Avery Rape and Gilda Doria
If you want to know where to find all the best information and updates about women’s college and professional soccer, here is a guide to three of the top blogs where you can find everything that you need.
All-White Kit (AWK): allwhitekit.com
This is the most thoughtful blog about women’s college and professional soccer. The noted purpose in the about section of the blog describes the importance of a soccer fan presence online when he says “Regardless of whether this is true or not, the culture of American soccer has undoubtedly been revitalized and revolutionized by the fan and the internet. The blogosphere has enabled rabid fans of The Beautiful Game to pontificate about whatever they please and to shine a light on things often entirely ignored and/or misunderstood by the mainstream sports media. And this is why All White Kit exists. Our aim is to cover the landscape of women’s soccer as best we can.” This goal is achieved through the thoroughness and attention to detail the authors use to analyze women’s soccer in America. The creator, Chris Henderson, does profiles on the biggest games of the week. Within these profiles he provides game analysis on both sides strengths and weaknesses and provides his readers with keys to what it will take for each opponent to win the game. It is clear that AWK is run by someone with impressive soccer intelligence and the ability to provide readers with multiple angles.
One of the biggest strengths of AWK is its NCAA tournament analysis. Chris Henderson takes the time to provide his readers with line-ups, detailed analysis and score predictions for a majority of the tournament games, especially in the later rounds. During the season, AWK has a live twitter feed as well. They do not just provide end scores; they are up to date with important momentum changing plays, referee decisions, and especially goals. His most important in-season correlation to the post season NCAA tournament is his avid following and updating of conference and team RPI ratings. Low RPIs are what make the biggest impact on whether a team will make the NCAA tournament and where they will be seeded. Henderson provides us tweets or blurbs on why certain games are especially important for specific teams to make the NCAA tournament.
The downsides of AWK could be the lack of interaction with players. There aren’t interviews, videos, or post game analysis providing the readers with a more factual insight on the results of certain games. As we all know, the results of soccer games are not always the best portrayals of who the better team is. A deeper analysis of specific player performances and team structure changes could enhance the understandings of the teams, leagues, and their results.
As for the professional league, NWSL, it is an extremely young league, but AWK still provides game-by-game analysis and even a fantasy league. They follow the semi-professional women’s league as well and use those team performances as evidence of the talent that could be waiting for the NWSL. There are currently eight professional teams, and if the league continues to be stable and progress, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see AWK expand on their analysis of the NWSL.
Top Drawer Soccer: topdrawersoccer.com
This blog gives the most information about youth and college soccer in America. On this website you can find rankings for college teams and even players. For youth players he provides lists of college commitments. Top Drawer takes the approach of rating players on a 5 star scale and then they continue to rank the players on a national, regional and state scale. One prominent aspect of Top Drawer for women’s and men’s college soccer is that they compile the results and performances each week into a ‘Top Drawer Team of the Week” composed of the best eleven personal performances of the week along with a few honorable mentions.
One downside of Top Drawer is to get full access to the website’s content you have to pay to be a member. This takes away from the usefulness of the blog because youth and college soccer in America is not popular enough for fans to want to pay for the information. Another downside is the validity of the rankings of the players. A lot of the rankings seem to be based off of reputation and accolades communicated throughout the soccer community, not on an intelligent analysis of a player’s ability.
However, Top Drawer does a good job at compiling information on each player not just each team. When you click on a player’s name you can access a picture, their college stats, their hometown and what club they played for along with any related articles the player has been mentioned in.
The Equalizer: www.equalizersoccer.com
Founded in 2009, The Equalizer seeks to bring in every aspect of women’s soccer college and professional soccer home and abroad. They pride themselves in being “the #1 source for women’s professional soccer news.” The website is extremely easy to navigate and organized into NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League), USWNT (US Women’s National Team), NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), Euro 2013, along with a WPS Archive. This is one of the only websites on the Internet covering all aspects of women’s soccer in a comprehensive way. The search engine and archive tab allows readers to look up past articles by monthly increments, dating back as far as July 2009. It gives a unique perspective through their player blogs, which provide a personal anecdote of well-known professional players, and updates the audience on individual player success even if they are playing abroad.
One of their biggest strengths comes in their coverage of the NWSL with insight from player interviews and in depth coverage available through their multiple editors and writers across the United States. The NWSL tab at the top of the website drops down into the 8 different teams, clicking on them directs you to articles related to each team. Not only does the website analyze in season NWSL play, but it also discusses what players are doing during the long off-season, tactical changes needed for the following season, as well as the newest developments in coaching changes, transfers, and player releases. Player of the week awards are given based off of analysis and performance from games, in contrast to college soccer where blogs post these awards based off of mere statistics. Members of The Equalizer’s staff are also occasionally videoed in interviews giving the pregame synopsis or predictions for NWSL games. The websites gives off a more personable aspect with these videos, allowing readers to put a writers name with their face. A WPS archive also provides those interested in the details of reasons why the last two women’s professional leagues folded and all the articles imaginable on previous WPS and WPSL (Women’s Professional Soccer League) games.
The reportage on the NCAA is a great way to get weekly round up summaries of top games. What is great about this website, is that they choose to stay away from the political side often times affiliated with women’s college soccer. They do not offer team of the week or player of the week accolades. The writers include brief and insightful summaries on the top games of the week based off information from the universities athletic websites. This allows readers to avoid the hassle of having to go from one team’s athletic site to another in order to get the information they need. This year more than ever, The Equalizer’s writers are looking to draw more attention from college soccer fans with multiple weekly posts on women’s college soccer. In years past, it seems as though the writers had chosen stories based on teams at random or during heightened times of the season, including conference tournament play and the NCAA tournament.
US Women’s National Team analysis on games and players is very similar to All White Kit. This may be due to the fact that the writers distributed across the country have more access to see footage of the games or watch them live. They give key takeaways from matches and consistently update the blog throughout games, particularly throughout Olympic and World Cup play. The audience also gets a chance to see who the players are as people and as growing professional athletes. It is nice to see a different approach to a blog; the reader is not always reading basic statistics.
The Equalizer provides information on European Championships and any changes made in the national team systems. This is an area of weakness on the blog however, as Euro championships occur every 4 years. A tab should be made looking at women’s soccer overseas all throughout the year. Also, it would be beneficial for the site’s long-term success to see it develop into something similar to TopDrawerSoccer’s individual player profiles. Overall, it is a great blog with lots of interviews and up to date information not found on other sites.
Women’s College Soccer Rankings Websites: