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Archive for November 10, 2021

Nov. 10, 2021 — Just when you thought the women’s soccer universe couldn’t get more lurid

Last Thursday, the Paris St. Germain women’s soccer team had just finished a team meal when Khiera Hamaroui, who had joined the team from Barcelona over the summer, got into a car with her teammate Aminata Diallo.

The car was accosted on the way back from the restaurant by two men, who used metal bars to strike Hamaroui on the legs and arms. The assault left cuts and heavy bruises, and she was left out of PSG’s Champions League fixture this week, which was a 4-0 rout of Real Madrid.

This morning, Diallo was arrested in connection with the assault. The arrest was confirmed by the club this morning. Apparently, she arranged the attack since Hamaroui was a rival for Diallo’s place in the side (both are midfielders).

The attack wakes up the echoes of the Tonya Harding scandal, when the figure skater allegedly arranged for an assault on her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan in order to improve her chances of making the 1994 Olympics in women’s singles.

This soccer scandal comes in a very awkward time for Paris St. Germain. The club has leveraged funding by Qatari interests in order to try to buy the best talent on the men’s side, including Lionel Messi. At the same time, the women’s club has also been looking to improve. PSG won the French first-division champion last year, its first major trophy.

Too, Hamaroui and Diallo have not only been teammates with PSG, but for the French women’s national side.

Nov. 10, 2021 — A new goldmine of girls’ lacrosse talent?

As the game of NCAA women’s lacrosse has grown and become more competitive and athletic over the last quarter-century, the search for next hotbed of the sport has begun.

A number of schools have been looking for undiscovered players. Maryland, for example, has as one of its top players a forward who never played for her high-school team, but was instead homeschooled and played for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club side.

Maryland has also attracted a top player from Arizona (who just happens to be the daughter of alumna Courtney Martinez-Connor), and today a signing ceremony is being webcast of a player from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

The growth of girls’ scholastic lacrosse has far overspread the footprint of NCAA teams, as there are good teams in Georgia, Washington, and Utah, where no women’s team yet exists.

But there has been one odd omission when it comes to scholastic lacrosse, at least in comparison to other athletic pursuits in the region.

That area is Hampton Roads, a region of Southeastern Virginia which encompasses cities all the way from Williamsburg out to Yorktown, Newport News Hampton, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach,along the Atlantic shoreline.

Though the area has had club lacrosse, none of the teams you might expect to have developed two-sport talent from field hockey and soccer have gained varsity status.

That is, until last night. In a unanimous vote, the Virginia Beach School Board voted to start girls’ varsity lacrosse beginning in the spring of 2023.

In point of fact, the start of girls’ lacrosse in Hampton Roads should have been (for lack of a better term) a quick-stick. There has been organized club lacrosse in the region for the past 21 years, and the step up to varsity should have been easy.

The problem is that the competition surfaces used by field hockey and boys’ soccer varsities in the fall are being used by middle-school field hockey players and girls’ soccer players in the springtime.

Yep, Virginia Beach is one of the areas that have girls’ spring soccer.

I guess athletic directors have got some planning to do a couple of years out.