Jess Fishlock column: Uefa tournament is big for Wales

 

In her latest column for BBC Sport Wales, Wales Women's captain and Seattle Reign midfielder Jess Fishlock looks forward to the first Uefa tournament to be held in Wales as well as reflecting on the recent European Championship

The Uefa Women's Under-19 Championship  comes to Wales in August and this is one of the biggest things to happen to any Welsh side, to be hosting a first major tournament.

We've just seen the senior European Championship in Sweden and how it can have an effect on a country and community when everything goes well.

I have every faith in Wales that they'll be able to host a great tournament and for the girls I don't think they're going to know what's hit them.

But they're a good group. I've worked with them in a coaching role and I'm really excited for them.

I know they've had a few injuries, which is unfortunate, but I just hope they can go and play the way I know they can play and not be overawed by the occasion too much.

They are in good hands with Jarmo Matikainen managing the side.

Although I'm based in the United States at present, I did manage to watch a handful of games in the recent European Championship and kept up to date with the rest of the tournament on Twitter.

It was a great tournament and enjoyable to watch. There were a few shocks and surprises which always makes a tournament interesting.

Seattle Reign's remaining NWSL matches

3 August: Chicago Red Stars (a)

7 August: Western New York Flash (a)

10 August: Washington Spirit (a)

17 August: Portland Timbers (h)

I was disappointed with England. I didn't feel they played to their best in any of the three games, far from it, and they had been getting ready for this tournament for a long time.

The damage was done in the games prior to their 3-0 defeat to France in their final group match with their results against Spain and Russia.

It's disappointing for England because they are a better team than that.

Germany continued their dominance of women's football, winning a sixth successive European title with a 1-0 victory over Norway in the final.

They managed to achieve that despite having a number of injuries.

They didn't risk any of their injured experienced players and they brought in youth because they believe in their development pathway and that they are doing the right thing.

For that to come together is phenomenal and bodes really well for them in the future. They had so much youth and they've just won the Euros again and the World Cup qualifiers are coming soon.

Germany are in a very, very good place right now.

Seattle Reign  are also very much in a good place following an upturn in our fortunes in the National Women's Soccer League during the last month.

After a 1-1 draw against Western New York Flash, we finally got our first win with a 2-1 victory away to Boston Breakers.

For us it was breaking through that barrier and getting that first win.

It was nice to get on the scoresheet in our first win. I've scored four goals so far and would probably have scored more if my room-mate Kaylyn Kyle didn't take penalties off me!

Further wins against Chicago Red Stars, Western New York Flash and Washington Spirit followed before our six-match unbeaten run was ended by current NWSL leaders Kansas City.

Kansas have been outstanding this season. We've played them four times this season and have lost to them four times and haven't scored a goal against them.

If they don't make it all the way to the final of the play-offs then I will be extremely shocked.

We're playing some good stuff, scoring some goals and we hope we haven't left it too late to get into the play-offs.

We've got four games left and if we win all those games it gives a chance of reaching the play-offs, although it does need other teams to win and lose.

Whether we make the play-offs or not, it's important for us to play well and continue to grow as a team. We have a future and we're excited for that.

It's important for us that we finish on a high, not just for us the players and coaching staff, but also the fans and our owners.

Jess Fishlock was speaking to BBC Wales Sport's Aled Williams