The season finale in the USA witnessed Marta feature prominently once again, while in Europe a host of star names were also among the goals as the UEFA Women's Champions League got into full swing. It has also been a busy period internationally with the successful staging of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago.
FIFA.com takes a look back at the month of September in the women’s game and also looks forward as the quest for places at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™ continues to build towards an exciting climax.
More gold for Marta
A Marta-inspired FC Gold Pride claimed the WPS crown in emphatic fashion, winning the league by 17 points and then defeating Philadelphia Independence 4-0 in the championship decider. Despite an impressive debut season in the second edition of the high-profile competition, Philadelphia were never in the hunt in the final against the Santa Clara-based side, with two goals coming from Canada forward Christine Sinclair, plus one each from Kandace Wilson and Marta. The league, which features many of the world’s elite players, is set to expand to an eight-team competition next year with the inclusion of New York club Buffalo Flash.
Big guns' opening salvos
Turbine Potsdam began their UEFA Women’s Champions League title defence with a thumping 9-0 win at Finnish club Aland United. This was typical of a Round of 32 that witnessed plenty of large scorelines, with several well-known names featuring prominently on the scoresheet. Anja Mittag scored a treble for the German side only to be outdone by Cathrine Paaske, who hit five for Danish champions Fortuna Hjorring as they cruised to an 8-0 win over ASD Bardolino Verona. Former champions Dusiburg are another club virtually assured of a last 16 berth after their 5-0 victory against CSHVSM in Kazakhstan, where Inka Grings scored four to take her season tally to 16 in ten matches.
Shanghai reclaim title
Shanghai won the Chinese Women's League for the first time in three years after seeing off a Dalian Shide side without injured star players Han Duan and Bi Yan. The league is split into north and south regions, with the top two teams from each region playing off for the right to be crowned champions of the world’s most populace nation. Beaten 2-0 by Dalian during the group stage, Shanghai played superbly against the same opponents in the final, eventually running out deserved 3-1 winners with goals from Xu Yuan, Li Jiayue and Zhang Yin. Shanghai captain Gao Yan was named the league’s best player to make it an impressive double for this resurgent Chinese giant.
Germany 2011 race gathering momentum
France, Norway, England and Sweden all secured passage to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup after winning their play-off matches a fortnight ago. The quartet join Australia, Korea DPR and Japan as qualifiers, alongside host nation Germany, for the world’s premier women’s football competition. The defeated European teams will have another tilt at qualification during October, with play-offs to decide which will earn the right to meet the third-placed CONCACAF nation. Looking further afield, the Oceania representative will be determined on 8 October when their eight-nation tournament concludes, before the focus then turns to Africa, South America and the CONCACAF region, with all three set to commence their qualifying competitions in late September.
Asians shine in Caribbean sun
The second FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup proved rewarding for Asia, with Korea Republic defeating Japan on penalties as both nations made their debut in a FIFA women’s final. It was the second all-Asian decider on the world stage and only Spain denied the continent a clean sweep of podium places by beating Korea DPR in the match for third place. Korea Republic striker Yeo Min-Ji proved the star turn, winning both the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Boot by virtue of an eight-goals haul. The attacking football played throughout the 16-nation competition also bore fruit for spectators, with 125 goals scored at an average of 3.9 per match.
A ten-day course in Trinidad and Tobago during the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup highlighted development work in the women’s game over the past month. In addition to the regular programme of a FIFA coaching courses, analysis of the matches at T&T 2010 was incorporated for the participating coaches. Twelve member associations from the Caribbean were represented by coaches at the course, with instruction provided by Sweden's Anna Signeul and Andrea Rodebaugh of Mexico. During September, there were also coaching courses conducted in Korea DPR, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica, as well as a consultancy in Tajikistan.
19 - The number of goals scored by Marta for FC Gold Pride across 24 games during the regular WPS season.
“Football can liberate women; it is not just a macho thing anymore. I said in 1995 that the future of football is feminine and I still believe that,” FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter speaking prior to the final of the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago.