The 2011 Damallsvenskan season opened April 9, with Umea, Djurgarden and Kristianstad all claiming wins.
\After watching much of its talent – local as well as international – head for the supposed greener pastures of the WPS in the United States, the Damallsvenskan is experiencing a return effect this season.
The fledgling U.S. league, now in its third year, continues to hemorrhage cash and bleed players and only one Swedish player decided to try luck in America. Therese Sjögran left Malmö for the Sky Blues in New Jersey. Swedish international Caroline Seger is still in the U.S. although she switched teams from Philadelphia to Rochester-based Western New York.
The good news for Swedish teams is not only are Swedish players such as Madeleine Edlund, Kosovare Asllani returning home but many of the international players that made the Allsvenskan the top women’s league in the world have also gone back to Sweden. Swiss star Ramona Bachmann returned to Umeå IK, where she joins forces with a pair of Nigerian internationals, Rita Chikwelu and Ogonna Chukwudi.
Japanese international and former UIK star Mami Yamaguchi is now with Hammarby along with, surprisingly, U.S. international and Villanova standout Kelly Eagan.
Defending champions Malmö replaced Sjögran with Australian international Heather Garriock, who left Chicago of WPS to play in Skane.
Jitex, which has aspirations of doing more than simply surviving this year in the top flight, lured England international Rebecca Angus away from German side Kolboton to toil in Mölndal.
Another team with title dreams, Piteå, snapped up a pair of WPS players in Nigerian striker Faith Ikidi, who played for now-defunct Bay Area and Chicago striker Fiona O’Sullivan, a University of San Francisco star who plays for the Irish national team.
Linköping also gained strength from WPS’ woes as it brought Asllani back after her unhappy spell in Chicago and St. Louis, which folded midway through the season last year.
The team that might have benefitted most from problems in the American circuit is Tyresö. Former UIK stars Elaine Moura and Edlund both came back from the U.S. and signed with the club as did Swedish international Josefine Öqvist, who was reportedly set to sign with WPS but changed her mind at the last moment.
Despite all the player moves, Malmö remains the odds-on favorite to win the league, although Umea, after three years of unsettled finances, appears ready to rejoin the top teams.
KIF Örebro, Kopparbergs/Göteborg and Linköping also have legitimate shots at the title.
The season kicked off April 9 with a rematch of the Women’s Super Cup between league champions Malmö and Cup holders Örebro. Malmö won that match 2-1 but in the season opener, neither team could find an edge and they settled for a 1-1 draw.
by Chipp Reid
Kristianstads 5, Dalsjöfors 0 BORÅS - Margrét Lara Vidarsdóttir scored twice in her Damallsvenskan debut to lead Kristianstad to a 5-0 win over league newcomers Dalsjofors April 10 at Borås Arena. The Icelandic striker scored both of her goals in the second half. Danish striker Elin Nilsen had a first-half brace for Kristianstad while Anna Persson also scored in the opening stanza.
Umeå 2, Hammarby 0 STOCKHOLM – Umeå opened its 2011 campaign on winning note, notching a 2-0 win over Hammarby April 10 at Hammarby IP. Sofia Jakobsson scored both goals for the former champions.
Djurgården 2, Jitex 1 STOCKHOLM – Djurgården got a pair of goals from Mia Jaklerud to knock off Jitex 2-1 April 9 at Östermalms IP. Jaklerud put DIF on top in the 34th minute. English international Rebecca Angus tied the score five minutes later. Jaklerud struck for the game winner at the 48-minute mark.
Örebro 1, Malmö 1 ÖREBRO – Nigerian international Sarah Michael scored her first Damallsvenskan goal in her debut match but it wasn’t enough as Örebro and Malmö played to a 1-1 draw April 10 at Behrn Arena. Michael struck in the 24th minute. Nilla Fischer tied the game at the 61-minute mark.
Kopparbergs/Göteborg 0, Tyresö 0 GÖTEBORG – A battle between potential champions ended in a fizzle as Kopparbergs and Tyrseö battled to a scoreless draw.
Djurgården defender Emma Lundh chases down Jitex goal scorer Rebecca Angus during DIF's 2-1 win. Bildbyrån photo