The reigning African Female Footballer of the Year and Super Falcons of Nigeria star, Asisat Oshoala has signed for Liverpool Ladies, BBC reports. Oshoala won both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball – as Player of the Tournament – at last year’s Under-20 World Cup Finals, and becomes the first player from Africa to compete in the Women’s Super League. “We beat a number of top American and European clubs to Asisat’s signature,” said Matt Beard (Liverpool Ladies coach) as he welcomed the 20-year-old striker. “Asisat is one of the best young players in the world.” In addition to her star performances in the U20 World Cup, Oshoala also collected the Golden Ball award as the senior Nigeria team qualified for the 2015 World Cup by winning the African Women’s Championship. And she was named 2014’s African Women’s Player of the Year and Youth Player of the Year after helping her club side Rivers Angels become Nigerian champions. Beard added: “She’s not the finished article yet but she’s got pace, power and she certainly knows where the goal is. “I watched her at the Under-20 World Cup, where she was sensational, and we had early dialogue with her about coming to Liverpool. “There’s been plenty of other interest in her in the last few months, but she chose to join us and I’m absolutely delighted.” Oshoala, nicknamed ‘Seedorf’ after Dutch legend Clarence, said: “To be able to join the reigning Super League champions is absolutely fantastic. “Liverpool Ladies are a massive club with some fantastic players who I believe can help me to develop my game to the next level. “It was also a big incentive to be able to play in the Women’s Champions League, which is a huge competition that I’m confident we can do well in.”
Hope Solo will miss the next two games after being suspended by U.S. Soccer for a minimum of 30 days following her husband’s arrest on drunken driving charges, USA Today reports. Solo was with Jerramy Stevens when he was arrested early Monday morning for driving under the influence. Though she isn’t facing any charges and Manhattan Beach (Calif.) police have not described the goalkeeper’s behavior during the traffic stop, TMZ reported that Solo was “acting belligerent” and recorded the officers on her cell phone. “During our current national team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said in a statement. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.” Solo released a statement after the suspension was announced. “I accept and respect the federation’s decision, and more importantly, I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the federation who have always supported me,” she said. “I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.” The incident came just six days after domestic abuse charges against Solo were dismissed. Solo had been facing two counts of fourth-degree assault stemming from a fight with her sister and nephew, but the charges were dropped after the alleged victims refused to be interviewed by defense attorneys. Though U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun called the domestic abuse charges against Solo “disturbing” and “inconsistent with our expectations of Olympians,” U.S. Soccer allowed her to continue playing while the court case played out. But the federation might have taken a dimmer view of this latest incident because it occurred while she was at training camp. Solo will miss games against France on Feb. 8 and England on Feb. 13, and her suspension will be reviewed after 30 days. The U.S. women currently have no other games scheduled before they begin World Cup play June 8 against Australia in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Norwegian teenager Martin Odegaard has completed his move to Real Madrid, BBC reports. The 16-year-old midfielder signed a contract with the Champions League winners after passing a medical exam. “It’s a dream come true,” he said. “It is a bit unreal that I’m here at the biggest club in the world. It’s huge for me, an honour.” Odegaard will train with both the first team and the reserves but play for the second string, who are coached by France great Zinedine Zidane. Real have not disclosed details of the financial terms but Spanish media report they have paid about 3m euros (£2.3m) for the Stromgodset player. Odegaard told the media that the move to Madrid represented the best opportunity to “develop as a footballer” and said there was “no pressure” on him. He added: “My goal is to become a better footballer. Playing for the first or second team is not so important.” “It’s a dream come true. It is a bit unreal that I’m here at the biggest club in the world. It’s huge for me, an honour.” Odegaard made his debut for Norway as a 15-year-old in August and had been linked with many of Europe’s top clubs.
Four-time champion Roger Federer is out of the Australian Open after being beaten in the third round by unheralded Italian Andreas Seppi. The 33-year-old Swiss second seed went down 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (7-5) to Seppi, who is ranked 46 in the world. Seppi, 30, had never beaten the 17-time Grand Slam champion in 10 previous meetings and his win ends a 23-match losing streak against top 10 opponents. “I just tried my best and it was one of my best matches for sure,” said Seppi. It is the first time since 2003 that Federer has failed to reach at least the semi-finals in Melbourne, and extends his run without a Grand Slam title which stretches back to Wimbledon 2012. He enjoyed a revival last year, vying with Novak Djokovic for the number one ranking, and began 2015 with his 83rd career title in Brisbane. However, there had been signs in his previous match against another Italian, Simone Bolelli, that the Swiss was not at his best as he dropped the opening set.
The king of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has died, royal officials have announced, weeks after he was admitted to hospital. King Abdullah, who was said to be aged about 90, had been suffering from a lung infection. BBC reports that a statement early on Friday said his 79-year-old half brother, Salman, had become king. Abdullah came to the throne in 2005 but had suffered frequent bouts of ill health in recent years. King Salman, 79, had recently taken on the ailing monarch’s responsibilities. Before the announcement, Saudi television cut to Koranic verses, which often signifies the death of a senior royal. The late king’s half brother Muqrin, who is in his late 60s, has been named the new crown prince, the official statement said. All three are sons of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz, usually referred to as Ibn Saud, who died in 1953. King Salman called on the royal family’s Allegiance Council to recognise Muqrin as his crown prince and heir. “His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 01:00 this morning,” the statement said.