by Roger Le Grove Rogers
March 17, 2004
Greece and Xanthi Konstantinidou are the real story of the 2004 Algarve Cup
The real story of the 2004 Algarve Cup is the performance of the Greece National Team. When Greece was awarded the 2004 Olympics their National team had struggled in UEFA competition with most of the other National teams. Mostly because of the lack of official support and recognition for women's soccer in Greece. The 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup USA changed the public view of the women's game in Greece.
Fortunately Greece already had another precious treasure-Xanthi Konstantinidou. A veteran supporter and promoter of women's soccer , she had long been working to raise the level and recognition of the women's game in Greece. When the Athens Olympics became a reality she began to build a national team that could host the 2004 games. Much like U.S. Soccer had done some years earlier for their men's national team when they actively recruited bi-national Americans around the world to help their World Cup aspirations, she started looking for and evaluating Greek/American players who lived and played high level soccer in the United States. We posted advertisements on WSW, and passed on responses and information. Len Tsantiris the Head Coach of the University of Connecticut women's team assisted in a variety of ways including taking the Connecticut team to Greece for matches. Greece National Team head coach Konstantinidou formed a team that is a mixture of local players and Greek Americans, and has spent the last years training and gathering as much competition as possible. We had seen the Mexico National Team in the last years use the same sort of mixture, and it produced a rapid improvement in the quality of their soccer that resulted in qualifying for the 2004 Athens Olympics with an upset win over Canada.
Now we are seeing results continually improving for Greece including a recent tie with Russia, and they are presently leading Group C at the 2004 Algarve Cup with two wins.
It may not seem much when you look at the level of some of the Group A and B teams, but they have come a long way in a short time thanks to the efforts of their dedicated and hard working Head Coach and Director Xanthi Konstantinidou.
- PAST COMMENTARIES
BACK TO THE WSW FRONTPAGE BACK TO TOP