A quick look at two controversial player moves — Must-click woso links — Amanda Cromwell talks Orlando Pride
The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, January 3, 2022
Happy New Year everyone! Let’s hope this one is better than the last. I just returned from a much-needed vacation. I was set to go on a retreat with my partner, but we cancelled our plans because of COVID-19 restrictions and a massive snowstorm in Washington state. So instead I did a lot of knitting, my antidote to doomscrolling Twitter. It was awesome! I wanted to take a quick look at two separate NWSL player-related controversies that arose recently and what was done, or not done, in the fallout, before we talk to Amanda Cromwell in Five at The IX.
Shortly after the Portland Thorns drafted Sydny Nasello out of South Florida, some unsettling social media trends were found. Nasello retweeted a Charlie Kirk tweet targeting transgender athletes. Another retweet suggested President Obama was born in Kenya. Not gonna link those here, because they go beyond “commentary” and into bigotry and racism.
Nasello, a striker, apologized on Twitter, but made her account private, so we can’t see it. Steph Yang asked new Thorns coach Rhian Wilkinson about it afterward.
“I think it’s important that I state that this is an inclusive, open club that values its fans and knows what we stand for. This is someone that we did a lot of due diligence on in terms of what we do as as a club, but as a first year head coach and – yeah, these are these are gonna come across as excuses – but I do need to hold my hand up and be responsible for not doing the work needed on the social media side. Definitely a piece that we’re going to be working with this young lady and getting to know her.”
The North Carolina Courage brought back Jaelene (Hinkle) Daniels, who famously turned down a call-up to the national team because she refused to wear the team’s Pride jersey. The jerseys, by the way, are a fundraiser the You Can Play Project.
Soccer Monday chronicled Daniels’ stance back then. She went on the 700 Club (televangelist Pat Robertson’s television show) to talk about her choice. The very fact she went on Robertson’s show — he’s repeatedly made anti-semitic, homophobic and Islamophobic remarks — was in itself problematic.
“We are very sorry to all those we have hurt, especially those within the LGBTQIA+ community. The decision to re-sign Jaelene was not made lightly and included significant conversations between organization leadership and Jaelene. The priority expressed in those conversations is the safety of our players and maintaining an inclusive, respectful space for the entire team.”
Daniels posted her thoughts to Instagram.
“I remain committed to my faith and my desire for people to know that my love for them isn’t based on their belief system or sexuality. I pray and firmly believe that my teammates know how much I cherish them, respect them and love them.”
Nasello and Daniels are allowed to have the beliefs they have. There are lots of conservative and/or evangelical soccer players in the NWSL. However, when a players’ actions — even by retweet — negatively target a marginalized group of people, that’s wrong. Simple as that.
So I guess the question teams have to ask when adding someone who has a troublesome history: Is it worth it? Is bringing in any one player more important than the whole? How does it makes those who may have been marginalized in the past feel?
I don’t think that the answers are hard to find. They’re right there in the locker room. Just ask.
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On to the links!
BTW, with the holiday week we were kind of light on links, which is likely because folks took time off during soccer’s offseason, like me!
Five at The IX: Amanda Cromwell is introduced as the new coach of the Orlando Pride
It was a slow week in WoSo, so I went back to look at some of the availabilities that happened late last year, and I thought this one was worth noting, because UCLA coach Amanda Cromwell made the big leap from college to the pros. This was from her first press conference, shortly before the NWSL drafts.
Question: What have the first few days been like, getting ready for the draft and next season.
Cromwell: Ian (Fleming) is my new best friend, talking daily, texting a lot. There’s a lot going on, as you know, with trades and maneuvering before the expansion draft and the college draft. I actually flew into Orlando on Sunday night, I was there for a meeting with all the staff at the stadium. Met a lot of people, it was great. And then we had the event with the mayor and that was fantastic. You mentioned about me coming back to Orlando and I was really impressed about where the city’s headed: Speaking to the homeless issue, speaking to affordable housing, speaking to green energy and transportation and mobility, so I was really impressed with the mayor and everyone that came to that event. It’s been a lot, flying cross country on a Sunday night and then flying back Monday night. I would not wish that on anybody. Actually I had a chance to go see a house as well in Winter Park so I’m moving and shaking.
Question: Making the move from the college game to the pro game, what was it about this moment that made it right moment for you?
Cromwell: There’s a few reasons. One, the Wilf family are incredible owners. They’ve showed so much support. I know they’re very excited about Orlando Pride and City, and the resources they have will just keep building this club. So that’s that’s No. 1 because I would never jump somewhere without the support and without the chance to win championships. I want to further my career and the pro game is the next step. A lot of our players that I coached at UCLA are are on the national team, or on other national teams. Jessie Fleming is killing it for Canada and Chelsea. So we were kind of a feeder league, the Pac-12, I call it, we were the minor league. And so I wanted to coach these players again, quite honestly. I am so excited for the level of play and the amount of skill on the ball, and the speed and the just the way we can play the game at the highest level, and this is the best league in the world top to bottom. So to me it was made total sense. And like I said, with the Wilf family and the other resources here, the stadium, the training grounds. It’s where I trained with the national team before the 96 Olympics, 95 World Cup. So I’m really familiar with the surrounding areas I lived in Winter Park. So just to me, it makes a lot of sense for my career goals, but also I think it’s a win-win. I think I can also help Orlando City and give give some continuity to the club that it desperately needs.
Question: You obviously have coached against a lot of the players you’ll be looking at in the draft and just wondering do you is scouting for the draft is different than scouting players in college?
Cromwell: Scouting for the draft is a whole new beast because there’s so many moving parts with the draft, with trades, and who’s going to have what picks. Ian has a great mind for the analytical portion of it. I obviously have seen a lot of these players firsthand for many years, not only in college but recruiting them. So there’s a lot of players I’ve watched that didn’t come to UCLA. So I have a little bit of the more the subjective knowledge on them. So I think it’s a great partnership there. There’s so many moving parts out. I’m excited. I’m not gonna be sitting at a field for 8 hours a day watching 12-year-olds. We can watch video of international players go watch one game if we need to. So it’s gonna be a little different scouting process, which I’m all for.
Question: Having this familiarity with with this city, did that help in the decision of coming back to Orlando and taking this jump from college to pro?
Cromwell: That’s one component for sure. And I have a lot of friends there, a lot of support. Everyone’s already texted me about how they’re coming to a game, getting season tickets, can’t wait to come to more games. These are people that are in the surrounding states as well. So that that’s a draw for sure. But there are other teams obviously that are looking for coaches. So there were other options. And this one, to me, was more appealing because of the ownership and because of what the potential is here in Orlando. I think the soccer scene ,if you want to call it that: I played so much soccer as an adult there after my playing career there. There’s so many people playing the game in Orlando. I’m really big into the community ties and getting out there. I’ll go watch seven-a-side and go in and play and to try to promote our team and our club. So that that’s one thing for me that excites me. I know we can have a bump to the season ticket sales, we can get more people in the seats, and I think I can help with that.
|By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
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