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The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, December 13, 2021
And I thought this was supposed to be my offseason. Apologies this is late, I had so much going on today for AP between Alex Morgan, the NWSL and Oregon football. Woke up at six and still in my pajamas as I write this! Will my teeth get brushed today? Who knows?
I spoke to Alex Morgan out in front of Monday’s formal announcement she was going to the San Diego Wave. This was the worst-kept secret in the NWSL. Meg Linehan reported that a deal was in the works in The Athletic earlier this month. So really, all the credit belongs to her.
My story is here. I wanted to expand a bit on Morgan’s thoughts about the NWSL, and it kind of all came together really, really quickly. An aside that I mentioned on Twitter, I spoke to her via Zoom while I was sitting in the VAR room at Providence Park. Probably not supposed to say that publicly, but there you go.
Also, yes the trade window is still officially closed. I’d like to welcome the NWSL to the NBA, we’re glad to have you. That said, I do expect that the Wave will incur a fine. Not sure the league is focused on such matters right now, to be honest. We’ll see.
But it wasn’t the only news that dropped this morning.
U.S. Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League have agreed to end the allocation system, which pays the NWSL salaries of U.S. national team players.
The two sides on Monday also announced they had agreed to extend a no-strike/no-lockout agreement under the current collective bargaining agreement between the federation and the U.S. national team players until March. The contract expires on Dec. 31.
The two sides were back at the table on Monday. What does this mean? It reinforces what folks close to the negotiations have told me: A deal isn’t likely to be struck by Dec. 31. But they’re talking.
It also means that the national team players are allowed to join the NWSLPA, which no doubt strengthens the union. THIS IS KEY.
But this also means the NWSL teams will be responsible for all player salaries. Which is, well, an issue.
So I was going to talk about Krashlyn and Florida State on this post too, but that’s just not happening. I appreciate you guys putting up with me.
Soccer never sleeps.
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Congrats to the Seminoles!
Here’s a bit of my interview with Alex.
Annie: Kind of give me your feelings about moving back to the West Coast?
Alex: Well, I have a lot of feelings about joining San Diego (laughs). I mean, I just have a lot of excitement and eagerness. I know Jill, I know Molly. I’ve heard great things about Casey. So you already have three people they’re like on the ground ready to dig in and make this club like a contender for a top spot in the league in its expansion year, which is kind of something I think many clubs can’t really say. It’s a really ambitious club and I think Casey’s been a very ambitious coach since ending her playing career. But for me personally, I’m just like ready to go back to California. Growing up there. I think me and my husband always looked at settling down in San Diego, in northern San Diego, and that’s where we will be training at the Polo Fields. So it’s kind of just like a full circle for me, I’m just ready for Charlie to be home and like see a lot of her family on a weekly basis.
Annie: You’ve been part of an expansion franchise before with the Pride and being part of the Thorns in their inaugural season. What are you most excited about with the Wave?
Alex: I think something I’m really excited about is that I’ve made a long term commitment to this club. I see myself being in San Diego through my playing career. I see my family settling down in San Diego, and I see the ability, now that I’m more experienced and have been in having created Together and being more on the sports business side of things, to be able to contribute to an expansion club in a greater way than I’ve ever been able to before.
Annie: It’s got to be a little bit sad for you though leaving the Pride, you had a wonderful run there, really close friendships and relationships.
Annie: What did your time at the Pride mean to you?
Alex: Orlando really gave me you know, an amazing opportunity to be a franchise player t,o get to know the ownership group, the front office, and really every single player thus far that has come through the Pride because I was there first signing. They’ve, just given me so many opportunities to be a captain, to be a leader on the team, to be the player I wanted to be. And I feel grateful for that. I feel grateful for the, the friendships and for the fan base that supported us, the Black Swans, especially. I really do love I did love my time in Orlando, it was it was six years, give or take with pregnancy, and a couple of other you know, hurdles and World Championships and things like that. But it was an incredible run and I I just wish that we could have made more and more of an impact on the field. I wish I could have left with with more of a grin on my face knowing that we had to accomplished what we set our minds to in Year 1. But I know that you know with a change of ownership and a little bit of a rebuilding year they’re in good hands and I know for me, I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my career.
Annie: Given what has happened in the NWSL this season, and all the turbulence, are you hopeful for the future of this league?
Alex: Part of me is very hopeful because of the proactiveness of the players, of the just willingness by the players to be vocal, supportive — really digging in their heels into want to change this league, and not only make it survive, but flourish. Part of me is not so hopeful in terms of the speed at which things are going right now. I think a lot of players within the NWSLPA were very hopeful of a CBA getting finalized by the end of itself final. It’s not only not been finalized, but I feel like it’s really slowed down since the NWSL season ended. And, I think that’s impacting the players the most, negatively, because of the uncertainty for a lot of players in a lot of clubs, hesitation in signing players because of the unknown, and the salaries, the salary caps and a lot of other information. So I think in terms of San Diego, I’m very hopeful and I know that they’re very ambitious, but at the same time we can’t operate as one of the best leagues in the world, or San Diego being one of the best clubs in the world, without a league that has a well run engine — meaning a front office that digs in, listens to what the players, cares about what they say and like the reasoning behind that. I was on Meg Linehan’s podcast and having a discussion with Marla Messing, and I stressed the importance of a Challenge Cup not being in the preseason, of a season having possibly a mid-season break, and then elongating the season so players don’t have a four-month offseason. But I just don’t think that the league is listening to us. They really need to in order to make this a successful league so I guess it’s like twofold in a way.
Annie: Why do you think that is? Especially in light of what is happening, why don’t you think the league is moving quicker on both investigations and on making changes?
Alex: With investigation, I’ve personally spoken to Sally Yates and I know that at least with US Soccer hiring Sally Yates, I know that she’s looking at everything and they’ve you know, brought into the scope to every anything and everything she’s wanted to I have not spoken to another investigator. So that’s, you know, hopefully the NWSL has an investigation well underway. Now that’s a little bit concerning. But to your second part asking why they’re not listening to the players, I think that in a way, the League is a little short sighted with looking at pleasing sponsors and broadcasting before listening to what the players really need. You know, we’re the ones that make the league and we’re the ones that can bring it to the top or bring it to the bottom and we really need to be empowered to bring it to the top.
And so in that way, like I’m not extremely hopeful at this moment, or optimistic at this moment that things are going to progress in the speedy way that we really need it to, because of the years and time lost by the league acting poorly.
|By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer|
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