NWSL has a CBA! — Trinity Rodman signs a big deal — NKOTB dominate the SheBelieves roster — Alex Morgan interview

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, February 7, 2022

Big week in women’s soccer, if you hadn’t noticed. Here’s a rundown:

  • A new (and first!) collective bargaining agreement for the players of the NWSL.
  • NWSL teams officially open training camp
  • Trinity Rodman signs a new contract with the Spirit, and it’s a doozy.
  • The USWNT announces its roster for the SheBelieves Cup.

But let’s roll it back to last Monday, shall we? In the nick of time, and only a few hours after I filed last week’s The IX newsletter, the NWSL players association announced it had ratified a historic first collective bargaining agreement. The only this missing was the NWSL’s Board of Governors’ approval, which came the next day.

Here’s my story! More details have trickled out since the initial announcement, which you can read here.

We got a few moments with Portland defender Emily Menges this past week, and she refected on the process:

“It has been a long 10 months doing this. I mean, I’ve learned more about CBAs than I ever thought I would. We always — the bargaining committee and the board of reps and everyone who’s been involved with this, we kind of joked back in the beginning, we had no idea what was going on. And our lawyers — we were just trying to teach our lawyers what soccer was and the rules and why things were important to us and how far we’ve come.”

She continued:

“We are very happy with the CBA, I hope the league is too. I don’t know if you saw Yael Averbuch’s post afterwards, just kind of relating it to a symbiotic relationship, like the better the players are treated and the better standards that are set, the better the league wil get. It’s not us versus league. It’s everybody bringing everybody up.”

For those who did not see Averbuch’s post, here it is. Well put.

It’s important to note, now that the CBA had been adopted, we’ll be seeing more Rodman-esque deals, although probably not as rich. Her base salary will be in the neighborhood of $280K per year, more than Alex Morgan’s reported salary of $250K. (U.S. Soccer stopped funding the salaries of national team players in December.)

And while the base salary between Rodman and Morgan may differ, Morgan has lucrative sponsorship deals that Rodman does not yet have. Although they’re certainly coming.

Here’s the roster. Oh, and loved how the right-wing media spun Megan Rapinoe’s absence as her being “dumped” by the national team. I noticed is a lot of these conservative fever-dream sites are just mining for data, which I’m guessing they sell, which is how they stay afloat. So don’t click ’em. I turned off my google notifications for “Rapinoe” it got so bad. Much better for my mental health. And just so there’s no ambiguity: Megan Rapinoe is a nice person and a freaking great soccer player. So lucky to have seen her score an Olympico.

Who among the youngsters will … just gonna leave this here.

Links!

Breaking news from today: the Challenge Cup schedule dropped. I’m cursing at the sports gods because the Thorns-Reign match at Lumen falls on the same day that Portland is hosting opening round NCAA tournament games. Damn.

First off, this is a must read from ESPN’s Caitlin Murray on the national team contract talks. Tons of interesting information here.

Thank you, Angela Salem.

The Kansas City Star looks at the Current heading into the season.

ESPN’s Murray looks at the new CBA Murray also wrote about the USWNT roster.

Dan Lauletta breaks down the new CBA for The Equalizer.

Meg Linehan’s CBA story for The Athletic.

The EEOC has asked to join the Equal Pay appeal.

I covered Trinity Rodman signing a BIG new contract. Steven Goff with the Washington Post, far better at this than I am, was among the outlets that broke the story.

Alex Morgan says Mana Shim has unfinished business. See below for all of Morgan’s comments!

SI’s Avi Creditor writes about the SheBelieves roster and looks at how no one’s spot is garanteed.

The Melbourne victory are helping Afghan women return to the pitch.

Howard Megdal, maybe you’ve heard of him, writes for Forbes about how the new CBA ties into Trinity Rodman’s deal.


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Alex Morgan on Mana Shim, the Wave and the USWNT roster!

So, San Diego’s Alex Morgan and Naomi Girma spoke to the media last week. Apologies, for brevity I just included a few things that Morgan said here. Stay tuned for more with Girma in a future The IX post as we get closer to the season.

Morgan: The beginning of preseason has been great so far. It’s been a long time coming. Just to get all the players in, kind of get to know everyone put faces to all the names and also get to know the coaching staff, it’s just been really nice — breath of fresh air and super positive in this environment so far. And just a lot of good talent on this team. I only have positive things to say about it. And I’m looking forward to continue to train with the team.

Question: What’s it like when you’re on a brand new team? What’s that like the first week of training?

Morgan: I think we all know a couple of the players but none of us really came in here knowing everyone, so it’s a lot of getting to know players’ tendencies, kind of having soccer and non-soccer chats, just in and out of this training environment and just kind of seeing the way it works, seeing the way that the coaches want to have the schedule. Everything’s kind of new, so it’s kind of taking it as it goes the first couple of days. I just feel like got ready, like three days in, we’ve already got the hang of things. But Day 1 and 2, definitely a little bit of nerves, figuring it out, just kind of like trying to act like you know exactly what’s going on when you actually have no idea what’s going on.

Question: Regarding the rivalry aspect of it. LA has signed some big name players as well, Christian press, and Julie Ertz. Will it that match the rivalries that the San Diego Loyal has?

Morgan: I don’t know the relation with San Diego Loyal necessarily with this. But I will say in terms of two expansion teams and San Diego and LA being so close, there’s obviously just going to be a natural rivalry. We’ll have to wait and see obviously, for the first matches against us, I think we might, you know, be playing playing them coming up in the next month or two. And obviously they’ve they’ve built a great roster, just like ourselves. So, I think that there’s already something to be had, but I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily like a huge rivalry just yet until we kind of step on the field.

Question: What has it been like to have Mana Shim on the training field especially with just everything that came to light towards the end of last year?

Morgan: Mana’s one of my best friends. And so to have her here is just great for me. To have one of my best friends in the same city, being able to play with her, knowing her qualities, and just having a fellow lefty as well, is always really fun. And you know, she has unfinished business. So it’s always great to see someone so committed, in the middle of law school, to comin in and commit to playing in the NWSL. Just her energy has been really great with this team. She’s a really great culture person. I can only speak highly of Mana and what she’s gone through over these last eight years and now getting the chance to come back knowing that she can feel completely free and comfortable in this environment after the work that she and the NWSLPA have all fought for in these last 18 months. It just feels really great for her to be back in an environment where she is welcomed and protected.

Question: Wondering if you had any conversations with Vlatko about what your outlook is national team-wise for the year?

Morgan: I had a great conversation with Vlatko. He wants to continue to see some of the younger players, continue to give them a chance. I saw some of his quotes and they were a lot of what he spoke with me about. And for me, it’s exactly right. I haven’t played in a match in a few months and so it’ll be great to have an entire preseason with San Diego. Get some preseason games in, and just really get my game, my match fitness up like it was last year. Get in that routine of training and playing every single day, every single week, and then just continuing to showcase my best self on the field as we get into Challenge Cup season.

Question: What is it like working with Casey?

Morgan: I love how organized Casey is. She’s also very communicative with players and she’s very upfront with her expectations. I just appreciate the transparency. She’s also a former player, but not relying on that. She is someone who prides herself in being a coach and in like leading this team. Just being coached by her even these last few days, you can just see the attention to detail that each player really appreciates when they show up to training each day.


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
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Eleni Demestihas, @strongforecheck, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Annie Peterson