AIK confirms Mäkinen signing

Anne Mäkinen has signed a two year contract with an option for a third year with Stockholm side AIK. In a message at AIK's website Peter Johansson says he is happy to be able to tie one of Damallsvenskan's best midfielders to the club.
The 31 year old has played two years with Umeå and one year at Bälinge since she came to Sweden 2005. AIK has some really good and experienced players on the squad this season, among them Mäkinen's Finnish countrywomen Julin and Valkonen, but just barely avoiding relegation has been a disappointment for the club. It is still unclear which players will stay with the club 2008. Valkonen has been mentioned in connection with Örebro.
Anne Mäkinen till AIK

Pia takes a trip

Currently unemployed Pia Sundhage takes a trip to USA this weekend for an interview with the US Soccer Federation. She says she thinks she's one of the last interviewees, so she'll probably know more about her situation after the weekend.
Sundhage also comments on the talk about her taking over Örebro's men's premier division team: "There has been a lot of talk, but no one from the club has been in touch with me."
Sundhage nära ta över USA

Scasna suffers long-time injury

Czech striker Pavlina Scasna, currently with Kif Örebro but moving to LDB FC Malmö in January, suffered a knee injury in the last minutes of Czech republic's European Championship qualification match against Spain last Saturday. A preliminary examination suggests an ACL tear, but this hasn't been confirmed by an MRI exam yet.
Malmö's Kenny Jönsson, who has been in touch with Scasna, says she's heartbroken but that they are still planning for her to move to Malmö in January, even if she will start with rehab training.
The news is of course a set-back for malmö, more so since another of Malmö's main forwards, Asthildur Helgadottir, has been troubled by injuries most of the year and her future is uncertain. The club will not change their recruitment plans - "we're still looking for one established player and one younger player" - but they will focus on offensive players.
LDB-värvning långtidsskadad

Mäkinen to AIK? Vaseghpanah to Hammarby!

Anne Mäkinen tells Västerbottenskuriren in an interview that she has made up her mind to play for AIK next season. Mäkinen is studying naprapathy in Stockholm and the two hours a day commute from Uppsala has been behind her decision: "It's been tiring to commute. I will move [to Stockholm] to get more time for both training and studies."
There is no confirmation from AIK on this news.
Mäkinen väljer AIK

AIK's Nazanin Vaseghpanah and Kif Örebro's Hodan Siid-Ahmed has signed one year contracts for Hammarby. Vaseghpanah, who I've seen just as much as an AIK fan as an AIK player, says that she after 5 years in AIK needs a new spark and believes she can get that in Hammarby. Hodan Siid-Ahmed played for Hammarby 2003-2004 and together with Vaseghpanah in AIK 2005 before moving to Örebro. Both the young midfielders (20 and 23 years old respectively) have experience from the younger Swedish national teams.
Hammarby: Naza och Hodan till Hammarby Damfotboll

Out-of-contract Icelandic national team midfielder Erla Arnadottir is currently training with Sunnanå SK. She is in talks with the club, as well as with Kristianstads DFF as I have reported here earlier, but Sunnanå's Sören Gustafsson says that it is not yet decided if she will be offered a contract. "At the moment we have proposals to Hanna Marklund, Rebecca Smith and Carina Holmberg" and the club is also in talks with Bälinge's Emma Lindqvist as well as a group of younger players from northern clubs: Matilda Forslund (Umeå Södra), Sandra Fält (Morön), and Lena Blomqvist (Alvik).
Norra Västerbotten: Erla på väg till Sunnanå

Kalmari takes a break, Mäkinen ponders on options

AIK's and Finland's experienced forward Laura Kalmari has played her last match, at least for a while. She is pregnant with the baby expected in February. She is unsure about her future in football, but a come-back doesn't seem completely out of the question. Finland's national team coach Michael Käld has told her that he is hoping she will play for Finland in the European Championship 2009 and Kalmari has promised to think about it.
Därför spelar Laura Kalmari inte mer i år

Anne Mäkinen is still very much in demand on the Swedish player market. She has an offer to renew her contract with Bälinge and she has been in talks with Umeå and Linköping as well as Stockholm sides Djurgården and AIK. But she probably won't move far from the Stockholm area, where she has her studies, which makes a return to Umeå or a move to Linköping less likely. Bälinge's manager Conny Sjöberg expects an answer from Mäkinen next week.
Upsala Nya Tidning: Mäkinen - stannar eller går?

Another undecided player is Umeå's Lise Klaveness, who just has finished her law degree. "I really like it here in Umeå [...] I would like to combine football and work and I think it will be easier to find a job in Norway." She has recieved a contract proposal from Norwegian top side Asker and is waiting for one from Umeå.
Västerbottens Folkblad. Lise Klaveness står inför ett svårt beslut

Jenny Engwall, under contract with LDB FC Malmö but on loan to Kopparbergs/Göteborg the entire season, will not sign a new contract with Malmö: "If I continue to play, it will be in Göteborg", says the 30 year old defender. She has had a very good season in Göteborg, starting every match, and has also recieved an offer from the club. She says she is excited by the prospect of playing for Göteborg's new coach Torbjörn Nilsson, but would like a better contract.
Sydsvenskan: Inget mer spel i Malmö för Engwall

Linköping's and Sweden's defender Charlotte Rohlin has renewed her contract. Club manager Anders Mäki now has 13 players signed for 2008, 5 of them potential national team players.
Corren: Rohlin blir kvar i LFC

Maria Karlsson stays in Linköping and other news

Linköping FC's winger/fullback Maria Karlsson has renewed her contract with the club, turning down offers from Örebro and AIK.
Daniela di Luca from Linköping's farm team Kenty, who has been starting for Linköping the last few matches, will probably get an offer for a contract with Linköping's Damallsvenskan team.
Karlsson stannar i LFC 

Hammarby's young defender Anna Lindblom, who was brought up from the youth team this season, has signed a contract for 2008.
Hammarby: Anna Lindblom även 2008

Marina Toscana Aggio, defender and key player with Umeå Södra, is hoping for an improved contract after the club has promoted to the premier division. Marina, who came to Sweden 2004 together with Marta, played professionally with Själevad in Damallsvenskan the two first years, but has since worked full time while playing for Umeå Södra in the second tier. She says she wants to come back next season, but needs a contract that allows her to take more time off from work.
Västerbottenskuriren: Marina är spelsugen - men vill slippa städa

Sunnanå's leading goalscorer Lina Johansson has signed a new one year contract with her club, making it the 26 year old's 10th season in the club.
Norra Västerbotten: Lina spelar ett år till

Sunnanå is also looking at 17 year old Matilda Forslund, successful midfielder with 6 goals and 10 assists for promoted Umeå Södra FF. Forslund, who is trying out with Sunnanå, is from Sunnanå's home town Skellefteå.
Norra Västerbotten: Matilda klar för allsvenskan

Lovisa Hübinette scored 20 goals for 2nd division side IFK Gävle as the club promoted to the 1st division and has attracted some attention from other clubs. Bälinge's Zaine Söderlund says the 19 year old is a "young and promising player that we have been in touch with", but adds that doesn't mean that they have decided to offer her any contract.
Upsala nya tidning:  Bälinge uppvaktar skyttedrottning

Marika Domanski Lyfors stays in Sweden

Marika Domanski Lyfors, who recently left her position as head coach for the Chinese national team, has been hired by the Swedish Football Association to head the football department, which makes her responsible for all player and coach training in the Swedish FA, except the men's national team. Marika says she has had some offers since she left China, but being part of developing Swedish football was the best offer. It will also make it possible for her "to have an ordinary family life".
Domanski Lyfors blir fotbollschef
Svensk fotboll:  Marika Domanski Lyfors åter till SvFF

Benny Persson new AIK coach

Former Djurgården coach Benny Persson has signed a three year contract with AIK. Persson, who has a history coaching AIK's men's development team, says he's proud being asked and is looking forward to take AIK's women to the top.
Persson has extensive experience coaching men's team just below the two top divisions and took Djurgården's women to one third and two second places during his two and half year stay. AIK's Peter Johansson says that "we have been looking for an experienced and competent coach and with Benny we have a coach that knows women's football well and knows what it takes to be a top team".
This announcement also means that Pia Sundhage, who was on the short-list and met with AIK's management last week, still is available for other positions.
Klart med ny tränare för damlaget Benny Persson ny tränare i AIK

Benny Persson to coach AIK?

Djurgården's Benny Persson, who will leave his position as head coach for Djurgården when the season ends, might take over AIK. Persson, who has taken Djurgården to one cup victory and two 2nd place finishes in the league during his two and a half year tenure, says to that he is very interested in AIK, which he calls a club with visions and opportunities.
Former Örebro coach Pia Sundhage has also been mentioned in connection with AIK, but she seems to have other, maybe more interesting options. Persson hopes there will be a decision from AIK by Monday.
Djurgårdstränare Persson tar över AIK

Örebro signs Finnish national team forward, talks to Valkonen and Dahlqvist

Kif Örebro announced today that they have reached an agreement with Finnish national team forward Leena Puranen. The 21 year old has played for HJK Helsinki in the Finnish league and says that she is prepared to train hard, develop and take a place as a starter.
Örebro's coach Richard Holmlund might also reunite with Finland's Sanna Valkonen, who played for him when he coached Umeå. The experienced defender says that she wants to continue to play, with the European Championships in Finland 2009 as her goal. Valkonen, who appearently might leave AIK after an disappointing season, says that she wants to continue her teaching studies and that Örebro is a good town to study in. Coach Holmlund doesn't want to confirm that he is in talks with Valkonen, but calls her "a world class defender" and says "it's no secret I would like to have her in Örebro".
To continue with Örebro, Umeå's young midfielder Lisa Dahlqvist has confessed that she sometimes feels homesick in Umeå and she has been in touch with Örebro. "My contract runs out after this season and I haven't decided what to do yet", she says.
Nerikes Allehanda:
Leena klar - kommer även Lisa?, Holmlund kan ta finsk backklippa till KIF

Sundhage talks about her future

Pia Sundhage expects to be contacted by the search committee from the US Soccer Federation, that shall name a new head coach for the US national team, within a few days. "I am one of four that will be interviewed for the position", she says. She also has an interview set up with Damallsvenskan side AIK.

Pia, who together with Marika Domanski Lyfors turned down an offer to continue leading China's national team a few days ago, is pleased with the interest for her services: "There is not a very big job market for me as a female coach... the general conception is that I should only coach women", she tells her local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda in an interview. The paper reveals that her name has come up in the discussions bout a new head coach for Örebro's struggling men's premier league team. "That would be exciting", Pia comments, "That would really be breaking barriers and it would take a very brave club to take that step."

But at the moment Pia is focusing on other job opportunities. "It would be huge to coach USA", she says but that is not her dream job: "No, that would be head coach for the Swedish national team".
Expressen: Sundhage:
Jag är en av fyra
Nerikes Allehanda: AIK, USA - eller herrlag för Pia

Newcomers Kristianstad looking at Qbik players, Umeå's Arnqvist watching teenagers

Therese Björk, a former Kristianstad player, and Amelie Rybäck from relegated Qbik are both high on the list over wanted players at Kristianstads DFF. The ambitious club has made an offer to Björk, who is happy that her old club has gained promotion, but is still doubting: "Maybe I shouldn't say that, but it might be the fourth time I get relegated from Damallsvenskan". The experienced player got relegated with Kristianstad/Vä 2001, Jitex 2006 and now Qbik. "I'm so tired of going on these long trips [to away games] and almost never get to win". Kristianstad's sport director Ulf Berglund has more faith: "We have a good team. We're not going up just to hang on, we intend to establish ourselves among the 7-8 best."

Another of Kristianstad's prospects, Icelandic national team player Erla Arnadottir, played a few fall matches with the team before she moved north to Skellefteå (Sunnanå's home town). "Both I and the club wants to see me playing for Kristianstad next year, but my girlfriend is living in Skellefteå so it's not just up to me", comments Arnadottir. And if she should end up in Skellefteå, Sunnanå, where she has played before, might be an alternative.
Björk återigen aktuell för Kristianstads DFF, Erla har återvänt till Skellefteå

Umeå's Roland Arnqvist was at Visby and watched Sweden's 18 year olds losing to Germany 0-2. The players that prompted his trip are Öster's Petronella Ekroth and Sofia Jakobsson and Eskilstuna's Sara Fröjdfeldt. Coach Jeglertz has stated that he "wants them on the team next season". Arnqvist also denies that Denmark's Cathrine Paaske Sörensen should be close to signing for Umeå - "There is no truth in that, we haven't talked with her or about her".
Västerbottens Folkblad: UIK-bas har åkt på scoutresa

Schelin stays in Göteborg

Damallsvenskan's leading goal-scorer Lotta Schelin has renewed her contract with Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, keeping her with the club for one more year. "We're very happy. It's no secret that she means a lot for the team", says club chairman Peter Bronsman. The hiring of the club's new coach Torbjörn Nilsson influenced her decision, but she says she will review her position next year.
Lotta stannar i Göteborg

Lotta Schelin's and Victoria Svensson's decisions to stay with their clubs will force Linköping to go abroad to find the new top player they need, says Linköping's manager Anders Mäki. Neither Mäki or the club's head coach Daniel Pettersson wants to mention any names, but local newspaper Corren thinks it's a good guess that players from the Brazilian World Cup team are on the short-list and they are probably well updated on the Nordic player market. "We have taken initial contacts with a few players", admits Mäki, "but we haven't made any concrete proposals".
Corren: Nej - då tvingas LFC utomlands

Relegated Qbik risk losing most of their players. The forward duo Rebecca Johnsson and Jennifer Meier has alredy signed with Djurgården. The late reinforcements Lauren MacIver and Michelle O'Brien will return home, Therese Björk and Amelie Rybeck., who joined from Jitex last year, will move back home to Göteborg, as will probably back-up keeper My Axelsson (to Eskilstuna). At the moment the club only have four players contracted for 2008, all teenagers. they will start negotiations with the rest of the players within short and goalkeeper Maria Yatrakis, one of their best players throughout the season, is their top priority. "We hope to be able to sign her on a six month artist contract [which gives large tax benefits]", says Freddy Lundh who is responsible for player negotiations.
Värmlands Folkblad: Bara fyra under kontrakt - men Qbik hoppas på Yatrakis

Football Award 2007 nominations

Last years quarrel favourite, the Swedish Football Awards, is here again. Well, not really, but the nominations are in. Feel free to start complaining:

Coach of the Year:
Kenneth Isaksson, Sunnanå SK
Andrée Jeglertz, Umeå IK 
Benny Persson, Djurgården
Jörgen Petersson, LDB FC Malmö

Breakthrough of the Year (the Rookie Award):
Madelaine Edlund, Umeå IK
Emilia Erixon, Kif Örebro
Linda Forsberg, Djurgården
Malin Levenstad, LDB FC Malmö

Goalkeeper of the year:
Kristin Hammarström, Kif Örebro
Caroline Jönsson, LDB FC Malmö
Sofia Lundgren, AIK
Bente Nordby, Djurgården

Defender of the year:
Hanna Marklund, Sunnanå SK
Anna Paulson, Umeå IK
Stina Segerström, Kif Örebro
Karolina Westberg, Umeå IK

Midfielder of the Year:
Nilla Fischer, LDB FC Malmö 
Ariane Hingst, Djurgården
Caroline Seger, Linköpings FC 
Therese Sjögran, LDB FC Malmö

Forward of the Year:
Pavlina Scasna, Kif Örebro
Lotta Schelin, Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC 
Marta da Silva, Umeå IK
Victoria Svensson, Djurgården

Svensk Fotboll:
Fotbollsgalan: Nomineringarna klara 

Sweden squad for Olympic qualification matches against Denmark released

Coach Thomas Dennerby today released the squad for the Olympic qualifiers against Denmark on November 8 in Viborg, Denmark and on November 28 at the national stadium Råsunda just outside Stockholm. There are only minor changes to the team compared to the one in China. Linda Forsberg and Sara Johansson are injured and replaced by Frida Nordin and Jessica Landström, the latter making the full national side for the first time. Three players - Sofia Lundgren, Madelaine Edlund and Charlotte Rohlin - are cut from the team, since it is an 18 player roster this time.

Kristin Hammarström Kif Örebro, Hedvig Lindahl Linköpings FC

Sara Larsson Linköpings FC, Hanna Marklund Sunnanå SK, Anna Paulson Umeå IK, Stina Segerström KIF Örebro, Sara Thunebro Djurgården, Karolina Westberg Umeå IK, Frida Östberg Linköpings FC

Nilla Fischer LDB FC Malmö, Jessica Landström Hammarby IF, Hanna Ljungberg Umeå IK, Therese Lundin LDB FC Malmö, Frida Nordin LDB FC Malmö, Lotta Schelin Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, Caroline Seger Linköpings FC, Therese Sjögran LDB FC Malmö, Victoria Svensson Djurgården

Svensk Fotboll:
Landström ny i OS-kvalet

Domanski Lyfors and Sundhage leaves China

Marika Domanski Lyfors and Pia Sundhage, head coach and assistant coach for China's natioanl team, has decided to decline the offer from China to extend their contract over the Olympic games 2008. "They [China] have done everything they can to make us stay, but they respect and understand our decision", commented Marika Domanski Lyfors. Marika cites family reasons - she has a teenage son and has only been in Sweden four times the last six months. She has several job offers in Sweden, but refuse to comment on if any of these offers are from Damallsvenskan clubs.
Pia Sundhage has several job options, as have been reported here earlier. The decision of US Soccer to look for a new head coach to replace Greg Ryan has put her as one of the front runners for a position with the USA women's national team. Asked a few hypothetical questions by the Swedish women's football news site, she says that coaching USA's women would be a great challenge, and she would accept an offer. She also says that she would like to change the way USA plays and see a more varied play from the team, one that doesn't solely rely on pace.
Nobbar Kina
Expressen: Domanski Lyfors och Sundhage hoppar av USA nästa för Pia?

Svensson stays with Djurgården! Sundhage to AIK?

Victoria Svensson today announced that she has signed a new two year deal with Djurgården. "Linköping offered a good and interesting deal, but so did Djurgården. The contract with Djurgården feels like a dream deal". She is satisfied with the financial side, but it seems like Djurgården's promises of a continued career with the club after she finishes playing was the deal breaker. Djurgården's manager Mikael Söderman is of course very pleased when the club increases their ambitions for coming seasons.
"Vickan" stannar i Djurgården
Expressen: Drömkontrakt får "Vickan att stanna

Pia Sundhage and Marika Lyfors Domanski will shortly give an answer to the Chinese Football Association regarding their future as coaches for the Chinese national team. The Chinese FA seems eager to keep them, but both of them has aired some doubts. For Marika it is family reasons (her son is in the last year in highschool) and Pia has experienced some health problems in China. Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet investigeted a rumour connecting Sundhage with AIK: "I haven't been contacted directly, but I saw that [AIK's former head coach] Jörgen [Zetterström] got fired". What do you mean with that you haven't been asked directly, the paper asked. "Well, you know how the word gets around. People have been talking to me."
Pia has also, in an interview with Göteborgsposten, revealed that she has been contacted by both US Soccer and college teams in USA. She said that there were no concrete proposals, but denied to comment on wether the US women's national team had been in touch.
Aftonbladet: AIK jagar Sundhage
Göteborgsposten: Sundhage erbjuds tränarjobb i USA

Recently promoted Umeå Södra FF is looking at Finland's 22 year national team goalkeeper Minna Merilouto. Their goalkeeper coach went to Finland to watch the match between Merilouto's FC United and Raisio in the Finnish league. Umeå Södra's manager Ola Carlén says that the vclub has decided that they want to sign her.
Västerbottens Folkblad: Umeå Södra kan värva finsk landslagsmålvakt

Damallsvenskan Round XXI: Umeå champions, Qbik relegated

Umeå celebrated their league championship with an 8 goal pounding of AIK, pleasing the big home crowd. Djurgården's and Malmö's victories secured their second and third places while Qbik's failure to defeat Göteborg made relegation unevitable. And in spite of their huge loss to Umeå, AIK will most probably survive in the highest division - they have a 3 points and 14 goals advantage over Falköping. With one round left to play everything seems settled except the oh so exciting struggle for fifth place...

Falköpings KIK - Djurgården  0 - 4 (0-1)
Falköping: Malin Andersson - Nettan Hofling, Elin Osbeck, Emma Eriksson, Sandra Krantz, Madeleine Tegström, Cynthia Uwak (68 Therese Larsson), Jill Oakes, Erin Ramsay (46 Camilla Sanderheim), Kimberly Brandao, Linnea Liljegärd
Djurgården: Bente Nordby - Jane Törnqvist, Elin Ekblom, Sara Thunebro, Dorte Dalum Jensen, Emma Lundh, Anna Hall, Victoria Svensson, Ariane Hingst (59 Malin Engdahl), Ann-Marie Norlin (76 Anna Lagerberth), Therese Brogårde
Goals: 0-1 Ariane Hingst (26), 0-2 Victoria Svensson (47), 0-3 Emma Lundh (69), 0-4 Elin Ekblom (90)
Attendance: 1,093

Djurgården  secured their second place and helped saving AIK's Damallsvenskan place, as they played out against Falköping, often playing directly from the defenders to the forwards. Falköping had problems defending their area and even bigger problems creating anything against Djurgården's well organized defense.
Andraplatsen säkrad i Falköping

Hammarby IF - Linköpings FC  0 - 2 (0-1)
Hammarby: Kathrin Lehmann - Elin Sölveskog, Jennie Jonsson, Jessica Landström, Marijke Callebaut, Malin Nykvist, Matilda Agné (72 Andrea Comaneci), Therese Sandström (72 Louise Fors), Anna Lindblom, Daniella Chamoun, Annica Svensson
Linköping: Hedvig Lindahl - Sara Larsson, Daniela Diluca, Maria Karlsson (86 Maria Lindström), Charlotte Rohlin, Frida Östberg, Ann Westermark, Maria Aronsson (86 Madeleine Nordén), Marie-Louise Skålberg, Kosovare Asllani (72 Anna-Kaisa Rantanen), Caroline Seger
Goals: 0-1 Frida Östberg (21), 0-2 Maria Karlsson (82)
Attendance: 306

Linköping's coach Daniel Pettersson wasn't very pleased with his sides performance against Hammarby, but was happy with the win and with his new fullback Daniela di Luca. But Linköping's win was a lucky one, they were pressed by Hammarby, particulary in the first part of the match.
Hammarby: Kylslaget 0-2 mot Linköping värmde
Corren: Backdoldis gladde hos LFC - igen

Kif Örebro - Bälinge  1 - 0 (0-0)
Örebro: Kristin Hammarström - Ingrid Ericson, Stina Segerström, Malin Nilsson, Lena Andersson, Marie Hammarström, Hodan Siid-Ahmed (35 Elin Rydberg), Caroline Näfver, Elin Magnusson, Marina Pettersson, Hanna Pettersson
Bälinge: Maja Åström - Linda Sembrant, Lina Andersson, Nina Engström, Karolina Mats, Emma Lindqvist, Julia Lyckberg, Moa Eriksson (58 Alexandra Höglund), Katri Nokso-Koivisto (46 Jenny Jansson), Lisa Lantz (77 Emilia Appelqvist), Anne Mäkinen
Goals: 1-0 Hanna Pettersson (61)
Attendance: 741

Neither team had much to play for, but Örebro coach Richard Holmlund said he wanted the team to make a decent end in front of their home crowd. Örebro were the better side throughout the match. Bälinge were lacking edge in their attack, which became even duller when Katri Nokso-Koivisto had to leave the field with an injured foot.
Nerikes Allehanda: KIF vann mot Bälinge - Pavlina på läktaren
Upsala Nya Tidning: Mäkinen kan ha gjort sitt i Bälinge

Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC - Qbik  4 - 1 (2-1)
Göteborg: Sandra Bjurteg - Jenny Engwall, Maria Nilsson, Maria Karlsson, Lotta Schelin, Sofie Andersson (86 Frida Svensson), Salina Olsson (79 Lisa Ek), Elin Dahl Örn, Sara Lindén, Ingvild Stensland, Johanna Almgren (71 Emelie Farfa)
Qbik: Maria Yatrakis - Ifeoma Dieke (84 Lovisa Ericsson), Anna Nilsson, Lisa Mellberg, Jenny Hallstenson, Therése Lückner, Amelie Rybäck (69 Jennifer Meier), Therése Björk, Elin Sandgren, Michele O'Brien, Lauren MacIver
Goals: 0-1 Lisa Mellberg (17), 1-1 Lotta Schelin (21), 2-1 Sara Lindén (33), 3-1 Lotta Schelin (79), 4-1 Lotta Schelin (88)
Attendance: 512

Qbik, forced to win both their two last matches to avoid relegation, took an early lead but Göteborg's Lotta Schelin quickly replied. 2-1 below towards the end of the second half, Qbik threw what they had forward, but opened themselves to Göteborg's fast counters and Schelin struck twice more. "Of course I'm disappointed", said head coach Janne Jansson, "but  know we were hoping for miracles".
Göteborgsposten: Umeå mästare - Schelin förbi Marta
Nya Wermlandstidningen: Goodbye allsvenskan - för den här gången
Värmlands Folkblad: Qbik föll i Göteborg: Det känns konstigt och tomt

LDB FC Malmö - Sunnanå SK  1 - 0 (1-0)
Malmö: Stephanie Öhrström - Therese Sjögran, Emma Wilhelmsson, Malin Levenstad, Nilla Fischer, Therese Jönsson, Frida Nordin, Therese Lundin, Emma Stålhammar (76 Dora Stefansdottir), Manon Melis, Lina Nilsson
Sunnanå: Åsa Berglund - Josefin Johansson, Sandra Berggren, Hanna Marklund, Anna Bodén, Kristina Wiklund (70 Magdalena Esseryd), Maria Nordbrandt, Mirjam Marklund, Lina Johansson, Perpetua Nkwocha (59 Johanna Lindahl), Alexandra Nilsson
Goals: 1-0 Emma Stålhammar (22)
Attendance: 422

After three matches without a win, malmö finally got their game together and defeated Sunnanå in their last home game for the season. Malmö's national team players Therese Sjögran and Nilla Fischer won the midfield and Emma Stålhammar scored an early goal after a great pass from Therese Jönsson. It was a fairly enjoyable match between two good sides and there were a lot more chances than the meagre scoring line would suggest. Sunnanå's retiring coach Kenneth Isaksson commented that when he came to the clun three years ago, they were standing in their penlty-box, just kicking the ball away, in matches against the top sides. Now, they are disappointed with a single goal defeat. Still, his goalkeeper Åsa Berglund and Hanna Marklund in defense were his most important players.
Norra Västerbotten: Knapp förlust för Sunnanå
Sydsvenskan: Äntligen en nolla för LDB

Umeå IK - AIK  8 - 0 (4-0)
Umeå: Carola Söberg - Anna Paulson, Karolina Westberg, Emma Berglund, Maria Bergkvist - Lise Klaveness (56 Erika Karlsson), Lisa Dahlqvist, Elaine - Ramona Bachmann (61 June Pedersen), Madeleine Edlund, Marta
AIK:  Sofia Lundgren - Madelene Göras (68 Anna Bohlin), Frida Höglund, Sanna Valkonen, Linda Lekander - Anna Lundin (58 Patricia Lind), Jessica Julin, Kacey White, Ingrid Bohlin (80 Madeleine Wedin) - Sofia Simonsson, Freja Egebrand 
Goals: 1-0 Lisa Dahlqvist (1), 2-0 Madeleine Edlund (16), 3-0 Ramona Backmann (30), 4-0 Ramona Backmann (31), 5-0 Lisa Dahlqvist (47), 6-0 Lisa Dahlqvist (63), 7-0 June Pedersen (83), 8-0 Erika Karlsson (90)
Attendance: 3,798

Lisa Dahlqvist scored the first goal after only 14 seconds and then it just continued. Lisa Dahlqvist made a hat-trick, including what she herself calls "a Marta", a corner-kick directly into goal. Ramona scored a brace within one minute. Everyone seemed to have fun, maybe except Marta who only managed to hit the goalpost twice. On the other hand she as usually set up a couple of goals. 
Aftonbladet: "Vi vann som ett lag", pictures
Västerbottens Folkblad: Utklassning när UIK tog sjätte guldet
SVT: Guldhattarna på för Umeå (video)

Carola Söberg re-signs with Umeå

Goalkeeper Carola Söberg has signed a new one year deal with Umeå IK. Even if she's had more competition for the starting position than expected, and her failure to establish herself as an undisputed first choice was probably what cost her a spot in the Swedish World Cup team, she says it was a very easy decision: "I like both the team and the town a lot and I think it's good for my development to have to compete for the starting position".


Umeå, that so far has 10 players signed for the 2008 season, will now continue their discussions with Lise Klaveness, Elaine and Erika Karlsson. They are also looking to add players to the club. They will try to add some young local talents. One of them seems to be Emma Åberg Zingmark, a Sweden U-16 midfielder from the local club Ersboda. "I'm sure she will be a premier league player" comments Umeå's coach Andrée Jeglertz, "She might be it already next year, but we're in no hurry". Another local talent, just promoted Umeå Södra's star player Hanna Folkesson, will probably not join, in spite of Umeå IK showing interest. The 19 year old midfielder, that has been contacted by several other Damallsvenskan sides, hasn't made up her mind yet, but admits that she is guaranteed a lot of playing time if she stays with Södra.

Manager Arnqvist is also looking for a couple of players that are good enough to make the whole team better, but not too many: "We want a team with players the fans can connect to", but adds that Marta after four years is just as much an Umeå player as anyone else. Arnqvist hopes to have his team together within a month, but doesn't mantion any of the big names they are looking at. But rumours mention Denmark's Cathrine Paaske Sörensen and Brazil's Daniela.

Västerbottenskuriren: UIK jagar nyförvärv till truppen, Nöjd Söberg blir kvar i UIK, Södras stjärnskott: "I Södra vet jag att jag får speltid i allsvenskan"
Västerbottens Folkblad: Söberg fortsätter i UIK, Emma vill spela i UIK

Stensland resigns, Schelin still undecided

Norway's midfield star Ingvild Stensland says she will renew her contract with Koopparbergs/Göteborg: "It will be exciting with Torbjörn Nilsson as coach". Stensland, who had the early part of the season destryod by a knee injury and got fit just in time for the World Cup, also says that she wants to be able to play a little bt more for the club.
Ingvild Stensland kvar i Göteborg FC

Göteborg's other star, Lotta Schelin, says she doesn't want to comment on her contract situation until she has signed a contract, "but if I decide to leave Göteborg I've got some alternatives". It also seems like her decision will be wether she wants to stay in her hometown Göteborg or not. Incoming head coach Torbjörn Nilsson, who now has had some time to get to know the team, says he hopes Schelin will stay.
Göteborgsposten: Lotta Schelin säger ingenting

Some non-Göteborg news:

My Axelsson, who has been the back-up for Qbik's goalkeeper Maria Yatrakis, will leave the club after this season and probably return to her old club Eskilstuna United, that plays in the 1st division.
Eskilstunakuriren: My Axelsson flyttar hem

Bälinge has signed four year contracts with four 17 year old juniors in the club: Emilia Appelqvist, Alexandra Höglund, Jenny Jansson, Julia Lyckberg. Even if they have mostly played in Bälinge's farm team, all of them have seen some Damallsvenskan action this season. "It takes time to build a good team and you need patience" said head coach Zaine Söderlund, who also has signed a long term contract with the club. Bälinge has used a lot of foreign players the last years, but manager Conny Sjöberg says that was neccesary to gain promotion and establish the club in the premier. He now wants young players with roots in the community but admits the team will still need to sign experienced players from other clubs.
Upsala Nya Tidning:  Fyra 17-åringar fick fyraårskontrakt Fyra lovande 17-åringar har fått fyraårskontrakt

Svensson recieves big wage offer from Linköping

Djurgården's Victoria Svensson took a trip to Linköping last Wednesday for a closer look at the club and talks with the management. "It was a good visit, Linköping is an interesting club and I didn't make the trip just for the fun of it." She returned from Linköping with what is decribed as "a very lucurative offer", comparable to what Marta makes with her current deal. Victoria says, without mentioning any figures, that she is satisfied with the offer. But she also has an offer from Djurgården and hasn't made up her mind yet.
Linköping FC's chairman Christer Mård calls Victoria Svensson "Sweden's best football player" and says that his offer to her is "extremely competitive". Svensson is his number one target, but he hasn't given up completely about Lotta Schelin, "but it feels like she will stay in Göteborg".
Rekordbudet på Svensson

Other rumours:

Sunnanå's young winger/forward Maria Nordbrandt, who finished just outside Dennerby's World Cup team, is reported to be close to signing with Kif Örebro. The ability to get the education she wants in Örebro seems to have been the tiebreaker.
Nerikes Allehanda: Sunnanåstjärnan: "Mycket talar för Örebro"

Linköping's forward Maria Aronsson (8 caps with the full national team) is one of the few that hasn't resigned with the club and is rumoured to be listening to offers from AIK, Bälinge and Hammarby. And so are Linköping's full-back/midfielder Maria Karlsson (8 national team caps) and young forward Sandra Landgren, who has arranged a try-out at AIK.
Corren: Allsvenska klubbar jagar Aronsson

Six Damallsvenskan players on FIFA's World Player list

There were no Swedish players on the shortlist for the FIFA World Player Award, 26 players long, that FIFA presented 5 October. No surprise there was the most comment in Sweden, even if some, like Lotta Schelin and Victoria Svensson, protested; we have several Swedish players that are better than some of those on the list. And she is probably right there, but there is still a lot of regional considerations involved in the selection.

Still, six players currently playing in Damallsvenskan is on the list, more than from any other league in the world (the German Bundesliga is closest with four current players): Ariane Hingst (Germany and Djurgården), Bente Nordby (Norway and Djurgården), Ingvild Stensland (Norway and Kopparbergs/Göteborg), Perpetua Nkwocha (Nigeria and Sunnanå), Rebecca Smith (New Zealand and Sunnanå) and Marta (Brazil and Umeå). And a couple of players that has played in Sweden also found themselves on the list: Formiga (Brazil and Malmö 2004-2005), Kristine Lilly (USA and Kif Örebro 2005) and Daniela (Brazil and Kopparbergs/Göteborg 2004).

Anyone willing to bet against Marta lifting the trophy in December?

...och svenskorna ratas också av Fifa
FIFA: Road to Zurich begins in earnest

Damallsvenskan newcomers looking for reinforcements

Two Damallsvenskan teams will be demoted after this season. The list of possible candidates is now down to three; AIK, Falköping and Qbik. The teams to succeed them are already set: Kristianstads DFF has dominated the southern division completely and won promotion several weeks ago while Umeå Södra FF secured the neccesary points only last weekend. Kristianstad has a history in Damallsvenskan (under a different name though) and has nursed talents like Therese Sjögran, Nilla Fischer and Sara Johansson while Umeå Södra has lived in the shadow of their city rivals Umeå IK for the last decade.

Umeå Södra, that had a cooperation agreement with Umeå IK until last year, might find it difficult to compete for local players and sponsor money with the bigger club. Umeå IK is already eyeing their young midfield talent Hanna Folkesson. Umeå Södra's first target was on the other hand retired Anna Sjöström, mostly known as a UIK player, but she actually started her career in Umeå Södra. The former national team star's answer was hesitant, but she added "If I should feel the urge to play again, I'll get in touch". Other local players that the newcomers has expressed interest in are also mostly UIK players; June Pedersen, Erika Karlsson and Johanna Andersson (currently Jitex, but has played with both Umeå IK and Umeå Södra). One of the team's key players the last two seasons has been Marina Aggio, an accomplished defender who came to Umeå 2004 as an older companion to the then 17 year old Marta. She hopes that it will be possible for the club to hire another Brazilian, but the club's budget for 2008 looks very tight, somewhere around SEK 1,5 millions. The management hopes that continuing working the way that finally secured promotion, using mainly young, local players, will help them through their first Damallsvenskan season too.
Västerbottens Folkblad:
Södra vill övertala Sjöa, Södra söker spetsar,

Kristianstads DFF began strengthening the team already this season, recruiting from Malmö's bench and signing Icelandic international Erla Arnadottir. Kopparbergs/Göteborg's goalkeeper Maria Edman seems to be their next signing. The former U21 goalkeeper says three years in Göteborg is enough and wants to move closer to her home back south. And the club is also claiming they are in talks with a young American player, "that finished just outside the US World Cup team". Not many players fit this description, and two of them are in Sweden; Örebro's Keeley Dowling and AIK's Kacey White. White refused to comment on her future when she was interviewed after her winning goal against Bälinge last weekend. But if she decides to play a third season in Sweden, she really ought to be able to find better teams than the likes of AIK or Kristianstad, commented the interviewer from Bälinge's local paper UNT.
Norra Skåne: KDFF jagar Göteborgs målvakt

Umeå's Klaveness quits Norwegian national team

Umeå IK's midfielder/forward Lise Klaveness has, following her exclusing from the Norway team that will play the Euro qualifier against Russia next week, announced that she has decided to put an end to her national team career. The 26 years old reveals in a statement that coach Bjarne Berntsen told her after the World Cup, that she didn't fit in his plans. "I have done everything I can to be stronger, fitter and to improve my football skills, but 'fit in' - I have no idea how you do that", she explains her decision. Klaveness has been on Norwegian national teams for the last 12 years and says she will miss "going on road-trips with the girls", but will now devote herself to club football.

Norway teammate Ragnhild Gulbrandsen expressed her understanding for Klaveness decision and said that coach Berntsen had problems handling players who are too independent, on and off the field. "You can't treat everybody just the same", Gulbrandsen said in an interview with Norwegian radio. "You have to give a player like Lise some freedom on the pitch".

100 % Fotball: Klaveness slutter på landslaget
NRK: Bråk etter Klaveness-vrakning

UEFA Women's Cup: Umeå narrowly wins group after Russian pressure

Two Marta goals in the first half saved a draw against and the group win over Russian champions Rossiyanka. The Umeå team, with Marta starting for the first tme during this mini-yournament, seemed tired, worn-out and not a little cranky. The mood was irritated from both sides, something that wasn't helped by the unpredictable refereeing, that ended with 9 yellow cards. The Russians came out strong, playing fast and organized and pressuring Umeå. Umeå still, against the run of the play, managed to get two goals up, much thanks to Marta. In the second half the Russians hit back twice in a few second half minutes. Coach Jeglertz was happy to escape with a draw, calling Rossiyanka "the best team we've met this year", but very unhappy with the refereeing. "This isn't acceptable. In these three matches in the UEFA Cup group play we recieved more warnings than during the entire league season."

Umeå IK - Rossiyanka 2 -2 (2-0)
Umeå: Carola Söberg - Ramona Bachmann (52 Erika Karlson), Emma Berglund, Lisa Dahlkvist, Madelaine Edlund, Lise Klaveness, Elaine, Anna Paulsson, June Pedersen, Marta, Karolina Westberg
Goals: 1-0 Marta (26 PK), 2-0 Marta (40), 2-1 Barbashina (52), 2-2 Barbashina (56)
Marta räddade UIK mot skickliga ryskor, UIK lämnar protest mot domarstandarden

In the earlier matches against the groups two minnows, Romanian Clujana and Belorussian Vitebsk, Umeå gave the impression of a team that was mostly going through the motions. At the same time both Clujana and Vitebsk played everyone behind the ball and mainly tried to make scoring as hard as possible for umeå, but not showing much ambitions forward. Not an unreasonable choice of tactics, but both Jeglertz and his team were clearly unhappy about it. Umeå is still much to strong to be defeated by that kind of tactics and clearly won both games, but with unimpressing scorelines.

Umeå IK - Vitebsk 3 - 1 (2-0)
Umeå: Carola Söberg - Ramona Bachmann, Maria Bergkvist (19 Emmelie Konradsson), Emma Berglund, Lisa Dahlqvist (83 Marta), Madeleine Edlund, Erika Karlsson, Lise Klaveness, Elaine, Anna Paulsson, June Pedersen
Goals: 1-0 Lise Klaveness (14), 2-0 Lise Klaveness (29 PK), 2-1 Ionela Loredana Ilinca (61), 3-1 Madeleine Edlund (83)

Umeå Ik - Clujana 2 - 0 (0-0)
Umeå: Ulla-Karin Rönnlund - Anna Paulsson, Karolina Westberg, Emma Berglund, Lisa Dahlkvist /74 Emmelie Konradsson), Madeleine Edlund, Erika Karlsson, June Pedersen, Lise Klaveness, Ramona Bachmann (60 Marta), Elaine
Goals: 1-0 June Pedersen (51), 2-0 June Pedersen (70)

The Marta Situation

Just to make a short recap, Umeå manager Roland Arnqvist met with Marta's agent Fabiano Farah when Brazil guested Umeå before the World Cup. Farah stated that Marta wants to stay in Umeå, but her decision would be dependent of what kind of offer Umeå can put on the table.

Marta's performance in the World Cup, not the least in the match against USA, probably had something to do with what happened next. The AEG group, owner of the MLS club LA Galaxy and behind the Los Angeles franchise in the new US women's league (but in Sweden simply called David Beckham's club), was reported to have contacted Marta with a, for women's football, huge offer. An 8 or maybe 10 years long contract worth something like US$ 2-3 millions, starting immedeately after the Olympic Games in China 2008. "There is no way we can compete with that kind of money" was Arnqvist's reaction, but added that Marta has turned down bigger money than Umeå has been able to offer before. Marta herself said that the offer from AEG was "interesting", but that she had matches to play before she would make up her mind.

The next step was that Umeå increased their bid, offering Marta somewhere close to SEK 100,000 a month. This is on the other hand more than the club can afford, so they started a fundraising campaign, targeting both local business and individuals. "Marta has done more to put Umeå on the map then any other individual" argued manager Arnqvist, who already has managed to get promises from a couple of local companies.

The new offer from Umeå apparently pleased Marta and her agent. Newspapers quoted them saying that they are 90 % in agreement with Umeå. But 10 % can still be a lot and manager Arnqvist denied in a short press statement that there was any agreement: "It is no news that all concerned parties wants an extension. [..] But from there it can still be a long road to an agreement."

Västerbottenskuriren: "USA skulle vara intressant", UIK startar insamling för Marta, Marta funderar på USA-budet, Marta får över en miljon i lön
Västerbottens Folkblad: Arnqvist dementerar Marta-rykte
Dagens Nyheter: Insamling ska rädda Marta kvar i Umeå, Marta stannar i Umeå
SVT: Marta INTE klar för Umeå (video)

Damallsvenskan round 20: AIK scores and wins!

Even if Djurgården. mathematically, still can win the championship and Malmö, in theory, still can reach 2nd place, the top places are pretty much set now. And the relegation struggle is also closing in. AIK's win over Bälinge might prove to be what keeps them in the league for next season and Hammarby's somewhat surprising defeat of Sunnanå secured their Damallsvenskan reappearence 2008.

AIK - Bälinge 1 - 0 (1-0)
AIK: Sofia Lundgren - Jessica Juhlin, Linda Lekander, Frida Höglund, Madelene Göras, Nazanin Vaseghpanah (68 Freja Egebrand), Camilla Ulander Nilsson (82 Anna Lundin), Kacey White, Sofia Simonsson, Ingrid Bohlin, Sanna Valkonen
Bälinge: Maja Åström - Linda Sembrant, Lina Andersson, Nina Engström, Karolina Mats, Alexandra Höglund, Emma Lindqvist (80 Emilia Appelqvist), Julia Lyckberg, Moa Eriksson (62 Mikaela Björklund), Katri Nokso-Koivisto (62 Jenny Jansson), Lisa Lantz
Goals: 1-0 Kacey White (12)
Attendance: 262

Djurgården - Kopparbergs/Göteborg 1 - 0 (1-0)
Djurgården: Bente Nordby - Jane Törnqvist, Elin Ekblom, Sara Thunebro, Dorte Dalum Jensen, Kristin Bengtsson, Emma Lundh (80 Mia Jalkerud), Anna Hall (65 Ann-Marie Norlin), Victoria Svensson, Ariane Hingst, Therese Brogårde
Göteborg: Maria Edman - Jenny Engwall (83 Lisa Ek), Maria Karlsson, Lotta Schelin, Sofie Andersson (71 Johanna Almgren), Salina Olsson. Emelie Farfa, Elin Dahl Örn, Sara Lindén, Ingvild Stensland, Marlene Sjöberg
Goals: 1-0 Victoria Svensson (45)    
Attendance: 783

Linköping FC - Kif Örebro 1 - 1 (0-0)
Linköping: Hedvig Lindahl - Maria Lindström (78 Hanna Gustavsson), Sara Larsson, Daniela Diluca, Maria Karlsson, Charlotte Rohlin, Ann Westermark, Maria Aronsson, Marie-Louise Skålberg (73 Madeleine Nordén), Kosovare Asllani, Caroline Seger
Örebro: Kristin Hammarström - Ingrid Ericson (70 Marie Stålberg), Malin Nilsson, Lena Andersson, Marie Hammarström, Pavlina Scasna, Hodan Siid-Ahmed, Caroline Näfver, Elin Magnusson, Marina Pettersson (52 Elin Rydberg), Hanna Pettersson
Goals: 0-1 Hodan Siid-Ahmed (55), 1-1 Kosovare Asllani (81)    
Attendance: 972

Qbik - LDB FC Malmö 2 - 2 (0-1)
Qbik: Maria Yatrakis - Ifeoma Dieke, Anna Nilsson (79 Rebecca Johnson), Lisa Mellberg, Jenny Hallstenson, Therése Lückner, Amelie Rybäck, Therése Björk, Elin Sandgren, Lauren McIver, Michelle O´Brien (Jennifer Meier)
Malmö: Stephanie Öhrström - Therese Jönsson, Emma Wilhelmsson, Malin Levenstad, Emelie Ölander - Frida Nordin (67 Dora Stefansdottir), Nilla Fischer,Therese Sjögran, Manon Melis - Therese Lundin (82 Nanna Johansen), Emma Stålhammar
Goals: 0-1 Manon Melis (21), 0-2 Emma Stålhammar (47), 1-2 Jennifer Meier (78), 2-2 Own goal (87)
Attendance: 712

Sunnanå SK - Hammarby 0 - 2 (0-1)
Sunnanå: Åsa Berglund - Josefin Johansson, Sandra Berggren (46 Magdalena Esseryd), Hanna Marklund, Carina Holmberg (58 Emma Jonsson), Kristina Wiklund (46 Johanna Lindahl), Maria Nordbrandt, Mirjam Marklund, Lina Johansson, Perpetua Nkwocha, Alexandra Nilsson
Hammarby: Kathrin Lehmann - Elin Sölveskog, Jennie Jonsson, Karolina Rinman (80 Andrea Comaneci), Louise Fors, Marijke Callebaut (88 Emma Wall), Malin Nykvist, Therese Sandström, Anna Lindblom, Daniella Chamoun (73 Matilda Agné), Annica Svensson
Goals: 0-1 Marijke Callebaut (30), 0-2 Therese Sandström (63)
Attendance: 847

Player speculations

In spite of Sweden's lacklustre performance in China, Damallsvenskan is still a hot destination for several international players. Marta says there was a lot of questions about Umeå in the Brazilian locker-room, and she did what she could to promote the club. Umeå's manager Roland Arnqvist says that he has noticed the Brazilian interest and that players like Cristiane, Formiga, Daniela and Aline are interesting for Umeå. But, he stresses that he don't want a brzilian colony in Umeå. "We have five foreign players today and I think that's enough ... We want a local, northern Swedish, character to the team".
Brassor på kö för UIK
Expressen: VM-stjärnorna på väg till Umeå

LDB FC Malmö's Jörgen Pettersson reveals that over 40 foreign players have announced their interest to the club after the World Cup, among them Brazil's Cristiane. "I can say as much as we didn't turn her down", Pettersson comments. The newly-rich club has set aside money in next year's budget for two top professionals with an estimated cost between SEK 30,000 and 50,000 a month per player. According to sources inside the club, the player beside Cristiane could be Brazil midfielder Daniela.
Sydsvenskan: VM-stjärnor ska ge guldglans

Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC are also discussing international players. Norway's Ingvild Stensland has spent a lot of the season on the injury list, but even with a healthy Stensland the defense needs reinforcements. The difference between Göteborg and the top three sides is that Umeå, Djurgården and Malmö has conceded around 15 goals so far this season, while Göteborg has let in over 40! On top of chairman Bronsman's wish-list: the currently out-of-favour USA national team goalkeeper Hope Solo. "We have been in touch with her for the last three years [since she left the club] and she is a very interesting option".
Göteborgsposten: Hope Solo på väg till Göteborg FC

Lotta Schelin's contract with her club Kopparbergs/Göteborg runs out after this season. She is a key player for her team - as retiring coach Martin Pringle said: "Just look at the number of goals she scores. If you take away those goals, it wouldn't be looking as good as it does". She has offers from "several clubs", but the offer from Linköping is appearently the most interesting. Lotta says that she is open for proposals and that she needs to know more about what Göteborg's plans are before she can make a decision. Linköping's management says they can afford both Lotta Schelin and Victoria Svensson, whom they also have presented a proposal.
Göteborgsposten: Linköpings FC jagar Schelin, Lotta Schelin på väg bort? (video)
Göteborgstidningen: Flera klubbar jagar Schelin
Corren: LFC vill ha Lotta Schelin

Djurgården's Bente Nordby says that she will definitely return to Norway when her current deal with Djurgården runs out after this season. She is happy with the decision she made two years ago: "It's been two great years. It's a high level and I've been kept busy every match. .. I don't think I would have kept playing if I had stayed in Norway." She hasn't decided if she will continue playing over the Olympics next year, but if she does, she will probably join a smaller club: "It would be a great challenge for me to come to a club where I will get a lot to do". Vil ikke hjem til storklubb

Umeå's Lise Klaveness, who didn't get as much time on the field in the World Cup as she would have wanted, says it's 50/50 if she will stay with the Swedish champions. "I like it a lot in Umeå and I play in the best club team in the world", but she thinks her playing in Umeå has hurt her in the Norwegian national team "The national team coaches don't get to see me play as much when I'm in Sweden".
Västerbottenskuriren: Klaveness osäker på UIK

New Zealand's Rebecca Smith is in negotiations with her club Sunnanå, "If it works out I would like to stay another season". But she will not play any more matches this season. Already before the World Cup she recieved a smaller injury, which she played with in all her three World Cup matches. In the last match it really hurt and a week after the championship she had surgery and will now work on rehabilitation for two months.
Norra Västerbotten: Rebeccas säsong över

Players signing, re-signing and resigning

Umeå IK had only managed to resign Emma Berglund, Emmelie Konradsson, Ulla-Karin Rönnlund and Madeleine Edlund before the World Cup. But after China they have resigned several important players: team captain Karolina Westberg, young defenders Johanna Frisk and Anna Paulsson and the Swiss prodigy Ramona Bachmann. And injury-ridden Hanna Ljungberg, who tells that she really had to think it over, but finally decided it would be sad to finish her career after a season like this.
Karolina Westberg förlänger med Umeå IK
Västerbottens Folkblad: Johanna Frisk förlänger med UIK , Paulson kvar i UIK, Bachmann stannar, Hanna Ljungberg fortsätter i Umeå IK
Göteborgsposten: Fortsatt spel inte självklart för Ljungberg

Sunnanå, having their best season for quite some years and still in competition for a top 4 finish, has seen other clubs eyeing their players. But U21 defender Alexandra Nilsson, recieving interest from clubs like Linköping, Malmö and Umeå, has made up her mind to stay. And so has winger Magdalena Esseryd, midfielder Kicki Wiklund, turning down Bälinge, junior attacker Johanna Lindahl and Nigerian star forward Perpetua Nkwocha. Norra Västerbotten: Alexandra och Maggie stannar, Kicki stannar i Sunnanå, Johanna förlänger med Sunnanå

Linköping's Finnish national team midfielder Anna-Kaisa Rantanen, who has had her entire season destroyed by injuries, has re-signed with the club.
Corren: Rantanen stannar kvar i LFC

Djurgården has signed three year deals with German attacker Jennifer Meier and midfielder Rebecca Johnsson, both from relegation threatened Qbik.
Dagens Nyheter: Förstärkningar till Djurgården

LDB FC Malmö's 24 year old forward Anna Mörstam has decided to leave football after serious knee injuries. Her doctors have warned her that she risks permanent disability if she continues to play.
LDB Malmö FC: Anna Mörstam slutar med fotbollen

Coaches fired and coaches hired

The 3-0 defeat at Falköping was the the straw that finally broke the camel's back for AIK, putting them closer to relegation than ever. Coach Jörgen Zetterström was fired and replaced by Christer Söderberg, head coach for AIK's cooperation club Brommapojkarna, and Peter Jidefalk, coach for AIK's 17 year old boys. This is, by the way, much less common with women's clubs than with the men's, where you usually see a couple of coaches getting fired during the season. AIK's management are of course not thinking that Söderberg and Jidefalk will come up with any revolutionary ideas, but the team needs a new voice in the locker-room and to regain self-confidence.
Dagens Nyheter:
AIK:s tränare sparkas
SVT: AIK sparkar tränaren

Bälinge hasn't had a very successfull season either, but the club seems to be ready to give their coaching duo Zaine Söderlund and Ali Amini a three year contract. "We need a long-term plan if we want to be able to compete with the big clubs" commented coach Söderlund and added that if he and Ali stays for 3 years it will provide security for the players.
Upsala Nya Tidning: Bälinge siktar på långtidskontrakt

Sunnanå, that decided not to renew Kenneth Israelsson's contract, has signed Rainer Eskelinen as new head coach. Eskelinen has been successful with local, lower level, men's teams but has never coached women.
Västerbottens Folkblad: "En härlig utmaning"
Norra Västerbotten: Rainer tar över Sunnanå

Djurgården had already before the World Cup agreed with coach Benny Persson to end their cooperation. They had talks with Marika Domanski Lyfors, who is also in negotiations with the Chinese national team, but could a few days ago present their new coach: Anders Johansson. Johansson is one of Sweden's women's football most merited coaches. He coached Älvsjö AIK 1999-2002, winning the Swedish championship 1999, continued with Malmö FF 2003-2005, winning a silver and reaching the semifinal in UEFA Women's Cup before joining Malmö FF's men as assistant coach. Johansson says he accepted Djurgården's offer since it is a well organized club with a vision and ambitions for the future.
Svenska Dagbladet: Dif ger Marika anbud
Dagens Nyheter: Djurgården får ny tränare

And last but not least: Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC has signed a new head coach. A few weeks ago Martin Pringle got the information that his three year contract will not be renewed by the club and last week chairman Peter Bronsman could reveal his successor: Torbjörn Nilsson. Torbjörn Nilsson is a living legend in Swedish football, as a player a dominating figure in the 1980's, player of the year 1982 and a professional career in Holland and Germany, with IFK Göteborg's 1982 UEFA Cup win as probably his greatest moment. He has continued with a successful career as a coach, coaching club teams at the highest level and well as Sweden's men's U21 team. He has more than once been mentioned as a candidate for the job as head coach for the men's national team. Since he left the U21 team 2004 he has recieved several propositions, but turned them down. Until now. His decision to take on a women's side has surprised, but he says that he likes the challenge. "I think I can help develop women's football with my experience and knowledge" he comments.
Göteborgsposten: Pringle lämnar Göteborgs FC
Göteborgsposten: Nilssons beslut förvånar många
SVT: Nilsson ska ge GFC fler landslagsspelare (video)
Göteborg's exiting Martin Pringle says to Göteborgsposten he has recieved some offers, but not from Damallsvenskan sides. Djurgården's Benny Persson says to TV4 that he would like to continue working at the top level in women's football and also has been contacted by some Damallsvenskan sides.

The new coaches in Göteborg and Djurgården might also influence Lotta Schelin's and Victoria Svensson's career decisions. Both have been courted by Linköping's FC and both have expressed interest in Linköping's offer. But they have now expressed their great satisfaction in their current clubs choice of new coaches.

Damallsvenskan round 19: Umeå doesn't want to celebrate yet

After defeating Kopparbergs/Göteborg, Umeå has to lose both remaining league matches while Djurgården wins theirs and manages to better their goal diference with 25 goals compared to Umeå. And three 8-0 wins seems more probable than Umeå losing to AIK. But Umeå's players and management doesn't take any chances: "We will celebrate the championship at home after the match against AIK" said team captain Karolina Westberg.

Bälinge - Linköpings FC 1 - 2 (0-2)
Bälinge: Veronika Svensson - Linda Sembrant, Lina Andersson, Nina Engström, Karolina Mats (79 Jenny Jansson), Alexandra Höglund (79 Moa Eriksson), Emma Lindqvist, Julia Lyckberg (84 Mikaela Björklund), Katri Nokso-Koivisto, Lisa Lantz, Anne Mäkinen
Linköping: Hedvig Lindahl - Maria Lindström, Sara Larsson, Maria Karlsson, Charlotte Rohlin, Frida Östberg, Ann Westermark, Frida Carlswärd, Maria Aronsson, Marie-Louise Skålberg, Kosovare Asllani
Goals: 0-1 Maria Aronsson (7 PK), 0-2 Sara Larsson (24), 1-2 Moa Eriksson (88)
Attendance: 857
Linköping opened strong and dominated the first half, partly invited by Bälinge's weak attack and bad passes to do so, scoring two goals in the first 25 minutes. Linköping had to play without Nigerians Ikidi and Mmadu, whose contracts finished before the World Cup, but at least against Bälinge that didn't seem to be a problem. Bälinge didn't give up in spite of the bad start and in the last 10 minutes of the match they incessantly challenged Linköping's goal, but only managed a consolation goal by young substitute Moa Eriksson.
Linköping's midfielder Anna-Kaisa Rantanen was due for her come-back following a long injury spell, when she stepped wrong on the warm-up and sprained her foot. She is still waiting for her first match this season. On the Bälinge side Annette Kent was missing. Since the club already has secured their Damallsvenskan contract for 2008 and don't have much option to advance, she had been offered and accepted the opportunity to end her contract and return to the USA.
Upsala Nya Tidning:
Uddamålsförlust för Bälinge
Corren: Rantanen skadad när LFC vann

Falköpings KIK - AIK 3 - 0 (0-0)
Falköping: Malin Andersson - Elin Osbeck, Emma Eriksson, Sandra Krantz (84 Camilla Sanderheim), Josefine Alfsson, Sofia Fröjdstedt, Cynthia Uwak (73 Nettan Hofling), Jill Oakes, Erin Ramsay, Kimberly Brandao, Linnea Liljegärd (80 Madeleine Tegström)
AIK: Sofia Lundgren - Madelene Göras, Frida Höglund, Camilla Ulander Nilsson, Linda Lekander - Nazanin Vaseghpanah, Jessica Juhlin, Kacey White, Ingrid Bohlin (68 Anna Bohlin) - Sofia Simonsson (80 Anna Lundin), Laura Kalmari (71 Freja Egebrand)
Goals: 1-0 Cynthia Uwak (54), 2-0 Sandra Krantz (63), 3-0 Emma Eriksson (90)
Attendance: 1,006

Hammarby IF - Qbik 2 - 1 (0-1)
Hammarby: Kathrin Lehmann - Annica Svensson, Elin Sölveskog, Malin Nykvist, Anna Lindblom - Jennie Jonsson, Karolina Rinman - Marijke Callebaut, Louise Fors, Sara Johansson - Jessica Landström
Qbik: Maria Yatrakis - Ifeoma Dieke, Anna Nilsson, Lisa Mellberg, Jenny Hallstenson, Rebecca Johnson, Therése Lückner, Amelie Rybäck, Charlotte Nygren, Therése Björk
Goals: 0-1 Anna Nilsson (20), 1-1 Jessica Landström (56), 2-1 Therese Sandström (86)
Attendance: 311

Kif Örebro - Sunnanå SK 0 - 2 (0-1)
Örebro: Kristin Hammarström - Ingrid Ericson (68 Jessica Ström), Stina Segerström, Malin Nilsson, Lena Andersson, Marie Hammarström, Marie Stålberg (83 Silvia Erkisi), Pavlina Scasna, Elin Magnusson, Marina Pettersson, Hanna Pettersson
Sunnanå: Åsa Berglund - Sandra Berggren, Hanna Marklund, Mirjam Marklund, Alexandra Nilsson - Kristina Viklund, Anna Bodén (83 Carina Holmberg), Josefin Johansson, Maria Nordbrandt (79 Johanna Lindahl) - Perpetua Nkwocha, Lina Johansson.
Goals: 0-1 Lina Johansson (45), 0-2 Kristina Wiklund (58)
Attendance: 1,194

Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC - Umeå IK 0 - 3 (0-2)
Göteborg: Sandra Bjurteg - Jenny Engwall, Maria Karlsson, Elin Dahl Örn, Marlene Sjöberg - Emelie Farfa, Ingvild Stensland, Salina Olsson (68 Johanna Almgren), Sofie Andersson - Lotta Schelin, Sara Lindén,
Umeå: Carola Söberg - Anna Paulsson, Karolina Westberg, Elaine (59 Emma Berglund), Maria Bergkvist - Lise Klaveness, Lisa Dahlqvist, Marta - Madelaine Edlund, Ramona Bachmann, Erika Karlsson (68 June Pedersen)
Goals: 0-1 Marta (28), 0-2 Madelaine Edlund (40), 0-3 Ramona Bachmann (69)
Attendance: 3,581

SVT: Umeå mästare utan att våga fira, video

LDB FC Malmö - Djurgården 0 - 2 (0-0)
Malmö: Stephanie Öhrström - Emelie Ölander, Emma Wilhelmsson, Malin Levenstad, Lina Nilsson - Frida Nordin (71 Nanna Johansen), Therese Sjögran, Nilla Fischer, Dora Stefansdottir (68 Therese Lundin) - Emma Stålhammar, Manon Melis,
Djurgården: Bente Nordby - Malin Engdahl, Jane Törnqvist, Elin Ekblom, Dorte Dalum Jensen, Kristin Bengtsson (89 Mia Jalkerud), Emma Lundh, Anna Hall, Victoria Svensson, Ann-Marie Norlin, Therese Brogårde
Goals: 0-1 Therese Brogårde (48), 0-2 Victoria Svensson (80)
Attendance: 1,214

Damallsvenskan round 20: Umeå closing in on championship title

Umeå and Falköping started with their round 20 match before the rest had played even round 19. This since Umeå will playing UEFA Women's Cup the round 20 weekend.

Umeå IK - Falköpings KIK 4 - 1 (1-1)
Umeå: Carola Söberg - Anna Paulsson, Karolina Westberg, Emma Berglund, Lisa Dahlqvist, Madelaine Edlund, Erika Karlsson, Lise Klaveness, Ramona Bachmann (74 June Pedersen), Marta, Maria Bergkvist
Falköping: Malin Andersson - Elin Osbeck (81 Nettan Hofling), Emma Eriksson, Sandra Krantz, Josefin Alfsson, Sofia Fröjdstedt (81 Camilla Sanderheim), Cynthia Uwak (81 Madeleine Tegström), Jill Oakes, Erin Ramsay, Kimberly Brandao, Linnea Liljegärd
Goals: 0-1 Linnea Liljegärd (9), 1-1 Madelaine Edlund (12), 2-1 Marta (60), 3-1 Marta (77), 4-1 Madelaine Edlund (80)
Attendance: 1,408
Falköping has lifted themselves quite a bit since their rather dismal perfomance during the summer, with only two draws and 7-53 goaldifference over the last 15 matches. When U19 junior Linnea Liljegärd scored for Falköping already after 9 minutes, it was of course equalised by Madeleine edlund only minutes after, but a hard working Falköping kept the score even for 60 minutes, which in Falköping counts for "a great performance". But then the Marta factor kicked in. A direct free-kick and yet aother of those trade-mark Marta solo raids secured the match for Umeå. Coach Jeglertz found his team a little bit tired, owning ball but not creating enough forward.
Västerbottens Folkblad:
VM-spelare fixade seger

Training matches

Some clubs were playing warm-up games in the week before the league restart. Malmö played their Danish neighbours Brøndby. Both sides rested their World Cup players and put a lot of youth on the field. Malmö won 3-2, goals by Emma Stålhammar, Frida Nordin and Louise Östman. Sunnanå played northern 2nd division side Alvik and won an impressing 8-0 victory with goals from 7 different players. In Stockholm Djurgården, without Ariane Hingst and Bente Nordby, played Hammarby and settled their position as the capitals undisputed number 1, winning 3-1 after goals by Anna Lagerberth, Jane Törnqvist and Sara Thunebro. Sara Johansson scored for Hammarby. And Kopparbergs/Göteborg only managed a draw against Falköping, 4-4. Falköping's Sandra Krantz made a hat-trick while Emmelie Farfa, Maria Karlsson (2) and Sara Lindén scored for a Göteborg side, that played wiothout their World Cup players Lotta Schelin and Ingvild Stensland and also rested Marlene Sjöberg, Salina Olsson and Jenny Engwall.
Göteborg FC:
Oavgjort i Falköping
Norra Västerbotten: Sunnanå överlägset i genrepet
Djurgården: Vinst mot Hammarby inför återstarten
FC Malmö: Juniorbetonat lag tog viktig skalp i Danmark

World Cup round-up

Sweden's early exit from the World Cup had the benefit that I could relax and just watch the games and read the stories. With the matches being aired during working hours (kick-off 11.00 and 14.00 in Sweden) I spent most evenings watching recordings and reruns and decided I really didn't need to do any reporting here. But I should of course have said something about Sweden's final match, so here it comes:

Sweden wins and fails

North Korea - Sweden 1 - 2 (1-1)
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl (Linköping) - Anna Paulson (Umeå) [69 Sara Johansson (Hammarby)], Hanna Marklund (Sunnanå), Karolina Westberg (Umeå), Frida Östberg (Linköping) - Therese Sjögran (Malmö), Nilla Fischer (Malmö), Caroline Seger (Linköping) - Victoria Svensson (Djurgården) - Lotta Schelin (Göteborg), Hanna Ljungberg [40 Sara Thunebro (Djurgården), 89 Therese Lundin (Malmö)]
Goals: 0-1 Lotta Schelin (4), 1-1 Ri Un Suk (22), 1-2 Lotta Schelin (54)
Attendance: 33,196
It finished like Sweden's championship runs usually does - dejected players sitting and lying around, empty looks and tears. This time it was, unusually, after a victory. But 2-1 against the Korean team wasn't enough when a three goal win was needed to advance. On the bright side, the team pulled themselves together and made a decent performance. Lotta Schelin finally showed why she is a star in the Swedish league. Her second goal featured her trademark run through the defense, the way she has scored most of her 22 domestic goals this season. Therese Sjögran also finished with a great performance, making her one of the few Swedish players that has lived up to expectations. And Karolina Westberg finally got to start, even if this was the one game where I would have picked Stina Segerström. Sweden really needed to score and Stina has shown that she can to lethal on set pieces while Karro with 119 caps still has to get her first national team goal. Hanna Ljungberg's unlucky run-in with one of her teammates towards the end of the first half put her on the injury list once again (presumably for at least a couple of weeks) and might have affected Sweden's performance, but not that much.

Post-WWC talk: A failure but not a disaster

Players, coaches, journalists, fans, all seemed to agree that this was a failure. The result was a failure - even the modest among us talked about advancing from the group as a reasonable goal - and the performance on the pitch was also a failure. The team performed good against North Korea and in the first 30 minutes against USA, but apart from that not so much. So why is that? Competition is tougher, even from also-rans as Nigeria. Last WWC they got a 0-11 scoreline over 3 matches, this year it was 1-4 against the same three opponents. But it wasn't "those !#¤%! 15 minutes against Nigeria", as a redeyed Lotta Schelin put it, that decided Sweden's fate. The post-championship discussion focused on other things.

Injuries to key players before and during the tourmanent was of course brought forward, but also the view that this is what we will have to get used to. We had a head start in this sport, but now we have been caught up and big football nations like Brazil and England will only get better and will be followed by others. But most of the post-championship discussion was about things that could have been done different.

Coach Thomas Dennerby recieved a lot of critisism. The Olympic Committee repeated their old view that the team is not physically fit enough, which Dennerby responded to as untrue - Sweden did not lose points because the players were more tired than the other team - and an easy thing to comment on if you don't understand the finer points of the game. More common critisism was over Dennerby's preparations (sightseeing and shopping instead of serious match preparations), his sometimes dubious substitutions, his clinging on to the 4-3-3 tactics far to long, when the players that initially prompted this new set-up already had been lost to injuries, the lack of a really visible game-plan and, though this was mostly a tabloid view, being far too happy, content and optimistic during the tournament. There were demands that he should be released from his position as head coach. But the more knowledgable and sane critics had a different view. One of TV4's experts explained immideately efter the Korea match that Dennerby will not get fired: "That's not the way we do it in Sweden" and pointing to the the men's national team, where coaches has been allowed an initial failure and progressed to really successfull performances after that. And, as TV4's Malin Svedberg pointed out, it is his duty to keep up a good mood and show confidence in his team as long as there still are matches to play. Anything else would be letting the team down.
Two prominent club coaches has also commented. Sweden had, as they habitually do championship years, the annual Damallsvenskan coaches conference at the WWC location. Not everyone went to China, some of those because their coaching contracts will not be renewed, but Umeå's Andrée Jeglertz and Malmö's Jörgen Pettersson were two of them and both wrote articles on Sweden's performance afterwards. Jeglertz emphatically denied that the players were lacking in fitness or otherwise being unprepared for the championship. Instead he focused on the team's tactics. "If a team has a working game-plan it should be visible from the stands. I couldn't see any". He also saw this as a problem in all current Swedish women's national teams, from the seniors over the U21/23's and down to the teenage teams. His article, published at Umeå's website, got a lot of press, but Dennerby, pointed out by Jeglertz without his name being mentioned, refused to reply. "It doesn't deserve a comment" was his only comment. Malmö's Jörgen Pettersson, partly in reply to Jeglertz, didn't want to take part in any blame-game: "It seems like everybody tries to put the blame away from themselves" and stated that there were several points were improvement could be made, even suggesting giving in to the Olympic Committee's demands for more fitness tests and training.

Some concern has also been voiced for the future of the women's league in the wake of the World Cup failure, but few are really worried. The league has established itself on a high level, both in quality and in attention from fans, sponsors and media, and is a very attractive arena for world class players. Apart from the 21 players in the Swedish team, there were an additional 12 present Damallsvenskan players in the World Cup teams and another 9 Damallsvenskan alumni.