Players Abroad: Why Brooks Signed with Bayern Munich; Preseason Tournaments and More
by Tiffany Weimer
Over the past few days, there has been a lot of player movement throughout the world. Some of the more interesting moves have been players who were thought to be definite in the NWSL, but are starting 2013 playing in Europe.
Christen Press (Tyresö FF), Meghan Klingenberg (Tyresö FF), Camille Levin (Göteborg) Amber Brooks (Bayern Munich), Megan Rapinoe (Lyon), Yael Averbuch (Göteborg), Whitney Engen (Liverpool) and others to be announced soon.
Ashlyn Harris, among others in Germany, is likely just finishing out her contract in June.
With all the players abroad, even though there’s a new league in the US, it made me rather curious. So, I started asking players what aided in their decision to go.
Some players made the decision to play overseas before the new league was announced, but are happy with their decision and simply desire something different from the US.
I can relate to that idea. It’s a different environment overseas, which requires a different learning curve. The focus on tactics in Europe far exceeds anything I’ve ever experienced in the US. It also adds new dimensions to your game and makes you more of a well-rounded player, having to adjust to different styles, formations and playing with players that don’t speak your language.
Others looked at it as simply the right choice for them.
“It wasn’t so much choosing the Bundesliga over NWSL as it was choosing the right team in a competitive league that I could play in right away,” said Amber Brooks, Bayern Munich’s* newest American. “Once WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer) folded last year I had set my sights on playing overseas and I always wanted to experience European “football”. Specifically, Bayern Munich has an excellent tradition and the club is supportive of the women’s team as well.”
*Niki Cross has dual citizenship, so they can have four Americans
For some of the older players, if the opportunity is there next year to play NWSL, they might take it… if not??
“I really loved my club and playing situation in Sweden and as much as it would be ideal to play in the U.S., I couldn’t bring myself to forego a great situation for something I knew so little about at the time,” said Yael Averbuch, who recently re-signed with her club Göteborg in Sweden. “My club is in Champions League still and I feel that it’s a great environment for me to develop and be at the top of my game. I definitely hope to play in the NWSL eventually, though.”
I understand players wanting to play abroad and players wanting to play in NWSL. There are good components to both. The NWSL has a lot of unknowns, and that might hold some players back, understandably. Overall, it’s good for everyone to have options. There are a lot of players that have come out of college during times where there were no leagues and going overseas wasn’t as popular. Now, there are opportunities for every player. Like I said in my last post, there were 39 players in Sweden alone last year. This is a good thing.
With some players returning abroad before their season starts, there will be some preseason matches and tournaments to keep an eye on. Below are what some of the North Americans will be up to in the next two months. And I’ll try to get as many updates as possible from each tournament.
Dates: Friday-Sunday January 11-13
Location: Jöllenbeck, Germany
Teams: Fortuna Hjørring (Denmark) Skovbakken IK (Denmark), Sparta Praha (Czech Republic), SC Bad Neuenahr (Germany, Champion of 2012 Tournament), FSV Gütersloh (Germany, Host), Turbine Potsdam
(Germany), VfL Wolfsburg (Germany), FC Zürich (Switzerland)
German Indoor Masters
Date: Saturday January 19
Teams: All Bundesliga teams take part – 3 groups of 4 teams
Meet the Champions
Dates: Saturday and Sunday February 2 and 3
Location: Turbine Potsdam
Teams: Turbine Potsdam (Host), Neulengbach (Austria Champion), St. Truiden (Belgium), Sparta Praha, Brondby IF (Danish Champion), Glasgow City FC (Scottish Champion), Djugarden IF (Sweden), KS AZS Wroclaw (Poland)
Tiffany Weimer grew up in Connecticut where she earned herself the opportunity to play soccer for Penn State University. She holds the Big Ten all-time goals record (91) and was a 2x runner up for the Hermann Trophy. From Penn State, Tiffany played for many teams all over the world, had a handful of call-ups to the US U21 and senior women’s national teams and at 29 years of age, continues to enjoy scoring goals for her team. In 2010, with co-founder Khaled El-Ahmad, Tiffany created Our Game Magazine and has been at the helm ever since. Aside from the magazine and playing, Tiffany is also involved in coaching for girlsCAN Football and blogging on her personal site.