Angel City hires Freya Coombe, Christen Press heads west — Olivia Moultrie interview

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, August 23, 2021

Let’s get right into it.

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It’s a busy day for Angel City!

The not-unexpected news is that Christen Press is the team’s first signing. Shocker. Not.

The Athletic’s Steph Yang talked to Press about the move.

Actually surprising: The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf reported yesterday afternoon that Freya Coombe has been named the new head coach of Angel City FC. To which everyone instantly responded: “Wow!”

The team made it official this morning.

Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times spoke to Coombe about the move.

And Meg Linehan covered it for The Athletic. Coombe told Meg she was 100 percent committed to Gotham until the end of the season.

No slight on Coombe, because she’s a good coach and a great hire, but it was frankly unusual. Just last month it appeared that Sean Nahas was the front-runner, until he wasn’t. And in looking at it, I don’t think it was meant to be announced this way.

It was really unexpected to see midseason coach poaching in the NWSL.

Some suggested Gotham move on now.

There are a couple of positive things about this: Good that Angel City FC hired a woman. Now Yael Averbuch at Gotham FC can hire one, too! Except, who?

News aside, I wanted to write a bit about the Women’s International Champions Cup, which took place here in Portland, and, parallelly, the Women’s Cup, which was hosted by Racing Louisville.  

I love the idea of putting European teams up against NWSL teams and letting them duke it out. I’m just not sure how much of a measure it is when it comes to the “debate” about how the NWSL stacks up against Europe. Not to be a homer, but Portland showed up for the tournament with two exciting games: We saw Olivia Moultrie’s first professional goal (directly on a free kick!) in the first game and Morgan Weaver’s game-winner in the second, against Lyon no less. But, the Thorns are in midseason form, while Lyon is essentially in training camp.    

Thorns coach Mark Parsons, who will head over to Europe with Netherlands following the season, was asked about the comparison between NWSL and European teams following the win against Lyon.

It frustrates me when we — if there’s a good team in Europe or bad team in Europe we’ll say that Europe is good or Europe is bad, or if a team is great in the NWSL or does bad in the NWSL, the NWSL is good or bad. No, players are good, teams are good, clubs are good. I’m not sure why we always attach it to the league. I think what this shows, especially the result in Louisville as well, is that there are world-class players in Europe there’s world-class players in the NWSL. And there’s world-class teams. I think the Portland Thorns, playing the way they did against Lyon, the club with the most trophies in world football, playing that way as an NWSL team, dominating in possession and dominating in control is really important because we’re very quick to put a cliché, a stamp on a whole league. The NWSL is the highest energy, the most demanding, the most competitive and the most intense. There’s no argument, but there’s world class teams and players everywhere and there’s really, really good leagues everywhere.”

The WICC is set to expand next year, and possibly the year after that. At the same time, FIFA keeps hyping the possibility of a Women’s Club World Cup. (Although they’ve been hyping it for several years). So it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. But I think we can all agree that an international club competition is a great idea.

On to the links!

Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. ESPECIALLY NOW, as newsrooms are forced to make difficult choices. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

Many links are above, but here’s a few more:

I wrote about CONCACAF’s new competition structure for World Cup and Olympic qualifying, as well as the new Women’s Gold Cup.

I also wrote about Moultire’s first pro goal, as well as Weaver’s winner. Click these about a million times each, so AP knows you care! 🙂

Thorns trade Adrianna Franch.

The NCAA has provided us with five things to know about the women’s soccer season.

The Louisville Courier-Journal looks at the Women’s Cup.

The timing of hope Solo’s claim about Megan Rapinoe is suspect, from CBS Sports. Frankly, there was more interesting stuff in the interview with, which you can find here.

This awesome Liz Clarke from the Washington Post talked to Khalida Popal about Afghan women and sports under the Taliban.

Doug McIntyre from Fox Sports looks at why CONCACAF’s recent emphasis on the women’s game matters.

Jeff Kassouf spoke to Marc Skinner about his move to Manchester United.

Just Women’s Sports on Abby Dahlkemper’s return to the Courage.

Five at The IX: Olivia Moultrie

Here’s what Olivia Moultrie said following her first professional goal in the WICC. Photo credit: Me!

Olivia: Like, the adrenaline was just over the moon and I was just ready to put it away. I’m glad we won. I’m so excited excited about to move on to the next game.

Question: What was the difference in play between the first half and second?

Olivia: I mean, every goal that happened, the whole team was just, keep going, pick it up, our chances are going to come, keep playing our way. And that’s what we did. I think the 30, we didn’t play as much as ourselves and then we just started being true to ourselves and you can see what happened, we came back got the two goals and obviously it carried us through to penalties as well.

Question: Can you talk about your chemistry with Simone?

Olivia: Yeah, me and Simone are out after training just working on crossing, finishing, all that stuff. She’s come over to my house before, we love to train together and I love playing with her, I think that natural chemistry is there.

Question: Olivia, you step up almost every step piece this match, and no one is challenging, you’re the person that’s taking it. What kind of confidence does that give you?

Olivia: Honestly, I am just so grateful that my teammates trust me to be on those, and that everyone knows that hopefully I’ll be able to put a good one together. So really, it’s just their belief in me that helps me just step up to those and give us a chance.

Question: First professional goal, although obviously not an NWSL goal, does it take any pressure off or was it not a factor?

Olivia: I’m not even thinking about it. Honestly I am just so glad I went in because all I cared about was winning the game and for us to move on to the next match and that’s what we did. So, couldn’t be more happy.

Question: How does it feel to be able to compete for a title?

Olivia: I mean, every single match is just important as the last for us, no matter what tournament, or what league or what game. I’m super excited that that its in this, it could be in the league or whatever, but I mean, super excited to hopefully get our first championship or win with the Thorns.

Question: Inaudible about taking the free kick.

Olivia: She actually asked me if I was going to shoot it, and I was like, Hell yes, I’m going to shoot it. And she was like, OK, you freaking got this. And I was like, OK, let’s go.

Question: Is that something that you practiced?

Olivia: I mean, I’ve always kind of worked on those a little bit, but yeah, not specifically planning for that to happen. But, you know, I try to always be ready for something like that. And here we are.

Question: You think it might be something you practice a little more now?

Olivia: Yeah, I’ll probably try to stay on top of it.

Mondays: Soccer

By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer

Tuesdays: Tennis

By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon Freelance Tennis Writer

Wednesdays: Basketball

By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal The Next

Thursdays: Golf

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Fridays: Hockey

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Saturdays: Gymnastics

By Jessica Taylor Price, @jesstaylorprice, Freelance Gymnastics Writer

Written by Annie Peterson