Badgers’ McNicoll, Lavelle transfer international experience back to Madison

first_imgWhile most soccer fans spent the first half of the summer rooting for their favorite country in the FIFA World Cup, two names from the Wisconsin women’s soccer roster experienced first-hand World Cup action, representing their home countries for the Under-20 Women’s World Cup.Junior midfielder Kinley McNicoll suited up for the Canadian national team, which hosted the tournament this August, while fellow Wisconsin midfielder Rose Lavelle was garmented in red, white and blue for the United States. Despite their teams playing in different groups, the two Badgers had parallel beginnings at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium; both the Canadian and American squads fell to the competition in the first match, Ghana and Germany, respectively, leaving each bench with little margin for error.“I think losing to Germany and knowing that Brazil was do or die was a huge obstacle that we were able to overcome,” Lavelle said of her team’s tough start.McNicoll’s reflections on her team’s attitude after losing the first match mirrored those of Lavelle’s.“Going into the second game against Finland, we knew it was a must-win,” she said.The Ontario native sported the “C” on her jersey this summer as a team captain, something that comes as no surprise when considering this wasn’t her first time competing at the international level. Four years ago, McNicoll led the Under-17 Canada team to a World Cup championship over Mexico by scoring the only goal of the match.This time around, the Badger proved her ability on the field had only strengthened, as she was a constant presence, applying pressure and advancing the ball in several crucial plays.Lavelle, meanwhile, said she felt participating in the tournament this summer had matured her as a player as well, bringing out leadership skills of her own.“I think on my U-20 team I’ve played a pretty big role leadership-wise,” Lavelle said. “Being a freshman last year, I don’t think I really put that upon myself to be a leader, so hopefully I can bring that back.”And after the way Lavelle looked on the field this summer, most problably would not argue with her. The sophomore played a key role throughout the duration of the tournament for the United States, especially in the third game against China, when she tallied her first international point, tucking the ball in behind the goalkeeper off a pass from teammate Lindsey Horan.“I’ve been with the team for almost two years and I haven’t been able to score, so to get that out of the way was a huge weight off my shoulders,” Lavelle said.Now that the regular season is starting up, what kind of effect will Lavelle’s and McNicoll’s experiences have on the 2014 Wisconsin women’s soccer season?If the first few games are any indicator, the duo’s fast pace and high intensity could carry over into the fall. The pair have already left their mark early on, as each tallied a point in the opening weekend to give Wisconsin two wins.“The international game is so much faster than college. It’s exhausting playing games, physically and mentally,” McNicoll said.Head coach Paula Wilkins seems to be feeling the same way, hinting in her press conference Aug. 25 that she suspects playing at a higher level of competition over the summer could bring some momentum to the rest of the bench.“The game is a little bit slower for them,” Wilkins said. “They bring some composure back and I think that helps the other players.”Looking back at everything the pair of midfielders were a part of, earned and went up against this summer – the captaincy for McNicoll, the goal for Lavelle – both Badgers said their favorite memories were the ones where their teams succeeded together. This is one of the biggest signs that the experience in the tournament could have a significant impact on the Wisconsin squad that was picked to finish second in the Big Ten this season.McNicoll was quick to respond that the win against Finland was her favorite tournament memory.Canada triumphed over the Finnish national team in the second game of the tournament, only a few days after the discouraging initial defeat to Ghana.“At halftime we were down 2-0, and I don’t think for a moment anybody thought we were done,” McNicoll said. “At halftime, the energy in our locker room was just so positive and was great vibes. That was definitely my favorite moment. You live for those moments.”last_img read more

Exclusive: Laryea Kingson is returning to Great Olympics this season

first_imgFormer Hearts of Oak striker Laryea Kingston is set to join Great Olympics in the second round of the First Capital Plus Premier League.In an exclusive interview with Joy Sports, the player said he has not retired, pointing out that he is currently training to rejoin his boyhood club.”I really love the game and I still believe I can come back and play good football,” he began.”I came back to Ghana to play for my former team Hearts of Oak and Olympics is my former team as well so I will be more than happy to play for my boyhood club since some of my colleagues are there – hopefully in the second round of the league,” he revealed.Kingson started his career with Great Olympics at the age of 16, before moving to Libyan side Al-Ittihad in Tripoli in 2000 on loan and back to Hearts of Oak in 2001-2003.The player turns 35 in November and has also played for many clubs in Israel and Russia. In January 2012, he returned to Ghana to play for Hearts of Oak for the second time, signing for a year and a half. But soon into the stint, problems with coaches and club officials limited him to a handful of appearances for the Phobians which led to his release before the deal finished.Looking at the Black StarsKingston, whose brother Richard has also returned to play for Olympics in goal, further declared an intention to get a place in the Black Stars.”Since I have not retired, there is still hope to to come back to play for the Stars. I’m looking forward to play for a team and start playing actively again,” said the man who has scored six times in 41 caps for Ghana at senior level. This comes on the back of widespread public approval of the impact Kingston’s compatriots – Godwin Attram, Dan Quaye, Richard Kingson and Osei Boateng (all for Olympics) – on the league this season.Laryea’s storied career1999–2001    Great Olympics (Ghana)        2000             Al-Ittihad Tripoli (loan, Libya)        2001–2003    Hearts of Oak (Accra)       2003             Maccabi Ahi Nazareth (Israel) 2003–2004    Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel)  2004–2005    Krylia Sovetov Samara (Israel)2005–2007    Terek Grozny (Israel)2006             Lokomotiv Moscow (loan, Russia)2007             Heart of Midlothian (loan, Scotland)2007–2010    Heart of Midlothian 2010             Vitesse (Holland)2011–2012    Hapoel Be’er Sheva (Israel)2012–2013    Hearts of Oak       2013             Phoenix FC (USA)–Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmithlast_img read more