this and only cites "circles around the pro league WPS". It still seems very plausible. The signing of Marta will not be announced by a simple press release. Umeå has the last years always announced the renewal of Marta's contract at big, televised matches and I don't think LA Sol's major financier AEG will show any less PR savvy. The World Player Gala is one of the biggest events in the football world and would be a great platform for LA Sol and the league. If Marta wins, of course. Marta-avslöjande vid FIFA-galan

Linköping's Sara Larsson talked in a newspaper interview about her decision to leave the club and move to USA to play in the new professional league. It wasn't an easy decision, she said, but now it feels like the right thing to do.
"I have played ten years in Damallsvenskan and I think I can continue to develop in USA".
She didn't want to reveal what kind of compensation she will get, but said "I wouldn't have moved if I had lost money doing it".
She added that she had been in touch with Sweden's national team coach Thomas Dennerby and he hadn't had any objections to her decision. "I think the American league will be at a higher and more even level than the Swedish".
Värmlands Folkblad: Sara Larsson om USA-flytten

It's very hard to find any comments from the club, but it seems like Umeå IK's search for a new head coach to replace Andrée Jeglertz is approaching it's end. Örjan Andersson, one of the two coaches, that according to persistent rumours have been the main candidates for the position, has declared that he is not interested, at least not at this time. "My family is more important than football to me", he explained. He will continue to coach Ersboda, a 3rd level men's team in Umeå.
The other presumed candidate, Peo Häggström, from Vårgårda outside Göteborg, has experience as an instructor for the Swedish Football Association as well as a coach for women's 1st division teams. He is supposed to be in negotiations with Umeå, but neither he nor the club wants to comment.
Västerbottens Folkblad: Andersson nobbar UIK

Relegated Bälinge continues to haemorrhage players. 21 years old defender Nina Engström, capped for Sweden at youth level, has joined also relegated Umeå Södra. Umeå Södra are having plans to re-enter Damallsvenskan already after one year in the 1st division.
Västerbottenskuriren: Umeå Södra förstärker

Two other Bälinge players, Julia Lyckberg, a midfielder and U19 player for Swden, and 19 years old winger Jenny Jansson have both made the move to the local 1st division competitors Danmarks IF.
It seems more and more like the newly formed Uppsala DFF, that has inherited Bälinge's rights to play in the 1st division, will have problems retaining any players at all from Bälinge.
Upsala Nya Tidning: Danmark får jätteförstärkningar

Östberg, Larsson and Jönsson comments on WPS offers

The three Swedish players, who have been drafted by clubs in the American WPS, are all interested in playing in the new league even if no one have made any commitments yet.

Frida Östberg, who decided to retire from football a last month, has been contacted by Chicago Red Stars. She says that she is really interested: "It would be a great adventure and it's also a fairly short season". But she hasn't made up her mind yet: "I will think about it and listen to what they've got to say about the team and the organization and so on. But the talks we have had so far has been good." She believes she will receive a contract offer from the Chicago club.

It is interesting that Frida thinks that the short season is one of the upsides with an American deal. A lot of other players, and their coaches, has been worried about the short season, which leaves the players club-less for six months a year. Trying to keep in shape on your own isn't the best solution for an aspiring national team player. But I presume Frida Östberg has other priorities than the national team. Getting more time with her boyfriend was one of the reasons for her to leave Umeå.

No one of the players in question has signed or  even received a contract. This has, explains Sara Larsson, a lot to do with the ongoing negotiations between the league and the players union. Until they have agreed on the details in a standard contract, there can be no formal agreement between a player and a club. Once the league has managed to settle these things, there will probably happen a lot in a short time, says Sara.

But even if Sara Larsson hasn't signed anything with her American club, St. Louis Athletica, she is the one closest to a decision. "We are not counting on her for the next season", says her club Linköping FC and even if Sara Larsson won't go any further than saying that she is negotiating with St. Louis, it sounds a lot like she has made up her mind.

The third player is former LDB FC Malmö goalkeeper Caroline Jönsson. She says that Chicago Red Stars is one of the alternatives she is having for next season. "We are in a continuous dialogue", she says but adds that they are waiting for the standard contracts to be set, so they can be more concrete in their discussions. But she also stresses that she has other options and is not only focused on Chicago.

The announcement that the league has set the dates for the opening matches next spring and of the USD 10 million sponsor deal with Puma has also been widely publicised in Sweden and increased the interest for the American game. Sweden's leading daily Dagens Nyheter has a fairly big back-ground story titled "Marta's sponsor saves the league in USA".

Ligan räddas av skosponsor
Dagens Nyheter: Martas sponsor räddar ligan i USA
Västerbottens Folkblad: ”Chicago är intressant”

New left back to Umeå and other stuff

Umeå IK has found the player to replace Frida Östberg at the left back position. They today announced the signing of the Finnish national team defender Maija Saari from the Finnish champions FC Honka. A strong physical player with leadership qualities sounds like a good substitute. The 22 years old will however not be eligible for the UEFA Women's Cup matches next spring, as she has already played in the cup the 2008/09 season for Honka.
Västerbottens Folkblad:
Landslagsback till Umeå IK

Maria Bergqvist, the former Umeå full-back who was forced to retire two years ago with a knee injury, has been hired by the club as assistant coach with responsibility for defense. She has already worked with Umeå this season scouting players and has started her training to become a certified coach.
Västerbottenskuriren: Maria Bergkvist blir UIK-tränare

Bälinge's 19 years old full-back Julia Bhy, capped at U19 level, has joined Sundsvalls DFF in the 1st division.
Sundsvalls Tidning: Julia Bhy klar för SDFF

Maria Åhlund, last seasons with Kristianstad, looks very close to sign for newcomers Pitea. Her ice hockey playing boyfriend Simon Bergner has just signed for the local club Piteå Hockey and they have both moved to Piteå. Åhlund, a 22 years old defender started in 15 matches for Kristianstad the 2008 season.
It also seems likely that Sunnanå's Johanna Lindahl also moves to Piteå. As a prelude, her football playing boyfriend Tomas Lundmark has been picked up by Piteå's men's team.
Piteåtidningen: Nyförvärv till Piteå HC - och Piteå IF? Piteå IF får draghjälp

Djurgården's long-time midfielder Anna Hall has decided to leave the team to focus on her day-job. The 29 years old joined their championship winning season 2004 and leaves after five seasons.
Two other Djurgården players will move to other clubs. Anna Lagerberth, 24 years old midfielder, moves to Djurgården's partner club Älvsjö AIK. The 19 years old forward Mia Jelkerud leaves after only one season, new club not decided.
Djurgården: Anna Hall tackar för sig

Petra Vaelma, Finnish national team defender who last season played for now relegated Umeå Södra, has signed a contract with Klepp in the Norwegian premier league.
Fotballadressa: Finsk landslagsspiller klar for Klepp

And finally today's Marta: Norwegian champions Røa has pulled out of the competition for Marta's signature: "We haven't managed to find the money necessary", tells sport director Lars Buer.
Fotballadressa: Marta ikke til Røa

LA Sol: We are very close to a deal with Marta

No news about Marta for several weeks, so what does a journalist do? Well, one of TV4's journalists picked up the phone and called Los Angeles where he got hold of the Sol's Brandon Koller. "We are very close to a deal with Marta" was the answer.
Umeå's Britta Åkerlund had nothing to comment on this: "We haven't heard from [Marta's agent] Fabiano Farah for some time" and Farah himself answered curtly that nothing was settled and that Marta is trying to get some rest in Brazil. Regarding the offers from Umeå IK and LDB FC Malmö, he answered that as long as nothing is signed, everything is of interest.
Marta nära skriva på för Los Angeles: ”Vi förhandlar”

In an interview with Swedish broadcaster SVT, USA national team coach Pia Sundhage says that she strongly believes that Marta will go to Los Angeles and that she thinks Los Angeles is a good place for her to play. Signing her is important since it will give the league big media attention.
SVT: Martas eventuella flytt snackis is USA (video)

Shut up and sign!

May I go on a little rant here? I am one of those (probably fairly few now), who finds this both interesting and entertaining to follow. There are several big bidders for a big star and I hope we will see more of this in the future. The capacity to create both big stars and clubs able to offer big contracts is a sign of the growth the women's game has had in the last years. I can still understand that some of the persons directly involved are getting tired and wants a conclusion and I can see that fans are getting frustrated, but if you want professional players this is part of the deal. It's not like transfer rumors and contract negotiations are uncommon in football.

But I'm not solely positive. What puts me off is the "Shut up and sign!" attitude that is getting more and more frequently exhibited from both sides of the Atlantic. Marta will come off as greedy, warns a well reputed Swedish journalist, and recommends her to shut up and sign. For Umeå. From the other side you can hear angered surprise over the audacity this woman has to come with demands. She ought to be happy to get an offer and just sign.

Marta has at several times stated that money is important. Her ambition is to be able to provide for herself and her family for the rest of her life from the money she earns playing football. I can't see anything wrong in that - hundreds if not thousands of men are doing exactly the same. Marta grew up in a single parent family from the poor countryside in Brazil's poor north-east. In the few interviews I've seen that has touched this, she has come out as painfully aware of where she would be without her talent for football.

So why in the world should Marta settle for anything less than she can get? To save a club or a league? Exactly why should she do that? Is women's football a calling? Professional sports operates in a market economy. Clubs and leagues are responsible for themselves. They are not held at gunpoint. If they are stupid enough to buy something they can't afford, they will suffer the consequences and rightly so.

Yes, Marta should pick up the pen and sign. But not until she is satisfied that the contract she signs is, financially, personally and for her as an athlete, the best deal she can get.

New signings by Göteborg and Djurgården

Caroline Näfver, a 26 years old with two caps for Sweden, has signed a contract with Kopparbergs/Göteborg. She has been looking for a new club since Kif Örebro told her they wouldn't offer her a new contract. She says she is very happy to make the move to the new club: "I need a new challenge". She will join her team mate Stina Segerström, who signed a deal with Göteborg last month.
Nerikes Allehanda:
Näfver följer Stina till Göteborg

Yet another player escapes relegated Bälinge: 31 years old midfielder Linda Blom has accepted an offer from Djurgården. Djurgården's coach Anders Johansson also took her to his then club Malmö, when Bälinge relegated the last time four years ago. "He has faith in me" says Blom, pleased and slightly surprised, and comments: "It will be nice to come to a team that occasionally wins a match".
Upsala Nya Tidning: Blom klar för Djurgården

Sanna Talonen to Kif Örebro

Finnish international Sanna Talonen has agreed to join Kif Örebro and has signed a two year deal with the club. Talonen, who played for Bälinge the first half of the 2007 season, has since spent two very successful years at Florida State University. She has scored 35 goals in 45 matches for her college team and is one of the remaining candidates for the Hermann Trophy, the college player of the year award.
There is no explanation why Talonen decided to prematurely leave college, but let's guess that the European Championships in Finland next fall has something to do with it.
Florida State is by the way the same college Mami Yamaguchi went to before she decided to go professional in Umeå.
Nerikes Allehanda:
Finskt anfallsäss till Kif Örebro

Newcomers Stattena will have two prospective players training with them this week, former Örebro forward Hanna Pettersson and LDB FC defender Lina Rehov, a 20 years old with experience from Sweden's U19. Stattena was tipped off about Rehov by LDB coach Jörgen Pettersson, who will not have room for her on his 2009 roster.
Finnish midfielder Jessica Julin also seems close to a deal, but the club will first have to be able to offer her a set-up where she can focus on playing football.
Helsingborgs Dagblad: Mias ersättare kan landa i Stattena redan i dag

AIK, very pleased with their off-season transfers so far, are looking to sign another forward (preferably the return of Lisa De Vanna, I would guess) and one more defender before they close the door. They have so far replaced their goalie Sofia Lundgren with Maja Åström and Johanna Baecklund and signed three very promising youth national team players in Emelie Ölander (Malmö), Hanna Folkesson (Umeå Södra) and Emilia Appelquist (Bälinge).
AIK: AIK Dam 2009

Big changes in Göteborg

Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC are making a major overhaul of their team. At least ten players from the 2008 roster are leaving, the majority of them because they will not get new contracts. The clubs plans are to cut the squad to 17 players, but get in return a higher quality. The signings of national team players Stina Segerström and Hedvig Lindahl is a part of this and there still are a few more players to be found.
Two Göteborg players have left for other Damallsvenskan sides, Maria Karlsson to Linköping and Sofie Andersson to Kristianstad, and three has joined the local 1st division team Jitex, Camilla Schelin, Sofie Karlsson and Sandra Bjurteg. To this comes five more players, who will not get new contracts: Maria Nilsson, Frida Svensson, Emmelie Farfa, Elin Dahl-Örn and goalkeeper Jenny Olsson. A few of these could be interesting for other Damallsvenskan sides, mainly Jenny Olsson and Emmelie Farfa.
There are currently 14 players on the roster as presented on the club's website and one of these is interestingly enough Norwegian international Ingvild Stensland. Her contract runs out within short (if it hasn't already) and she has been connected to clubs in USA, France and Germany in different transfer rumors. Listing her on the roster at least confirms Göteborg's intentions to do what they can to keep her. And from what she has said about her time in Göteborg earlier, a big step up in quality might persuade her.
Kopparbergs/Göteborg behöver fler nyförvärv
Göteborg FC: Spelartruppen

Tough times for Stattena

So far newly promoted Stattena have had little but problems in their preparations for their 2009 Damallsvenskan season. Their coach has resigned, since he was denied a renegotiation of his contract, they can report almost no new signings, they have lost their main star and finally their home field will be demolished as the city expands the indoor facilities at the Olympia sports park next year.
But they are of course not taking all this lying down. The local newspaper reports that they are in talks with two potential coaches, Bälinge's Zaine Söderlund and Kenneth Rasmussen, who has coached Skovlunde in the Danish premier.
When it comes to players, there is still a lot to do. Renegotiations with their 2008 players seems to still be in the early stages. Potential recruits are at the moment AIK's Jessica Julin, where there are ongoing talks since a few weeks, and former Kif Örebro forward Hanna Pettersson. Julin, a more than 100 caps for Finland veteran, has a lot of what Stattena will need next season in experience and leadership.
Julin's experience will be needed the more as Stattena's big star, leading goalscorer and most experienced player Mia Westerblad, with several years in Damallsvenskan for Malmö, has decided to give up football, at least at this level. She said it would be impossible to combine her full time job with premier league football and a family life. She has a two years old son and "I don't want to be a parent who is always away". It could have worked if it was possible for her to work part-time, but she understands the club's financial situation.
Finally some good news. The solution to the arena problem will be that Stattena shares the Olympia arena with the men's premier league side Helsingborgs IF. It is considered to be one of the best of the stadiums in the men's Allsvenskan.
Helsingborgs Dagblad:
Stattena snackar med två elittränare, Stattenas Mia Westerblad slutar med fotboll, Stattena spelar på Olympia

Umeå and Malmö looking for alternatives to Marta

LDB FC Malmö is getting tired of the unresponsive attitude from Marta's agent Fabiano Farah and are rumored to be looking for alternatives. The club's leading man Kent Widding Persson says they have so far been very patient - "We would never have accepted this kind of behaviour if it was about another player than Marta" -but time is running out. Umeå's Britta Åkerlund shares his opinion. They can't wait until the end of the Swedish transfer period in March, which Farah seems to think, but needs to move on to other player alternatives soon.
Klubbarna till angrepp mot Martas agent

It is official that Umeå's main alternative is Australia's and AIK's Lisa De Vanna, currently playing for Perth in the Australian league. Malmö's could be Brazilian Renata Costa. The 22 years old Brazilian international is currently playing for OB in the Danish league. She is a versatile player who was fielded as an offensive wingback by Brazil in the Olympics, but can also be used as a creative midfielder. LDB FC Malmö doesn't want to comment on the rumor.
A possible deal with Renata Costa isn't exactly straight forward either. She is under contract with the Danish club, until June I presume, and she is also drafted by Saint Louis Athletica in the new American league
Sydsvenskan: LDB ute efter brassestjärna

Frida Östberg come-back in USA?

Frida Östberg, who just recently made a very emotional farewell to football, is in talks with the American club Chicago Red Stars about a possible come-back to the game. Jim Houghton, the club's marketing director, points out that they are serious in trying to get Frida to USA: "We have talked to her several times and she says that she is interested. Otherwise we wouldn't have aquired the WPS playing rights to her." Frida has not been available for comments.
Frida Östberg announced her retirement from football just before her final match for Umeå, the 6-0 defeat of Arsenal in the Women's Cup quarterfinal. She said she didn't feel like she was able to give her all to the game any longer and was hoping to be able to spend more time with her boyfriend, who lives in Holland. But it seems like a new deal in a new league could motivate her for football again.
Östberg för diskussioner om comeback
Chicago Red Stars: Red Stars Aquire Rights to Sweden's Frida Östberg

Three Swedish players are currently in some kind of talks with WPS clubs; Frida Östberg and Caroline Jönsson with Chicago and Sara Larsson with St. Louis. They are all around 30 years old, well established national team players and approaching the end of their careers. It seems like that is what it takes to dare take the jump to the start-up league.

Jeglertz move confirmed, Umeå looking for new coach

Djurgården's premier league men's team yesterday officially announced Andrée Jeglertz and Zoran Lucic as their new coaches, confirming the Thursday rumors. Umeå's general manager Britta Åkerlund reacted surly to this, pointing out that Jeglertz still has a contract with Umeå.
Djurgården has offered Umeå an undisclosed sum to release Jeglertz from his contract. The sum, according to rumours around SEK 100,000, didn't please Åkerlund at all. "If that's all they offer, then I guess he'll have to stay in Umeå". Other unconfirmed information has Umeå's demands at SEK 500,000 - the same sum Djurgården is supposed to have paid to get Jeglertz future partner Lucic released from his club.
Bråk om kontraktet

Andrée Jeglertz says it will be sad to leave the club and the players and admits that it is a bit of a betrayal - Umeå's players renewed their contracts, believing that Jeglertz would coach them: "But sometimes you have to put yourself first", Jeglertz comments. He is not worried about the club's future: "This club is much bigger than Arnqvist, Holmlund or Jeglertz."
Västerbottens Folkblad: “Klubben är större än Jeglertz”

The Umeå players that have commented congratulates Djurgården and Andrée, but aren't that pleased for themselves. "We feel like crap" says veteran defender Karolina Westberg, who adds that if she had known Jeglertz wouldn't be around for 2009, she would have had second thoughts about renewing her contract.
Britta Åkerlund comments that losing Jeglertz will not make it easier to keep Marta in the club: "It doesn't help that we lose one of the best coaches there is".
Both Marta and Jeglertz are strong personalities and have had their run-ins over the years, but there is also a strong mutual respect. Jeglertz has been Marta's coach since she was a 17 years old extremely talented but lazy individualist and helped develop her to the extremely skilled hard working team player she is today.
Sydsvenskan: Jeglertz tar över Djurgården
Aftonbladet: Nu blir det svårare att rädda Marta

Even if the details surrounding Jeglertz move to the men's Allsvenskan aren't finalized, Umeå has started looking for his successor. One of the first to be asked was Sweden's and China's former national team coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors. She turned down the offer, preferring to stay at her current job as a Swedish Football Association executive.
Current Umeå assistant coach Steve Galloway has also been mentioned, but he says he prefers to stay where he is: "head coach isn't really my thing".
Instead, the hottest tip today seems to be Örjan Andersson, a local man coaching men's teams in the 4th level of the Swedish league system. Don't mock that, that's exactly what Jeglertz did when he took over Umeå 2004.
Västerbottens Folkblad: I fokus: Örjan Andersson

Andrée Jeglertz leaves Umeå?

Umeå's head coach the last five seasons, Andrée Jeglertz, has according to what seems like reliable but still unconfirmed news signed a deal with Djurgården to coach their men's premier division team. Jeglertz himself, caught on the phone early this morning by a journalist, standing in the check-in line at an airport preparing to go on vacation with his family, refused to comment, but several sources has confirmed the talks between Jeglertz and Djurgården.

Umeå's general manager Britta Åkerlund said that she has known about the talks for a few days. "Good for him, not so good for us", she comments. Steve Galloway, Jeglertz assistant coach in Umeå and a former Djurgården star player, said he was called up by Djurgården some time ago and he highly recommended them to go for Jeglertz: "Don't think about that he comes from a women's team, that doesn't matter. He's been a winner for four years in the world's most successful women's team".

Jeglertz is supposed to team up with a former Djurgården coach, Zoran Lucic, in a shared responsibility for the team. Lucic should be more focused an individual development while Jeglertz would have the main responsibility for tactics and coaching.

Djurgården is one of the classic teams on the men's side in Sweden and has won several championships in the 2000s. This year however they finished at a very disappointing 12th place and fired their coaches after the season finish. Jeglertz and Lucic will have to live up to very high demands.

Andrée Jeglertz signed a new two year contract with Umeå IK as recently as August this year. There is a clause in the contract that allows him to leave if offered a coach job with a men's premier division team, but not until 2010. He is tied to the club for 2009 and Djurgården will have to negotiate his release with Umeå. There will certainly be a transfer fee, but it's anyone's guess how big. His future coaching partner Lucic is head coach for Qviding in the men's second level division and that club is rumoured to be demanding SEK 2-3 millions to release him from his 2 year contract.
Andrée Jeglertz klar för Djurgården
Expressen: Djurgården vill köpa loss Umeås damtränare
Fotbolldirekt: Galloway bekräftar – Jeglertz är Djurgårdens man

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