Time is running out for Umeå to sign De Vanna
Australian striker Lisa De Vanna, who last season played for AIK, has been Umeå's preferred replacement for Marta since last fall. Umeå's general manager Britta Åkerlund told Västerbottenskuriren today, that she is in contact with De Vanna's agent Greg Erskine and the talks are going well. But Umeå still hasn't managed to find the extra resources necessary to finance the deal.
Umeå has strained finances and Åkerlund has declared that a player like De Vanna must be financed with new money. And even if club managed to round up a large amount of sponsors for a deal with Marta, this was for a deal with Marta. Åkerlund has been forced to negotiate again with potential sponsors and has so far not been able to get enough support.
Umeå is competing with the American club Washington Freedom for De Vanna's signature. "She [DeVanna] probably can't afford to wait much longer" said Åkerlund. "If nothing happens within a week or a week and a half we will lose her".
Västerbottenskuriren: de Vanna vill hit - men UIK saknar pengar
Chicago confirms Jönsson and Östberg signings
Caroline Jönsson told Damfotboll.com that she took her time to make up her mind. "There was a lot of papers to read and you have to be thorough". She also said that making it possible to combine her football in USA with her psychology studies in Umeå was a necessary condition for her. And Umeå University is known for helping athlete students doing that.
The 80 times capped Sweden goalkeeper also announced that she now has decided to retire from the national team. "I have experienced several major championships with the 2003 World Cup silver as the big highlight." Leaving the national team will also make it possible for her to play the entire American season, including the play-offs, that would have clashed with the European Championships in August.
Damfotboll.com states that USD 30,000 per season seems to be the going rate for most internationals in the WPS league. Caroline Jönsson doesn't want to comment in detail, but it sounds like she will be making more than that.
I haven't found any comments from Frida Östberg yet.
Chicago Red Stars: Chicago Red Stars Sign Sweden's Frida Östberg & Caroline Jönsson
Damfotboll.com: ”Carre” sa ja till Chicago, men nej till landslaget
Aftonbladet: USA nästa för Östberg/Jönsson (Nice picture here with USA bound Larsson, Jönsson and Östberg, looking unhappy after the 2003 World Cup final).
Chicago next for Östberg and Jönsson
According to the paper's unnamed source, none of the players has any plans for any long time commitments. The, for European standards, short WPS season fits them both well. When Frida Östberg said good bye to Umeå last fall, her main reason was that she wanted to be able to spend more time with her boyfriend in Holland and Caroline Jönsson wants an engagement, that doesn't interfere too much with her psychology studies.
Neither Frida nor Caroline wants to confirm anything, but Caroline says that she will announce her decision in a few days.
Västerbottenskuriren: Chicago nästa för Östberg och Jönsson
Piteå IF's announcement of the signings of the three Canadian internationals Stephanie Labbé, Kaylyn Kyle and Brittany Timko yesterday was today's big sports news in the local paper. Head coach Peter Grundström said that he was very impressed by the work of the club's management to make the signings possible.
Sport director Håkan Norberg was very pleased and told that the club had looked at 25 different players before they reached the agreements. He thought that getting three players that already knows one another from youth and national teams will make the transition to the northern Swedish club easier. And, he added, it's also good that they, as Canadians, have seen snow before. When the players joins the team in March for their six months stay, there will still be snow on the ground.
The team is also used to having English speaking players with them, as they had three Americans helping them win promotion last season. The deal is sponsored by a local bank and an engineering company.
The step from the 1st division to Damallsvenskan is big and the club's budgeted spendings for 2009 is somewhere between SEK 4,5 millions and 5 millions compared to SEK 1,5 millions last year.
Piteåtidningen: De ska lyfta PIF i allsvenskan
Brazilian to Sunnanå, Canadians to Piteå
Brazil's Olympic and World Cup goalkeeper Barbara has signed a four month contract with Sunnanå SK. Barbara, still only 20 years old, captained Brazil's team in the 2006 U20 World Championships, was a backup keeper in the 2007 World Cup and started for Brazil in the four last matches in the 2008 Olympics.
Barbara's agent Fabio Gayoso says she is excited about the opportunity and wants to stay in Sweden longer than the four month contract if possible.
Barbara is hired as a replacement for Sunnanå's regular goal-keeper Åsa Berglund. Berglund had a since long planned surgery on her right shoulder today. This will keep her from playing football at least three months.Norra Västerbotten: Drömförvärv till Sunnanå, Åsa Berglund borta minst tre månader
Piteå IF today announced the agreements with three Canadian internationals. The deals with goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé, who was Canada's third keeper in the Olympics last year, and forward Brittany Timko, who played her first big championship for Canada already 2003, hasn't been the best kept secret. The third player is the 20 years old midfielder Kaylyn Kyle, who got her first caps for Canada a year ago in the Four Nations competition in China. Kyle replaces Candace Chapman, who was close to a deal with Piteå before she was offered a three year contract by the WPS club Boston Breakers.
The club has been cautious and made contracts that can be cancelled after three months. Sport director Håkan Norberg says that these signings completes Piteå's roster, "at least for the spring series".
SR Norrbotten:Tre landslagsspelare klara för Piteå
American goalkeeper to Kristianstad
Kristianstadsbladet: Ny målvakt till KDFF
And in Piteå the newcomers will present the signings with Canadians Stephanie Labbé and Brittany Timko tomorrow Tuesday or maybe on Wednesday. Piteå's sport director Håkan Norberg still refuses to name any names, but it is pretty well known which players he is talking about. He is still waiting for an answer from the third player (which should be Candace Chapman), who has another offer (which should be Boston Breakers in the American league). He will not wait for long, however, and has alternatives if she should turn him down.
SR Norrbotten: Seger för Piteå IF - nyförvärv på väg
Renata Costa Malmö's most expensive contract ever
He also revealed that the contract with Renata Costa is a loan deal with her Danish club OB. LDB FC takes over all the contract obligations and probably also has to pay Renata Costa an increased salary as well as a compensation to OB. No figures are mentioned, but if it is somewhere around the cost for "two Swedish internationals", we should be talking about somewhere around SEK 600,000 to 800,000.
Unlike what LDB FC Malmö usually does, they only have Renata Costa on a one year contract. "We want to be sure that she delivers", said Widding Persson. She can leave after the season without any compensation to Malmö, "but we have to take that risk".
Sydsvenskan: Ettårskontraktet blir rekorddyrt
Commentators in the local press were initially somewhat disappointed, that the much talked about star signing was the relatively unknown Renata Costa. Sydsvenskan's Anja Gatu revealed that she had allowed herself to get all dreamy about Cristiane or Birgit Prinz or even Abby Wambach, but admits that Renata Costa is a better fit in Malmö's system.
The team already has a top goalscorer, what they need is Renata Costa's strength and leadership in the midfield. Another columnist, Artur Bliding, thinks that Renata Costa is better value for money than even Marta would have been.
Sydsvenskan: Först besvikelse - men det är en klok värvning
Skånska Dagbladet: En bättre värvning än Marta
Tasha St. Louis, Rebecca Smith, Candace Chapman and other player news
St. Louis will join Sunnanå in March and is contracted until the league takes the long break for the European championships in July.
Norra Västerbotten: SSK värvar från Trinidad & Tobago
New Zealand defender Rebecca Smith, who after four seasons with the club wasn't offered a new contract by Sunnanå, is on a try-out with the German Bundesliga team VfL Wolfsburg.
Wolfsburg: Rebecca Smith absolviert Probetraining
Newcomers Stattena has failed to keep any of their leading goalscorers from their successful 2008 season. First Mia Westerblad (20 goals) and now Therese Petersson (18 goals) has turned down the clubs offers. Both have families and careers and wanted a compensation, that would make it possible for them to take more time off from work. "I've never played for the money, but I don't want to pay to play", argued Petersson.
Stattena's Nina Blom regrets the decision, but explains that the club simply couldn't afford to satisfy Petersson's demands.
Helsingborgs Dagblad: Ny tung förlust för Stattena
The other newcomers, Piteå IF, seems close be able to set their player roster for 2009. No less than 15 players are leaving the team, as the club are putting together a much smaller but also better qualified squad. Sport director Håkan Norberg has told that the club has completed their signings from the Swedish market.
The club is however still in negotiations with three foreign players. One of these has been given an offer from a club in the American league, and she is trying to make a decision, Norberg said. He hopes to be able to introduce his new players shortly.
No names were mentioned by Norberg, but the internationals are most probably the earlier mentioned three Canadians Brittany Timko, Candace Chapman and Stephanie Labbé. Chapman has since been drafted by the American club Boston Breakers. I really can't see Piteå winning over Boston in tug of war over a player and I'm not even sure it would be fun to watch. On the other hand, neither of their 2008 Americans, Kim Bonilla and Marisa Brown, who both were important players in Piteå's promotion winning team, got drafted in the big January WPS draft and might be available.
Piteåtidningen: Räkna med Janina i PIF - Jessica till Mariehem ...-
Norrbottenskuriren: Snart har Piteå pusslat färdigt: "Vi har satt en deadline"
LDB FC Malmö signs Renata Costa
Renata Costa is usually fielded as a centre back for Brazil, but has been playing a lot in midfield for her Danish club OB. She joined the Odense club a year ago on a two year contract, but the Danish club has reportedly have had problems financing her contract and were willing to let her go. Nothing mentioned about a possible transfer fee.
- Late add: Torben Povlsen from the Danish club OB comments tonight that it is a big loss having to play without Renata, but the way things are, this was the best solution. He adds that OB does of course not go unrewarded from this. But no figures mentioned. The deal between OB and Malmö will also lead to a closer cooperation between the clubs in the fields of "organisation, economy, communication and sports" in future.
3F / Fodbold: OB mister brasiliansk super-stjerne
Malmö has had competition for Renata Costa from the American club St. Louis Athletica, a club that according to some information could offer a higher wage than Malmö. The Brazilian still opted for Sweden: "I've always wanted to play in the Swedish league", she said and hopes to stay for a longer period.
Renata Costa is signed on a one year contract, that expires December 31. Coach Pettersson adds that this is the club's last signing before the 2009 season. And it doesn't bother him if this makes his club look like a favourite to win the championship: "I'll rather be a favourite than not".
Sydsvenskan: Costa: Jag är stark och har bra blick
SVT: Malmö värvar Renata da Costa (video)
Umeå IK hires Mika Sankala
Mika Sankala is generally credited as a great educator and leader - before he started to coach professionally he worked as a teacher and school principal - and is often used as a lecturer. Åkerlund commented that "Mika's ideas about how to play football and how to develop players fit very well with Umeå IK's ambitions".
Sankala commented from his side, that it will be "a marvellous challenge to work with the best female players in the world".
Aftonbladet: Mika Sankala ny tränare i Umeå IK
Västerbottenskuriren: Sankala ny tränare i UIK
Britta Åkerlund dismissed the claims that Sankala would be to expensive for the club. But she is determined to run a tight ship financially. This policy does however not rule out a signing of the Australian speedster Lisa De Vanna:
"That is not at all impossible. We will try to find a sponsor for her", Åkerlund answered, probably thinking of former Marta sponsors who might be interested in new star player. She also thinks that Umeå's solving their coach question will make De Vanna more at ease with the prospect of joining the club.
Lisa De Vanna claims that there is no real difference between the offers from Umeå and Washington Freedom "and I'm not demanding any ridiculous amounts of money". Other things will decide. The short WPS season, only six months, favours the American side, as De Vanna says she wants to be away from home as little as possible. On the other hand "USA feels scary. It's an new country, while I know what to expect in Sweden". The 24 year old spent last season in Damallsvenskan, playing for AIK.
Västerbotens Folkblad: Umeå IK ger inte upp De Vanna
Umeå has found a new coach (?)
Sankala confirms that he has settled his contract dispute with his former club GIF Sundsvall and signed for a new club, but adds: "The club I've signed for wants to release the news themselves". The announcement will probably be tomorrow, Monday.
Sankala has played at top level, representing GIF Sundsvall in the men's premier in the 1980s, and has worked as a coach for Sundsvall since 2005. He took over as head coach 2006 and was successful in promoting the team to the top division 2007. He lost his job after failing to avoid relegation in 2008.
Sundsvalls Tidning: Mika Sankala är Umeå IK:s nye huvudtränare
- Just in: Dagens Nyheter just published a short interview with Umeå's general manager Britta Åkerlund, where she confirms that Umeå still is interested in Sankala: "His leadership qualities can't be argued with" and adds that Umeå's coach question will be settled "very soon".
She also adds that Umeå might run into problems trying to finance both Sankala and their main recruitement target Lisa De Vanna. And in that case, she says, a coach is the most important right now.
Dagens Nyheter: Umeå tvingas välja - de Vanna eller Sankala
Pitea IF has announced that they finally has completed the long talked about transfers of Johanna Lindahl from Sunnanå and Maria Åhlund from Kristianstad.
Piteåtidningen: Tre klara för Piteå IF
And while we're at it: It seems like the American club Boston Breakers has announced their interest in Canadian defender Candace Chapman. Chapman was recently mentioned as one of three Canadian players close to make a deal with Piteå.
Stattena signs Finnish coach
Being active in Finland's football means that she already has good knowledge about Damallsvenskan and also personal friends, among them AIK's new coach Patrik Jidefalk and several of the Finnish players, including Jessica Julin, who will be an important player for Stattena.
Helsingborgs Dagblad: Finländska ny tränare i Stattena
Stattena also announced that they now have completed the paperwork for LDC FC youngster Lina Rehov's transfer to the club.
Helsingborgs Dagblad: Sjätte nyförvärvet till Stattena
No Kristianstad return for Kia McNeill
Most of the other Americans, who played on Damallsvenskan teams last year, were drafted. Bälinge's Natalie Spilger went to Chicago Red Stars in the 3rd round, Umeå Södra's Jennifer Nobis and Nikki Cross went in the 5th round to Boston Breakers and St. Louis. In the 9th Kristianstad's seldom fielded Alissa Oldenkamp was drafted by FC Gold Pride and in the final and 10th round Umeå Södra's (and formerly Bälinge's) Fanta Cooper got picked by Sky Blue FC.
Kristianstadsbladet: Kia McNeill blev draftad av St Louis
WPS: 2009 WPS draft (pdf file)
Troubled finances might stop Umeå's De Vanna quest
Åkerlund has repeatedly stated that Lisa De Vanna is her favourite, but what if Umeå doesn't manage to sign her? "In that case, I think we're satisfied with the players we've got. At least for now". But she is not worried about the team, even if it will be missing the extra edge a Marta or De Vanna would bring. The average age in the squad is 23 years and it's better to let these players develop instead of maybe jeopardising the club's economy.
Västerbottens Folkblad: De Vanna kan bli för dyr
The position Umeå can't afford not to fill is that of head coach. The latest name rumoured to be on Umeå's short list is Stuart Gibson, an English coach who used to play for the local club IFK Holmsund. He has been responsible for Plymouth's youth program in England and is now coaching Steinkjer FK in Norway, a 2nd division men's team.
Västerbottens Folkblad: Gibson ännu ett namn för Umeå IK
Canadians to Piteå?
Labbé, a 22 years old goalkeeper, got her first cap for Canada last year while midfielder Timko (23 years) and defender Chapman (25) are veterans compared to her. Both started for Canada in the Olympics last year and has 43 and 62 caps for Canada.
Piteå's sport director Håkan Norberg confirms that the club is looking at foreign players, but doesn't want to reveal any names before the papers are signed.
Norrländska Socialdemokraten: Landslagstrio till Piteå
Swedish veteran Kristin Bengtsson, who turns 39 this year, has no intention to retire. The 157 times capped today announced that she has renewed her contract with Hammarby for 2009. She started 17 Damallsvenskan matches last season, often as a forward (3 goals), but her position on the field is by her club's website defined as "everywhere".
Eurosport: Fotbollsveteranen fortsätter
The in demand Australian striker Lisa De Vanna tells Umeå newspaper Folkbladet that she is one day leaning towards signing with Umeå, and the next day towards Washington.
The WPS club Washington Freedom has made her an offer and she has a telephone conference with the club and her agent planned for today. De Vanna adds that she hasn't personally seen any of the offers yet, but will meet her agent, look in to the offers and hopefully come to a decision.
Västerbottens Folkblad: De Vanna och UIK allt längre från varandra
Elin Ekblom takes a break
Expressen: Ekblom Bak gravid - missar säsongen
Sunnanå SK is working on trying to sign two foreign internationals. They are however not troubled by the new American league. Neither of the players, both in the offensive part of the team, are drafted by any WPS clubs. "But they are both national team players who have played in big championships. They are both leading players on their teams." No names mentioned though.
Sunnanå's Sören Gustafsson also mentions that the club no longer hopes to tie Sweden goalkeeper Caroline Jönsson to their team. Gustafsson believes she will go to USA, where she has an offer from the Chicago club.
Norra Västerbotten: "Det påverkar oss inte något alls"
Kistianstad players stays in Cyprus
Their club says it may be a risky choice: "The Cypriot league isn't the best in the world", comments sport director Ulf Berglund. Kristianstad's new coach, Icelandic Elisabet Gunnarsdottir, has never seen them play: "We'll see if they're good enough [to make the team] when they return in May", she comments.
Gunnarsdottir is at the present trying to cut her 30 player training squad to a 24 player roster. "It's positive, the players have to be very competitive and really show what they can, since I've never seen anyone of them before".
One player, defender Carolin Ericsson, a starter in 13 Damallsvenskan matches last season, has already decided to leave. She will move to Malmö with her boyfriend and might turn up for one of the local lower division teams.
Kristianstadsbladet: Stjärnfall i vinterkylan, Carolin Ericsson lämnar KDFF
The Kristianstad players in Cyprus seems very content with their situation. In a recent interview on their Cypriot club's website, where they are called "the foreign diamonds" and "undoubtedly the best three players on Cyprus", they all seem serious in wanting to help the club winning the national championship. They have been very well recieved and like the atmosphere and life on the Mediterranean island. Björck and Bajraktaraj are however not sure if they will return for another season while Ifeoma Dieke, who will join Chicago Red Stars in the American WPS in March, has already made plans to return once the WPS season finishes in August.
Nea Salamis: The foreign diamond female New Salamis (Google-translated)
Marta wins third World player award, confirms move to Los Angeles
Marta had earlier in the day during the pre-gala interviews confirmed the information that she has agreed with the American club Los Angeles Sol on a three year contract. She will move to southern California in February.
In her acceptance speech she as usual thanked God for her talent, her mother and her family as well as team mates and friends. She also gave special thanks to Umeå "who has given me five fantastic years. I will miss my friends, my team mates - yes, the entire town". In a later interview, she didn't rule out a return to Umeå some time: "I am not closing any doors".
She also said that she is excited to join the American league and is looking forward to the challenge to help building the new league.
Västerbottens Folkblad: Marta hyllade Umeå i tacktalet
Expressen: Marta: "Jag kan flytta tillbaka", Martas tårfyllda farväl till Umeå
The main Swedish sports news show opened with a 5 minutes long segment dedicated to Marta. The show's football expert Glenn Strömberg called Marta's award "a really easy decision". "She is a level above everyone else", he established.
Marta's coach during her five years in Umeå, Andrée Jeglertz concurred "There is really no competition". Marta leaving for USA is "a big loss, not only for Umeå but for the Swedish league". She has been the major star, the big crowd puller and when trying to persuade an international star to play in Sweden, it's always been a good selling point that Marta plays here. But, Jeglertz continues, "Damallsvenskan has built a strong brand and the league has become very good and I hope and believe it will do well even without Marta".
They show also interviewed the American league WPS' Chief Operating Officer Mary Harvey, who incedentially played in Damallsvenskan in the 1990's: "We are over-joyed. We are tremendously excited about the prospect having Marta playing in the United States". She also acknowledged "the tremendous role" Damallsvenskan has had for the development of women's football in Europe.
SVT: Marta bäst igen och flyttar nu till USA (video)
Malmö turns down trialist
No decision has been made though and there will be a management meeting during the weekend. The club might be able to set her up with another team, Sjögren said.
Skånska Dagbladet: LDB FC tvekar om västindisk stjärna
Umeå IK continues their quest to find a new coach. Mika Sankala, who coached in the men's premiership last season, still seems most likely, but the club is still working on several names. Sankala doesn't want to comment on the situation at all until his contract dispute with his former employer GIF Sundsvall is solved.
Local paper Västerbottens Folkblad reveals that Umeå's management had a meeting with the young coach Fouzi Benbouzid, just recently employed to coach in AIK's boy's youth program. But Umeå's general manager Britta Åkerlund is secretive and doesn't even want to confirm that the meeting took place.
Västerbottens Folkblad: UIK har fler namn på listan
Finally yet another Kopparbergs/Göteborg player has signed with local competitor Jitex, the young winger Emmelie Farfa. Of the ten players that didn't get renewed contracts, she is the fifth to chose Jitex.
Fotbollskanalen: Emmelie Farfa till Jitex
Umeå facing competition for Lisa De Vanna
Västerbottens Folkblad: Livet går vidare utan stjärna – och tränare
Västerbottenskuriren: UIK tränar på som vanligt
Västerbottens Folkblad has also talked to Greg Erskine, Lisa De Vanna's agent. He confirms that Umeå IK is one of the clubs he is in negotiations with. He is expecting an offer from Washington Freedom some time next week and indicates that there are more Swedish clubs, that have shown interest.
He continues saying that he and Lisa will evaluate her situation. The first choice she has to make seems to be if she wants to stay in Sweden or take the step over to the American league. "She likes the life in Sweden, but she also understands that USA will grow bigger and bigger. The coming two years will be really important for her and we're looking forward to that".
Västerbottens Folkblad: ”Nya Marta” på väg till USA
Young players to Malmö, Piteå and Stattena
Damfotboll.com: Josefine Alfsson förhandlar med LdB FC
Newcomers Pitea has signed 17 year old Jennifer Rönnberg, an inner mid from nearby 3rd division Lira. She is not signed as a development player, but as someone who canfight her way to a starting position.
Piteå's sport director Håkan Norberg also tells that only minor details now remains before Johanna Lindahl (Sunnanå) and Maria Åhlund (Kristianstad) can sign their contracts. He adds that the club is closing in on a few foreign players, who will complete the roster.
Norrländska Socialdemokraten: Piteå värvar talang från Lira BK
And today Stattena's hometown newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad tells that the LDB FC youngster Dafina Memedov has signed with the club. They are also looking at the international market, where their former head coach Ann-Helen Grahm, now assistant coach for Scotland, hwelps them out.
Helsingborgs Dagblad: Malmö-spelare till Stattena