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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Changing Elite Girls Soccer in the United States

For Immediate Release
MILWAUKEE, WI (Tuesday, April 28, 2009) The Elite Clubs National League (“ECNL”) announced the inaugural member clubs for the 2009-2010 season. The ECNL will kick-off its inaugural season at the Eclipse Select Challenge Cup August 14-16, 2009 in Chicago, IL, and will continue with year-long competition in conjunction with multiple national showcase events that culminates in the ECNL National Championship in Seattle, WA in July 2010. In addition, the ECNL will provide a subsidized player identification program for players to be scouted for youth national teams in conjunction with the US Club Soccer ID2 Program.

In 2009-2010, the ECNL season will feature 40 of the top youth girls clubs in the United States in the U15-U17 age groups competing in a 12-game season. Teams in the ECNL will compete for individual age group ECNL National Championships and an overall ECNL Club National Championship.

In each age group, teams will be placed in two flights of 20 teams each, (Challenge A and Challenge B), based on team strength. The ECNL will host stand-alone events and partner with existing national showcase events for completion of a 10-game regular season. Upon completion of a 10-game regular season, multiple four team playoff groups in each flight will be established based on the regular season standings. The top four teams in each age group in the Challenge A division will compete for the ECNL National Championship and the winner will be crowned the age group ECNL National Champion. The bottom four teams in the Challenge A division will compete in a relegation playoff where the winning team will remain in the Challenge A division for the next season and the remaining three teams will be relegated to the Challenge B division. The top four teams in the Challenge B division will compete for the promotion playoff where the top three teams will be promoted to the Challenge A division for the next season.

“The ECNL is a great step for elite girls youth players in this country,” said ECNL President Christian Lavers (FC Milwaukee). “The ECNL is founded on the concept that elite female player development in the United States needs a structure that will reduce the total number of games on the schedule and increase the number of meaningful, quality games. The ECNL sets forth a vision that gives us a clear path to that goal –a national competition schedule and a national identification program linked to that competition.”

“A great deal of work has gone into making the ECNL a reality. That, coupled with the commitment of the clubs involved, provides very exciting prospects for us all moving forward. This league is going to be something very special,” said ECNL Vice President, Doug Bracken (Ohio Elite Soccer Academy).

2009-2010 ECNL clubs include some of the most accomplished girls youth clubs in the United States: Albertson Fury, New York; Arsenal FC, California; Atlanta Fire, Georgia; Bethesda SC, Maryland; Birmingham United, Alabama; CASL, North Carolina; CESA Premier, South Carolina; Challenge SC, Texas; Charlotte Soccer Academy, North Carolina; Colorado Rush, Colorado; Concorde Fire, Georgia; Connecticut FC, Connecticut; Crossfire Premier, Washington; Dallas Sting, Texas; D’Feeters, Texas; Eclipse Select, Illinois; FC Dallas, Texas; FC DELCO, Pennsylvania; FC Milwaukee, Wisconsin; FC Stars of Mass, Massachusetts; FC Virginia, Virginia; Freestate Soccer Alliance, Maryland; FSA SoccerPlus, Connecticut; Irvine Strikers, California; Lonestar SC, Texas; Minnesota Thunder, Minnesota; Mustang SC, California; Neusport FC, Nevada; Ohio Elite Soccer Academy, Ohio; Ohio Premier, Ohio; PDA, New Jersey; Pleasanton Rage, California; Real Colorado, Colorado; San Juan SC, California; SC Del Sol, Arizona; Sereno SC, Arizona; Solar, Texas; St. Louis Scott Gallagher, Missouri; Virginia Rush, Virginia; West Coast FC, California.

TCU Women's Soccer: Among Nation's Elite

TCU Women's Soccer is becoming one of America’s most up and coming college soccer programs, the Horned Frogs do not measure success by wins and losses alone, but in the style and quality of the performance of everyone involved. The players in the program are renowned for their extremely high speed of play and attacking mentality.

TCU finished with a 14-4-2 record and season-high national ranking of No. 28 and RPI of No. 24.
TCU is a known commodity, at least after the best season in history, this program is totally capable of winning a conference championship but a national championship is not far from their minds.

The TCU soccer program is just 19 years old this season, and after beginning play in the Mountain West Conference there has been a rebirth of a program – a target for others to chase, in 2008 they where top among the conference in many different statistical categories.

The players come from all over the country, and they too, themselves are proving to be some of the best players in the country.

The TCU soccer program is definitely hunting something down – the last couple of years have seen the Horned Frogs accomplish many firsts…the numbers the Frogs have put up in the last year are eye catching – they were 14-4-2 this year, they won their first post-season game and with that kind of a record come record crowds averaging over 1200 per game… to be the best in the MWC means you are among the nation’s best.. here is a video recap of the 2008 Frogs by JATO Media.

JATO Media Production

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Red Stars Host Sky Blue FC: Teams looking for Firsts

JATO Media - Jay Fitzgerald
BRIDGEVIEW, IL - The Red Stars set the tone early and as the match took shape it was a very entertaining back and forth 0-0 draw. As the rain continued to fall, the match saw multiple opportunities squandered by quality defensive play and goalkeeping. The two teams, both looking for firsts - Chicago their 1st home win and New York/New Jersey their 1st franchise victory. It seemed like Ian Sawyer's Sky Blue side was afraid to make a mistake. They were stagnate and predictable in the first half before they came alive in the 2nd half as US National Team star, and former UNC National Champion Heather O'Reilly showed how dangerous she can be. O'Reilly was flanked by Australian Internationals Collette McCallum and Sarah Walsh. McCallum had 3 quality chances to put their team on the board, the best in the 61st minute where she missed over the crossbar from about 8 yards out. Walsh, back from a broken leg, still not 100% but you would never know it as she took control of the ball in several spots and was very dynamic in the final third of the field. Sky Blue's, Kacey White was able to put the ball inside the box on numerous occasions but to no avail.

Yes, the match was scoreless but not for a lack of action between the 2 teams. The Red Stars outplayed Sky Blue in the opening 45 as Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Lindsay Tarpley, Cristiane, and Karen Carney all showed their attacking personalities but none more than Lakewood, CO native, Marian Dalmy and she did it coming out of the back. Dalmy got into the attacking third at will, creating service and dribble penetration. "Dalmy had an outstanding game", commented Lloyd, "She really opened the game up for us." Rapinoe came close to scoring the matches first goal as she took a misclearance under control and biked the ball over her head that Sky Blue goalkeeper Karen Bardsley had to parry over the bar for one of the 12 corners that the Red Stars created (10 in the first half). Brazilian international, Cristiane was replaced by Ella Masar in the 63rd minute adding a different energy. Masar (University of Illinois) is a workhorse but Chicago lost that dynamic aspect they had with Cristiane who got her first start of the season this evening. Cristiane is still in the process of buidling her fitness level back up coming off of an injury. Red Stars Head Coach Emma Hayes said about Cristiane, "At sixty minutes we didn’t want to push it, and she was tired to. It was a good sixty minutes to get under her belt.”

In extra time, Tarpley had a chance to score her 3rd goal of the season as she picked up a lose ball just inside the box and hit a well struck ball that Sky Blue, goalkeeper Jenni Branam cleaned up. Branam replaced Bardsley at halftime. “I was really happy with the way we attacked tonight", commented Tarpley, "I was proud of the team and the effort and I’m looking forward to continuing to build over the next few months.”

This was a new Chicago team, a different team than in the past 3 weeks.

According to Hayes, the Red Stars are a "free flowing and highly technical team." In order for a team like that to be successful they must have confidence in each other and knowing each others tendencies is a key component in the consistency of their play.

This inaugural season is young and you can still see everyone trying to learn each others tendencies - the timing and communication is yet to come. The atmosphere is exciting and the energy is endless.

Players on both teams seemed frustrated with the result because they thought they deserved something for their efforts but a very positive result for Sky Blue as they have struggled thus far without a win and then to go on the road to play against a solid Chicago group and then to add the poor conditions on top of that, they gain a point. Sawyer was pleased with the amount of chances his team had in the 2nd half but still have yet to find that finishing touch. “Coming away with the point on the road is not the perfect outcome. We played much better in the second half and created more chances", said Sawyers.

Up Next:
Sky Blue FC on Sunday, May 3rd at FC Gold Pride (Buck Shaw Stadium at Santa Clara, CA)
Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, April 25th vs Boston Breakers (Toyota Park at Bridgeview, IL)

Sky Blue FC – 1-Karen Bardsley (GK) (23-Jenni Branam 45’), 38-Julianne Sitch (D), 17-Keeley Dowling (D), 5-Anita Asante (D), 12-Meghan Schnur (D), 20-Kacey White (M), 4-Jen Buczkowski (M), 7-Kelly Parker (M) (6-Natasha Kai 62’), 14-Collette McCallum (F) (10-Yael Averbuch 85’), 9-Heather O’Reilly-Capt. (F), 8-Sarah Walsh (F)

Chicago Red Stars – 1-Caroline Jonsson (GK), 2-Marian Dalmy (D), 4-Ifeoma Dieke (D), 23-Nikki Krzysik (D), 6-Brittany Klein (D) (24-Jill Oakes 76’), 10-Carli Lloyd (M), 12-Chioma Igwe (M), 8-Megan Rapinoe (M), 5-Lindsay Tarpley-Capt. (M), 11-Cristiane (F) (3-Ella Masar 63’), 14-Karen Carney (F)

Shots: Chicago Red Stars, 18; Sky Blue FC, 7
Saves: Chicago Red Stars, 3; Sky Blue FC, 6
Corner Kicks: Chicago Red Stars, 12; Sky Blue FC, 5

Scoring: None

Referee: Jennifer Bennett
Referee's Assistants: Donald Dellavia; Kristine West4th official: Stephanie Toth

Attendance: 5,824
Weather: Rainy & 49 degrees

Cautions: Sky Blue FC – Julianne Sitch 26’, Meghan Schnur 60’; Chicago Red Stars – Ella Masar 78’

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fitzgerald Featured on

Thinking ahead is a key to advancing as a player. So says Jay Fitzgerald, director of the Western division at Sting Soccer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area... ESNN (Elite Soccer News Network )

Fitzgerald, who also heads JATO Athletics and works with the Dan Abdalla Horned Frog Soccer Academy, sees the progression of thought in the early teen years as a vital step for the development of young players. He describes his philosophy and approach to help young players advance.

Jay Fitzgerald"When it comes to thinking ahead, it all starts with being responsible for the ball. It involves knowing where you are going to go before you get it, and when the ball is coming to you, knowing your surroundings. You need to try to find the numbers that will be advantageous for your team, and the areas of the field where the most space is. You need to see all of this."Next, you need to think if getting to these places can be done on the dribble, can it be done with a pass over distance, can it be done with linking the play with another player. I tell players to think ‘If the ball was to magically appear at your feet, even if it's really on the other side, where would you go with it. What would you do with the ball?'"Fitzgerald noted that U14 Girls players are already moving into their prime recruiting season, and that coaches are especially interested in how well players understand the simple tactics of the game."They need to be dangerous and effective on the ball. It starts with being able to take care of the ball, but you also have to survey your surroundings and know how to advance the ball," he said. "A lot of teams possess the ball and keep it, but don't really go anywhere with it. I understand you don't want to be the one to give it away so you make the simple pass, but if you just play simple all the time, you never really are getting outside your comfort level. You have to try and get yourself in to positive situations.Fitzgerald added there a number of exercises involving one and two-touch soccer that help players make quick decision on what do with the ball, and ultimately to think ahead.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

US Women's National Team Announces Domestic Schedule

USA vs. Japan - May 20, 2009 - 7:30 p.m. CT
Pizza Hut Park - Frisco, Texas - Tickets

USA vs. Japan - May 23, 2009 - 4 p.m. MT
Rio Tinto Stadium - Sandy, Utah - Tickets
Live on FSC & Fox Sports en Espanol

USA vs. Canada - July 19, 2009 - 3 p.m. ET
Rochester Rhinos Stadium - Rochester, N.Y. - Tickets
Live on ESPN

USA vs. Canada - July 22, 2009 - 8 p.m. ET
Blackbaud Stadium - Charleston, S.C. - Tickets
Live on FSC & Fox Sports en Espanol


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


JATO Media Production
Just 10 years after USA's momentous victory in the 1999 World Cup in front of 90,000 fans, which helped spawn the ill-fated Women's United Soccer Association, women's professional soccer is now back.JATO Media was at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA for the Inaugural Match of Women's Professional Soccer.

A new era in women's soccer was reborn where US National Team star, Abby Wambach and the Washington Freedom came into town to kick-off the Women's Professional Soccer League (WPS) against 3-time FIFA Player of the Year, Marta, and the Los Angeles Sol.

Monday, April 13, 2009


JATO provides athletes with a valuable experience necessary for excellence, making the good players better and introducing new players to sport. Our team of dedicated coaches encourages technical excellence and helps nurture these young athletes in attributes of balance, speed, attitude, and skill. We provide a professional atmosphere for our athletes to come on daily basis and enjoy some of the best coaching available. We are committed to the future of sport in our community and set the bench-work for others to follow by nurturing our homegrown talent, leading the way in youth development.

The following JATO Staff members have made a difference in the community and have also excelled within their own programs - congratulations to the following JATO Members...

Rick Adams---Coach of the Year 3-5A
Morgan Coffey---1st Team All-District
Morgan Tornga---1st Team All-District
Michelle Ingold---1st Team All-District
Lindsey Bradley---1st Team All-District
Emily Blake---MVP Defender of Year and 1st Team All-District
Sarah Ossa---2st Team All-District
Madeline Hamm---MVP Newcomer of Year and 1st Team All-District
Mary Bourland---2nd Team All-District
Kaytee O'Brien---1st Team All-District and 1st Team All-State

Sunday, April 12, 2009

JATO Partner, Chris Stricker Wins State

Chris Stricker and JATO have brought player and coach development to the metroplex through camps, clinics, and their one of a kind Monday Night Futbol Program. Stricker, who is the Head Women's Soccer Coach for Coppell High School, brought back the State Championship trophy over the weekend. Coppell defeated the Woodlands High School 3-2 in a back and forth UIL 5A State Championship Match in Georgetown, Texas. Strickers Cowgirls finished the season #4 in the Nation by ESPN Rise with a 25-4-4 record. Congratulations to Chris Stricker and his team. Come see Stricker at the JATO/Stricker Colleyville Summer Soccer Camp on June 22-26 at the Pleasant Run Complex in Colleyville.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Messi Stars in Barca Rout

Barcelona thrashed Bayern Munich 4-0 at the Nou Camp. The Spanish league leaders rampant strikeforce did the damage in a completely one-sided first half.

Liverpool Face a Bridge Too Far

Chelsea took a giant leap towards the Champions League semi-finals by beating Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield. Fernando Torres scored first but goals from Branislav Ivanoic (2) and Didier Drogba turned the game on its head to leave Rafael Benitez's men with a mountain to climb.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Last-Gasp Mariano Goal puts Porto in Position

On a night of high drama at Old Trafford, FC Porto fought back to earn a 2-2 at Manchester United FC thanks to an 89th-minute equaliser from substitute Mariano.

Adebayor Acrobatics Give Arsenal the Edge

Emmanuel Adebayor's brilliant overhead effort cancelled out an equally spectacular strike from Marcos Senna to put Arsenal FC in a strong position in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Villarreal CF. Arsenal 1 - Villarreal 1

Monday, April 6, 2009

UEFA Champions League Facts and Figures

All you need to know about this week's first legs in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. What's the history between the two teams and who has the edge from past contests? Which sides are looking to overturn the weight of history? Who's performing well on the domestic front? Find out below.

Manchester United FC v FC Porto
• United are unbeaten in 21 matches in the UEFA Champions League and enter this contest also aiming to extend a run of 19 games without defeat at Old Trafford in the competition.

• Porto have never won in England, where ten of eleven visits have ended in defeat, although the one occasion when they did avoid defeat – a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the 2003/04 first knockout round second leg – eliminated United from the competition.

• This is United's 15th quarter-final tie in Europe's élite club competition and their record is: P14 W10 L4.

• Sir Alex's men beat AS Roma at this stage in both 2007 and 2008 and are now seeking a third consecutive semi-final appearance – a first for the English champions.

• Porto have won three of their five quarter-finals in Europe's premier club competition and have triumphed in two of the clubs' three previous two-legged contests.

Villarreal CF v Arsenal FC
• This tie is a repeat of the 2005/06 semi-final, won 1-0 by Arsenal thanks to Kolo Touré's first-leg goal in the last European match played at Highbury – although the London club needed a last-minute penalty save by Jens Lehmann from Juan Román Riquelme in the second leg to escape El Madrigal with a goalless draw.

• Villarreal's record against English clubs is: P9 W3 D5 L1. At home their record is: P5 W2 D3 L0. In those five past meetings with English opposition at El Madrigal, they conceded just one goal scored, curiously, by a Spaniard – Everton FC's Mikel Arteta.

• Arsenal have lost three European finals to Spanish opposition. They lost 5-4 on penalties to Valencia CF following a goalless draw in the 1979/80 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final and succumbed 2-1 to Real Zaragoza in the final of the same competition in 1994/95 before a 2-1 defeat by FC Barcelona in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League final in Paris.

• That defeat by Barcelona was Robert Pirès' final appearance for Arsenal after six seasons with the club, during which he won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups. Voted the English Football Writers' Player of the Year in 2002, he made 284 appearances, scoring 84 goals, before moving to Villarreal in summer 2006.

• Villarreal have kept only four clean sheets in their last 30 matches in all competitions having managed six in their opening nine games this season. In contrast, Arsenal have kept clean sheets in six of their last eight Premier League games, and have conceded only four league goals in 2009 – all away from home – fewer than any other side.

FC Barcelona v FC Bayern München
• Bayern and Barcelona are the joint-highest scorers in this season's competition with 24 goals each from eight games. In Barcelona's case they have also conceded the most goals of any of the last-eight participants – eleven – and have still to keep a clean sheet on home soil.

• The visitors are looking to improve on a recent record of three consecutive defeats at this stage of the UEFA Champions League – in 2002, 2005 and 2007.

• Bayern have won three of the four previous meetings with Barcelona but the Liga leaders boast an impressive run of form against German opposition having won ten and drawn one of their last eleven matches against sides from the Bundesliga.

• Coaches Josep Guardiola and Jürgen Klinsmann were both in action when Barcelona and Bayern met for the first time in the semi-finals of the 1995/96 UEFA Cup. The teams drew 2-2 in Munich before Bayern – with Klinsmann again present, but Guardiola absent – advanced to the final with a 2-1 success at Camp Nou.

• Thierry Henry's next goal in the UEFA Champions League will be his 50th in the competition.

Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC
• This is the fourth time in five seasons the teams have met in the knockout stages, following semi-final contests in 2005, 2006 and 2008. On each previous occasion the team playing the second leg at home progressed.

• Five-times European champions Liverpool can take heart from home-and-away wins against their opponents in the Premier League this season – not to mention an unbeaten home run in the UEFA Champions League that stretches to ten matches, including qualifiers.

• Both teams have formidable recent records when it comes to surmounting this particular hurdle: Liverpool won quarter-finals in 2005, 2007 and 2008, while Chelsea advanced in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

• Chelsea have not won any of their last six away matches in the UEFA Champions League, while Liverpool are unbeaten in five home meetings with Chelsea and won the last Anfield encounter 2-0 in February thanks to Fernando Torres goals after 89 and 90 minutes.

• Liverpool have won four of six previous two-legged contests against English sides in UEFA club competition. In addition to their UEFA Champions League successes against Arsenal FC in last season's quarter-finals and those Chelsea ties, they beat Tottenham Hotspur FC on away goals in the 1972/73 UEFA Cup semi-finals following a 2-2 aggregate draw.

Friday, April 3, 2009