Soccer

Shaw: Stanford's renaissance has only just begun

201301011709617809880-p2.jpeg

Shaw: Stanford's renaissance has only just begun

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) As David Shaw addressed his Stanford players for the final time this season, a sense of sadness started to circulate around the room.

No more games. No more trophy celebrations. No more upsets, comebacks or any of the other thrilling moments that took place during the most sensational season in 40 years on The Farm.

``It was almost like, `Gosh, we want to play another game,''' Shaw said. ``These guys were such a joy to be with. We almost didn't want the season to end. Even though it ended in the Rose Bowl and everyone was really excited, it was almost like, `Man, we need to play again.'''

After a Pac-12 Conference title and the program's first Rose Bowl victory since the Nixon Administration, Stanford's players simply can't wait to take the field again - and their sights may be set even higher next season.

The Cardinal are in far better shape than last January, when Andrew Luck left to become the NFL's No. 1 overall draft pick and several other starters departed along with the record-setting quarterback. But instead of taking a step back, Stanford sprung forward, finally toppling Oregon and coming within a victory - or a disputed replay - at Notre Dame from perhaps supplanting the Fighting Irish in Monday night's BCS championship game against Alabama.

Kevin Hogan is solidified at quarterback, and most of the Pac-12's top defense will return. Shaw, winner of two straight conference coach of the year awards, also turned down the NFL to sign a ``long-term'' deal at Stanford in December - though that didn't stop a few NFL teams from inquiring about his services anyway.

``There have been conversations,'' Shaw said, speaking by phone before heading back on the recruiting trail this week. ``But I think they all understand now that that's the reason we signed the contract when we did, to keep me out of that speculation to let people know I'm going to be at Stanford.''

The Cardinal have so much depth that Shaw expects to add only ``10 to 12'' recruits on signing day Feb. 6. Even a preseason ranking in the top five of The Associated Press poll is possible.

``We're not going to lose a lot of guys,'' Shaw said. ``We're bringing back a whole lot of guys.''

Middle linebacker Chase Thomas will leave the biggest hole on defense, though the Cardinal had such a legion of linebackers, playing time proved to be the only real problem at the position this season. Leading tackler Shayne Skov wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he will be back as a fifth-year senior, as expected, after defensive lineman Ben Gardner tweeted he'd return.

Running back Stepfan Taylor is set to graduate, and so is wide receiver and punt returner Drew Terrell. Tight ends Zach Ertz - who could be the top player taken at his position - and Levine Toilolo appear likely to forego their final year of eligibility for the NFL draft.

But there are several freshmen from what the program considered the best recruiting class in Stanford history who didn't play, or played sparingly, and could emerge quickly. Among those is running back Barry J. Sanders, who spurned his Hall of Fame father's alma mater at Oklahoma State to make his own mark out West, but injured his ankle in the fall and ended up redshirting.

With a doubt, though, Stanford is more settled on offense heading into next season because quarterback is no longer an issue. The strong-armed and quick-footed Hogan finished 5-0 - including beating four ranked teams en route to the Rose Bowl - since replacing Josh Nunes. He impressed so much that the only question now is how good he can be in his redshirt sophomore season.

``Is he going to be able to make that next step from an athletic kid to a true, legitimate threat as a passer and as a runner? Will he be a complete quarterback this year? We'll see,'' Shaw said. ``We know he has the ability to. Can he make that jump?''

The only other concern Shaw has is guarding against complacency.

Shaw received more than 250-plus text messages, emails and voicemails - and a hug from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - since Tuesday's victory in Pasadena. He called the response overwhelming, though in some ways it also was a bit unsettling.

For so long, Shaw heard so many consider the Rose Bowl ``out of reach'' for the rigorous academics university. Now that the Cardinal have accomplished the one goal Shaw sets every season, he doesn't want everybody celebrating the accomplishment too much.

After all, there are more games to be won, more trophies to hoist and perhaps even one more milestone to reach before Stanford could be considered a powerhouse to those who recognize only one accomplishment: a national title.

``Will coaches have to crack the whip to get guys motivated, or will we continue to be motivated even though we did win the Rose Bowl? Can we continue to push ourselves through success?'' Shaw said. ``We'll find out.''

---

Follow Antonio Gonzalez at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

Carli Lloyd scores 2 and the US downs Chile 3-0 at the World Cup

uswnt.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Carli Lloyd scores 2 and the US downs Chile 3-0 at the World Cup

Carli Lloyd scored a pair of goals for the United States in a somewhat subdued 3-0 victory over Chile that advanced the defending Women's World Cup champions to the round of 16.

The United States was criticized after its record-breaking 13-0 rout of Thailand when players celebrated goals even after the victory was well in hand. The Americans were more muted in this one, and all three goals were in the first half.

Sweden also advanced out of Group F with a victory 5-1 victory over Thailand earlier Sunday in Nice. Japan, playing in Group D with England, also went through to the knockout stage because both the United States and Sweden won.

Lloyd earned the start after coming in off the bench in the opener, and in the 11th minute became the first player to score in six straight World Cup matches.

She added another on a header off a corner in the 35th minute for her 10th career World Cup goal, which moved her into third on the all-time U.S. list behind Abby Wambach (14) and Michelle Akers (12).

Four years ago at the World Cup in Canada, Lloyd scored three goals in the opening 16 minutes of the finale to lead the United States to a 5-2 victory over Japan for the team's third overall title.

She nearly got another hat trick -- which would have made her the first player with two World Cups -- but her penalty kick in the 81st minute went wide left.

The Americans were blasted after their tournament-opening victory for the lopsided score, and overenthusiastic celebration, and the controversy clouded the run-up to Sunday's game.

Several of the U.S. players reached out to their Thai counterparts following the match. Lloyd exchanged encouraging words and tweets with goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying, and FIFA posted an interview with Thailand's coach thanking the U.S. players for being professional and playing well.

The United States set records for goals and margin of victory against Thailand. Alex Morgan tied the World Cup record for most individual goals with five, and she was among a record seven different scorers in a single game.

After such a rout, Jill Ellis made sweeping changes to the starting lineup against Chile with a new front line: Lloyd, Christen Press and Mallory. Morgan was moved to the bench along with Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath.

Becky Sauerbrunn, who sat out of the match against Thailand because of a minor quad injury, returned and anchored a backline that included 20-year-old Tierna Davidson, who was making her World Cup debut. Davidson is the youngest player to start for the United States in the World Cup since Tiffany Roberts against Norway in 1995.

Chile made just one lineup change, starting midfielder Claudia Soto in place of Yanara Aedo.

Chile lost its opener to Sweden 2-0 but goalkeeper Christiane Endler kept the Swedes out of the goal until the 83rd minute. The second goal got past her in stoppage time. The 6-footer who plays for Paris Saint-Germain was solid again against the United States, especially in the second half when the United States peppered her with shots.

Julie Ertz scored in the 26th minute with a header off a corner kick from Davidson that Endler got her hands on but couldn't stop. It was her first World Cup goal and came with her husband Zach Ertz, a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles, looking on.

Ender was able to prevent Lloyd from another attempt at a hat trick when she tipped the U.S. captain's shot over the net in the 72nd minute.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was among the U.S. team's well-wishers before the sold-out game at Parc des Princes stadium. Biden, who is running for President in 2020, referenced the team's lawsuit against U.S. Soccer alleging gender discrimination and seeking equitable pay.

"As we cheer them on in the World Cup, we must support their fight off the field for equal pay. In 2019, it's past time we close the pay gap and ensure women get paid as much as men," Biden posted on Twitter.

U.S. soccer maintains that the two teams have different pay structures because of separate collective bargaining agreements.

The United States plays Sweden in Le Havre on Thursday to wrap up the group stage. It is the first meeting between the two teams since Sweden ousted the American from the quarterfinals at the 2016 Olympics.

Chile wraps up the group with a match against Thailand on Thursday in Rennes.

MORE SOCCER NEWS: 

Quick Links

Wizards bringing in UNC teammates Coby White and Nassir Little for pre-draft workout

Wizards bringing in UNC teammates Coby White and Nassir Little for pre-draft workout

The Wizards are holding their highest-profile pre-draft workout yet on Monday, hosting UNC teammates and projected lottery picks Coby White and Nassir Little. 

White earned All-ACC and All-Freshman honors during his lone season in Chapel Hill, averaging 16.1 points and 4.1 assists per game. Little's season with the Tar Heels did not go as smoothly as White's, but he is an NBA-ready athlete with tons of upside. 

Both White and Little could be options for the Wizards at No. 9 and would provide solutions to some of Washington's major needs. White would give the Wizards a primary play-maker while John Wall recovers from his Achilles injury, while Little would fill Washington's hole at small forward and bring some much-needed defense and rebounding to the team.

Before White and Little, the Wizards had brought in very few projected lottery picks during their pre-draft process, outside of Kentucky forward Keldon Johnson and French prospect Sekou Doumbouya. But with the 2019 NBA Draft looming on Thursday, the Wizards are ramping up their search for the player they'll pick at No. 9. 

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: