Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Anson not an option

Some people have mentioned Debbie Keller as a pre-Solo outcast of the women's team. It's not that I disagree, but I wasn't covering the women's team at the time. I defer to the observations of Scott French or Grant Wahl, who agree that Keller was a remarkable player who deserved more of a national team chance.

Grant, who was covering the women's team at the time, offers more details on the Solo/Keller parallel.

Grant's recounting of Keller's situation also touches on why Anson Dorrance won't be an option to coach the U.S. women again, at least not now. The lawsuit filed by Melissa Jennings is ongoing, though Dorrance settled with Keller in 2004.

6 comments:

Jonathan Geissler said...

I didn't follow American soccer as closely... I mean NEARLY as closely as I do now. So when Brad was chosen over Keller in the '02 WC, was Keller speaking out to the media?

Anonymous said...

jonathan,

the keller being referenced is a former UNC player for Anson Dorrance named Debbie Keller.

she was a very good player in her day - which was just after Cindy Parlow era if memory serves me

JT (Chicago) said...

Here are a few articles which were written at the time of Keller's exclusion from the US WC plans:

http://soccertimes.com/usteams/1999/feb25.htm

http://soccertimes.com/usteams/1999/feb26.htm

http://soccertimes.com/usteams/1999/may10.htm

http://soccertimes.com/langdon/1999/may17.htm

Keller was a HS star in the Chicagoland area and I was always hoping that she'd get the shot to play in front of her hometown fans during the '99 WC. She played in most of the USA matches in '98. Then the lawsuit was filed and suddenly she wasn't part of the squad.

She was a pure goalscorer, someone who would turn up at the right place at the right time to put the ball away. She only needed a half chance. It's a shame that her career was cut short as a result of this lawsuit. When WUSA was formed, I don't recall that she was even drafted.

Shows you what can happen when the power in a sport rests in the hands of a few.

Jonathan Geissler said...

lol i guess i'll just punch myself now

boink

Anonymous said...

Yes, Keller was a pure goal scorer and her only mistake was to TELL THE TRUTH about her college coach. He was is a pervert and enjoyed imtiminating his players by discussing their sexual relationships weekly in front of the team. It wasn't just joking, he used it to control his players as if they were part of his harem. The up coming trial,which UNC has tried for nine years to stop will also expose many other problems such as drug use at UNC during that time. How many other Marion Jones were part of the UNC programs in the late 90's? Notice his assistant coaches married ex-UNC players (one even after divorcing his wife and the other a year after she graduated). What else was going on at UNC to get playing time on the field. Debbie Keller knows, spoke out,and was trashed by the same UNC Stefford wives as was Hope Solo. Looks like Dorrance can't hide anymore and will need to face a jury of his peers. They may not care about national titles but how Dorrance and his staff treated young ladies who just wanted to play soccer.

Futsal Fred said...

Whoever the overwrought reply was written by needs to get a grip.

No one, including Keller and Jennings, has ever called the man a "pervert" or ever said that he approched them sexually.

Furthermore, all this "drugs" stuff is simply making it up. No intimation of anything like that has ever been made.

The court is being asked to decide the case on very narrow Title IX grounds: whether Dorrance created a "hostile environment" at UNC which "deprived" Jennings of "the advantages of intercollegiate athletics"

She says she was offended by some things. (Although, to repeat, she has never said that DOrrance ever touched her, asked or implied that he wanted sex and, indeed, she isn't even saying that anything he EVER said was directed at her.

All she's saying is that she "overheard" Dorrance say some things which made her uncomfortable.

But you have to stack that against the sworn affidavits and testimony of OVER 100 former UNC players, including some of the greatest names in world soccer history, who all - every one of them, every last woman - say that none of this is true.

And in fact, Jennings never said boo about any of this until a couple days after she was cut from the team, because of admitted academic problems (she was below a 2.0 average) and because she was not fit.

Until then, she was happy, even eager, to be in this "uncomfortable" setting. Which nobody else noticed.

Jennings will lose this case. It's being promoted by her rich father who can't let it go. It's just very sad.

As for the Keller/Solo corollary - well, Grant Wahl aside, there is none at all.

Yes, Keller was a good forward. In fact she was second on the team in scoring (tied with Tiffany Milbrett, behind Mia Hamm)

But who was DiCicco going to leave out instead? Joy Fawcett? Kristine Lilly? Tiffany Milbrett? Mia Hamm?

This was a team loaded with forwards, and she clearly was not going to start anywhere in that group, and most likely would have seen little or no PT. It's just a fact.

She was good, but not good enough to bench Tiffany or Kristine or Mia or Brandi Chastain. It's just a flat fact.

Furthermore, she was a very one-dimensional player: a straight ahead, ball-at-her-feet forward. She had no other skills.

DiCicco wanted multi-dimensional players, women who ould rotate to other spots, drop back and play defense, play out wide sometimes.

keller could do none of those. All she would have been was a benchwarmer, and DiCicco had said from the beginning that he planned on saving the last couple bench spots for futres players, like Abby Wambach, who knew they weren't going to play but who needed the experience for the next WC.

In short, there was just no place for Keller. Now, she wanted to claim that she was left off the team because of her lawsuit, and that's nonsense.

It IS true that there were 10 current or former UNC players on the team and none of them wanted her around.

The REASON they didn't want her around was because they said she was a LIAR.

Because, you see, unlike the person who posted above, they were actually there, at UNC, while Keller was there. And they knew what actually went on there.

I don't think there is any way you can get Mia or Joy or any of the other 100 or so UNC players to get on a stand and lie.

It's 100 against Jennings.