Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

As expected, it's au revoir! Pia till Sverige: U.S. Women's National Soccer Team coach Pia Sundhage leaving U.S. after five years to return home and coach Sweden, which will host next year's UEFA Women's EURO in July

It's the lead story in the sports section of Aftonbladet

In perhaps the worst-kept sports secret of 2012, after months -and some even say years!- of deliberate and sometimes desperate efforts by everyone involved in Swedish football from head federation authorities at SvFF to average fans to persuade U.S. Women's National Team head coach Pia Sundhage to return to Sweden to head Sveriges damlandslag i fotboll, she has finally said yes.

The Swedish sports media have been pushing for this personnel move for what seems like forever, and during the recent Olympics in London, where Sundhage guided the U.S. squad to their second Gold Medal in her five years, newspapers, blogs and websites throughout the country were constantly writing and positing on what a positive difference Sundhage could make to what is already an extremely talented Swedish squad.

Here is one of the "do everything humanly possible" to get Pia columns I came across over the past few months, with slight variations depending upon who was saying it or writing it:
Simon Bank: Gör allt som är mänskligt möjligt för att anställa Pia till EM

Unfortunately for coach Thomas Dennerby, Sweden was missing some of its best players from last year's strong third-place Women's World Cup squad in Germany

That included HBB favorite Josefine Öqvistwho was pregnant, and actually gave birth two weeks before the Olympics began, as I mentioned in my July 25th post last month, to her daughter, Stella.

It's an understatement to say that Josefine was desperately missed on the offensive side of the field at the Olympics!

Josefine is such a spark plug for the team and has such a sixth sense for the ball that it seems positively uncanny at times.
She leverages her body position in relation to the ball about as well as any female player around, and her knack for putting herself in the right position for a steal or to cleanly receive a ricochet pass that leads to a breakaway, well, sometimes it makes her almost seem like a cartoon character that's moving twice as fast as anyone else on the field.

Not that many of you readers out there in the blogosphere or even here in South Florida will get my reference as clearly as I'd like, but in all sorts of ways, when Josefine's on the field, her savvy, mannerisms and moxie greatly remind me of Miami Norland High School's Cindy Clippinger back in the late 1970's, whom I saw play several times in big games.

For a whole host of reasons not worth getting into here, besides my having very strong feelings for a certain very talented, lanky and attractive German-speaking goalie named Karen at HML
(Hialeah Miami Lakes), who was one of the stars of her team back then when they were winning the Girl's soccer title in the GMAC -the Greater Miami Athletic Conference, the athletic league for Dade County public high schools- I saw quite a lot of Clippinger and never went away unimpressed

Though she attended Norland, one of North Miami Beach's arch-rivals in soccer, Boys and Girls, along with North Miami, the two high schools closest to NMB, she was THE best female soccer player in South Florida that I ever saw -by a mileAnd I saw a lot of them. 
(One of my two sisters played at NMB, too, after I left for college at IU.)
Cindy Clippinger was just plain fun to watch!

And if you like irony, and me comparing a wonderful Swedish player now to a wonderful player from more than thirty years ago, you'll like this -Norland High School's sports nickname was -wait for it -the Vikings!

All screenshots of Swedish star midfielder Josefine Öqvist by South Beach Hoosier, July 6, 2011. © 2012 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

These screenshot I took of Swedish star striker Josefine Öqvist and Team Sweden on July 6, 2011, came during a game at the Women's World Cup in Germany against the U.S.A., which Sweden won 2-1. http://youtu.be/gCsRos4Zp2A

After eight years as head coach, Dennerby resigned a week ago, effective mid-September, having helped Sweden move up -and remain at- the top ranks of Women's football. He deserves a lot of thanks and credit for making them such a respected team.! 

Last I heard, Josefine says that she WILL be playing again, I just don't know when.
I think we should hold off for a few months and see how she feels after New Year's Day, since there's no point in her setting silly and meaningless deadlines just to keep fans happy, since she could well change her mind.

The Swedish Women's Under-19 squad won the Euro championship for the first time this year,
and is loaded with talent that'll seek to make the big move up to the big National Team in the coming months, since as I've stated a few times here on the blog this year already, next July, Sweden will be hosting the 2013 UEFA Womens Euro, and it's sure to be a very well-attended and exciting three weeks of football.

Sweden will be host the 2013 UEFA Womens Euro from July 10-28th, with the title match in Solna, just north of Stockholm. http://fogis.se/damem2013/

Here's a short video about the team, the town and the supporters who Josefine plays for, Tyresö FF.

Tyreso TV video: Tyresö FF mer än bara fotboll! (More than just football!!!)
Uploaded Feb. 10, 2011. http://youtu.be/4CpJGnX_-bA

Tomorrow, Sunday, second-place Tyresö FF plays at home against league-leading  Linköping FC for the lead of the 12-team Damallsvenskan, the highest league of Women's football in Sweden, a league that Sundhage was the leading scorer in during the mid-1980's.

FIFA TV video: Sundhage: 'The moment of my football life'. Uploaded August 13, 2012.
http://youtu.be/v4ZmpM2Fu8o -----

Los Angeles Times
Pia Sundhage steps down as U.S. women's soccer coach
By Kevin Baxter
September 1, 2012, 11:15 a.m.
Three weeks after guiding the U.S. women's soccer team to an Olympic title, Pia Sundhage is stepping down as coach to return to her native Sweden.
"It was an honor to be able to coach these players for five years and I learned a tremendous amount from all of them," Sundhage said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer on Saturday.
Read the rest of the story at:

Svenska Fotbollförbundet -SvFF (Swedish Football Association) homepage: http://svenskfotboll.se/landslag/herrar/

SvFF's WebbTV/videos homepage: http://svenskfotboll.se/webb-tv/

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