A federal judge is poised to make a high-stakes ruling on whether the US Women’s World Cup-winning national team has the right to strike before the Summer Olympics, an action the sport’s governing body warns could stunt the development of soccer in the US. The case stems from a suit the Chicago-based US Soccer Federation filed in February against the players’ union. During the first status hearing Thursday, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman set in-court arguments for May 25; she also set deadlines to file written arguments leading up to that hearing. The simmering legal battle pits the soccer federation against the US Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association, with their dispute centered on whether a collective bargaining agreement is or isn’t still in effect. The union wants the option of striking, even though it hasn’t said it will or identified any grievances that might trigger a strike. On Thursday night, the US women’s team defeated England, 1-0, in the SheBelieves Cup in Tampa. Second-half substitution Crystal Dunn scored in the 72d minute and goalie Hope Solo recorded her 96th career shutout.
Revolution add 2 rookies
The New England Revolution signed a pair of rookies, forward Michael Gamble, 22, of Columbia, Md., and goalkeeper Matt Turner, 21, of Park Ridge, N.J., to contracts in advance of Sunday’s MLS season opener at Houston. Gamble, who played at Wake Forest, was the Revolution’s second-round selection in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft (30th overall), while Turner, a Fairfield University starter in 2014 and 2015, signed after spending the preseason as a trialist. In another move, the Revolution acquired general allocation money from D.C. United in exchange for goalkeeper Charlie Horton, 21, in a sign-and-trade deal . . . Lionel Messi scored a hat trick, adding the second, third, and fourth goals in Barcelona’s breezy 5-1 victory over Rayo Vallecano to become the first Spanish League club to win 35 consecutive matches, breaking Real Madrid’s 30-year-old record . . . England coach Roy Hodgson said team captain Wayne Rooney, still recovering from a right knee injury, was guaranteed to make the 23-man English squad for the European Championship June 10-July 10. The Manchester United striker injured ligaments in his knee last month, which did not require surgery, and could return by the end of March.
Pistorius appeal dismissedSouth Africa’s highest court dismissed Oscar Pistorius’s appeal of his murder conviction, signaling the former track star’s long legal battle since killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013 may be drawing to a close. Pistorius appealed to the Constitutional Court, saying another court erred when it overturned a manslaughter conviction and declared the Olympic athlete, a multiple Paralympic champion who became the first amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes, guilty of murder . . . Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, told the Associated Press Rio’s winning bid for the 2016 Summer Games was “without any problems” after French prosecutors widened their investigation into athletic corruption to include bidding for the 2016 and 2020 Games . . . Sarah Tait, a three-time Olympian and silver medalist in rowing at the 2012 London Games, died of cancer. The mother of two, who won her silver medal in the women’s pairs with Kate Hornsey, was 33.
Kazmaier finalists named
Boston College’s Alex Carpenter, the 2015 Patty Kazmaier Award winner, and Northeastern’s Kendall Coyne were listed along with Wisconsin goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens as the three finalists for the Kazmaier Award, presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division 1 women’s ice hockey . . . Jack Montague, the senior captain and No. 4 scorer (9.7 ppg) of the Yale men’s basketball team, withdrew from school Wednesday, according to a school press release. It followed more than two weeks of speculation surrounding Montague’s sudden and unexplained departure from the team Feb. 6.