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Before her Boston Breakers debut, the Australian striker Kyah Simon made a promise to her mother for Mother’s Day. “I promised her one for Mother’s Day,” Simon said. “It was her request. She said, “Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.’”

On this day, Breakers fans are grateful for two things: the time difference of the states and Australia (which put game day on Mother’s Day over there) and the bond between mother and child (in particular that of Simon and her mom.)

Simon delivered on her promise with a stellar performance. She created multiple opportunities to score, and even netted one in the 56th minute.  This goal was the game winner for the Breakers as they defeated DC United Women by a score of 1 – 0.

This gave the Breakers two wins in as many games. Although this was exhibition play so it won’t count towards WPSL league play and stats, Breakers fans will be wishing it could be Mother’s Day every game day.

This one is for Kyah, her mom, and mom’s across all time zones – Happy Mother’s Day!

If you happened to be in terminal B at Logan International Airport Thursday night, you may have notice an unusual feeling in the air like something big was about to happen. And it did– with the arrival of Kyah Simon and Tameka Butt, the two Breakers Australian internationals.

The two young, rising Matilda stars are personable, lively, and just plain nice. After 24 hours filled with travel and claiming their luggage, they took a moment for pictures and to answer some questions from Pitch Side View.

How was your trip?

Almost in unison, they both say “Long” with a good laugh. Tameka: “It is good to finally arrive in Boston after a long flight.”

What is it like to finally arrive in Boston?

Tameka: “It is a bit cold, but really exciting. Can’t wait to meet the girls [the Breakers] and get out on the pitch.”

What are you looking forward to the most?

Kyah: “Getting out on the training pitch with the girls, finally getting a feel for American style of football. Being coached by two female coaches it’s something that I’ve never experienced, and I don’t think Tameka has either.”

Who are you most looking forward to playing with?

Kyah: “It’s a matter of finally getting to training and seeing which players you work off. Hopefully the whole team gels as a whole, and you play really well together. You won’t know until you finally get on the field and give it a go.”

What are your goals for the team and yourself?

Tameka: “I hope we win the play offs. For myself, to be able to fit into a team. It’s a different football culture over here to Australia.”

Kyah: “To get to the playoffs as well. Obviously, we’re both competitive, and we want to win.  Meeting new friends as well as teammates. Hopefully that good relationship off the pitch can really pay off on the pitch.”

What will you miss most about home?

Both Tameka and Kyah will miss their “family and friends” and Tameka quickly adds “the beach” to the list.

What are you looking forward to doing in Boston and the States?

Tameka: “We were just talking about that and we’ve got to go to the baseball, basketball, hockey. We want to see that all the different sports we don’t have at home.”

Kyah: “Hopefully getting our way to New York at some stage and seeing a few of the other big cities.”

Tameka: “We’re both 21 this year, so we are looking forward to a trip to Las Vegas.”

A special thanks to Kyah and Tameka for sitting down to do this interview after their flight and long day. Click here for pictures of the session (photos copyright Courtney Sacco).

Biographies:

Kyah Simon – Kyah is the superstar of the future for the Australian National Team. She debuted in the national team program with the under 15 team. She scored the winning PK that gave the Matildas the 2010 AFC Women’s Asia cup. In the 2011 World Cup she lead the team in scoring with 2 goals in the tournament.

Tameka Butt – Tameka captained the under 17 Australian women’s national team from 2007 to 2009. She scored the equalizer in the league finals game for her former club the Brisbane Roar of the Australian W-League before they succumb to a goal against by the eventual champions Canberra United.

On my last day at the 65th NSCAA Convention, I’m saying farewell but I’m leaving inspired. The last day turned out to be the busiest, and to have a little international flavor to it. It started with an awards breakfast for women’s soccer, next was a session on social media for college coaches, followed by a lecture on player development in Mexico. This was all before lunch time. The second half of the day  kicked off with the NSCAA All-America Luncheon, then a lecture on Japanese youth development, and ended with a session on Australian women’s soccer. Here is my recap of my last (and busiest) day at the NSCAA Convention.

I woke up bright and early to take in the women’s soccer breakfast in honor Sue Ryan, winner of the 2011 NSCAA Women’s Committee Award of Excellence. There was a healthy dose of laughs from every speaker that kept the mood light and entertaining. The comedic line-up featured Amanda Vandorvort (Co-Chair, NSCAA Women’s Committee), Paul Payne (NSCAA President), Alejandra Miller (Adidas Representative), Joe Cummings (NSCAA CEO & Executive Director), Tom Sermanni (Australian Women’s National Coach), John Daly (College of William & Mary Women’s Coach), and the woman of the hour– Sue Ryan (Stony Brook University Women’s Coach). Let’s just say Sue may have a second career in stand-up comedy. Although the laughs seemed to be non-stop, Sue’s acceptance speech truly hit home for me.

After the light hearted breakfast, I was pulled back into reality by a session on social media for college coaches. This lecture was presented by Janet Judge (Sports Law Associates LLC) where she brought light to the seriousness of how social media could be used to the detriment of a university and the athletic program. Coaches in attendance got the do’s and don’ts on the use of social media and also the ins and outs of social media for their student athletes.

Next was the lecture on player development in Mexico. The lecture was presented by Jose Enrique Vaca Pacheco (General Coordinator) and Juan Carlos Ortega Orozco (Technical and Tactical Coordinator). This was very interesting- the national program’s mission is more than just sports related. It aims to help improve the lives of their players and social concerns of the country. This seems like a daunting task but the governing soccer body is making great leaps to achieve these goals. It was uplifting to see what impact the game can have on a life and a country.

After leaving this great session, I made my way to the NSCAA 2012 All-America Luncheon which was packed. The mood of this reception was fun as Joe Cummings continued his comedic routine from the morning and was followed by Sunil Gulati (US Soccer President). The main event was Taylor Twellmen whose story is nothing short of inspirational. If you are not aware of Taylor’s story, please take a look here –  ThinkTaylor.

That may already seem like a full, exhausting day, but I was energized and excited for the next session. Tom Boyer (Director of Tom Boyer Academy) presented on the development of the Japanese youth system. If you watched the Japanese Women’s National Team win the 2011 Women’s World Cup, you saw the outcome of the system that set the team up for success.  Soccer has clearly become a way of life in Japan. The development consists of using pop-culture to reach young athletes through TV segments, cartoons, and comics to teach them technical skills. The technical skills are reenforced through camps and soccer-specific schools.

The last event of my 2012 NSCAA convention was a session on the changing philosophy and perception of the Australian Women’s National Team. Tom Sermanni, the coach of the Women’s National Team, gave a first-hand account on why a change was needed and how he made it happen. Known for being a strong physical team and playing “not to lose,” Sermanni focused on becoming a positive possession team and going after the win. After watching his team play in the Word Cup last year, the connection and progression is clear.

I plan to close my convention with a big THANK YOU to everyone at the NSCAA– not only for their hard work putting on this event, but more importantly for what they do every day of every year to drive forward a game I love. Looking forward to seeing everyone next year!

A sport’s off-season wouldn’t be complete without discussions about free agency and signings. And there may be plenty of talk– 84% of the leagues players from last season are free agents (110 out of 131 rostered players, including all magicJack players).

As a fan, this is one of the best and disconcerting times as we see some of our favorite players on the team stay and others leave. We also see new additions added to the team, wonder how they will fit in, and what their impact will be on next year. It is a time when the fan may be the GM for their WPS team– hypothetically, speaking of course! We may build our dream team, letting our creative minds loose.

The chat will look for you to jump into your fantasy GM shoes and build your team.

List of free agents by team roster (click link to view team roster):

Atlanta Beat

Boston Breakers

Philadelphia Independence

Sky Blue FC

Western New York Flash

Q1: You’re the GM (choose your favorite team)

  • What players from last season would you look to re-sign? Why?
  • What free agents from other teams would you look to sign? Why?
  • What are your goals for the team this season? How do your signings reflect that goal?

Q2: The International Players

  • What internationals currently not playing in WPS would you like to see sign with a team? Was there a player you were impressed with from the 2011 WWC?
  • What are some of the obstacles for internationals playing for WPS?
  • What are some of the benefits of having an international player on your team?

Q3: Free Agents

  • Who are the top free agents available?
  • Is there a free agent player that the league needs to keep? Why?

Join us on Monday at 8pm ET to throw your thoughts into the mix. Just log on to TwitterTweetchat, or Tweetgrid, and use the #WPSchat tag.

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