The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, December 23, 2019

YEAR-END EDITION! Wow, what a year! Where do we even start? How about at the beginning? With a loss.

Scheduling note: this is our free edition this week. Subscribers, you’ll be receiving our year in review, in five parts, all this week! We’ll be off next week, Monday-Wednesday, and resuming Thursday, January 2.

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Sooooooo much has happened in women’s soccer this year, it’s almost overwhelming.

I mean, does anyone even remember the great Women’s World Cup ticketing scandal? I totally forgot that I went to Tampa for a SheBelieves Cup match. Some of it is just a blur.

So because this is so unwieldy, I figured I’d go chronologically for a year-end trip down memory lane. And we’re off …

Jan. 10, 2019: Tierna Davidson decides to leave Stanford early and becomes the No. 1 pick in the NWSL draft. Later, she would be the youngest player on the U.S. roster for the World Cup.

Jan. 19, 2019: The United States starts off the year with a whimper more than a bang, with a 3-1 loss to France in Le Havre. Mal Pugh scored the lone U.S. goal and the win would make France the team for the Americans to beat at the World Cup.

March 8, 2019: Twenty-eight players from the U.S. women’s national team files a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination by U.S. Soccer. Game changing moment. It’s impossible to overstate this.

March 15, 2019: U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro responds to the lawsuit, expressing surprise.

April 13, 2019: The NWSL opens its seventh season.

May 2, 2019: Jill Ellis announces her roster for the Women’s World Cup. Among the surprises is the inclusion of defender Ali Krieger, who had seen only limited call-ups with the team over the past two years. Ellis explained later that experience factored into her decision-making process.

May 6, 2019: U.S. Soccer formally files its response to the gender discrimination lawsuit, denying the players’ allegations.

May 20, 2019: Fans start to notice that their seats might not be together at the World Cup, causing concern especially among families with children that were separated. Eventually FIFA and the local organizing committee would iron most of the issues out.

June 3, 2019: I arrive in London. Same day as Donald Trump. Everyone asks me if I’m in town for that. I’m like, `No man, I’m Canadian.’ LOL.

June 4, 2019: Australia’s players union calls on FIFA to increase the prize money at the Women’s World Cup.

June 7, 2019: FIFA caps its first Women’s Convention by announcing a partnership with UN Women to promote gender equity around the globe. Pretty cool I got to attend the conference. Special thanks to Moya Dodd and Karina LeBlanc for serving as tour guides.

June 7, 2019: France downs South Korea 4-0 in the World Cup opener in Paris.

June 8, 2019: I arrive in Reims and have the one of the worst nights of my professional life. I am so so so grateful to Nancy Armour, Rachel Bachman, Caitlin Murray and Alicia DelGallo for their love and support. And gelato.

June 10, 2019: Jill Ellis downplays comments made by former goalkeeper Hope Solo, who said the World Cup-winning coach “cracks under pressure.” Ellis said: “comments are comments.” I thought that was a wonderfully wry retort on Jill’s part.

June 11, 2019: The United States opens the World Cup with a 13-0 victory over Thailand. Alex Morgan scored five goals.

June 16, 2019: The United States downs Chile 3-0. Carli Lloyd celebrates with a gold clap to answer the critics who felt the team over-celebrated against Thailand.

June 20, 2019: The United States defeats Sweden 2-0 in the final group stage match. Julie Ertz misses the match with a hip contusion.

June 22, 2019: The Wall Street Journal reports that the USWNT and U.S. Soccer have agreed to mediate the gender discrimination lawsuit after the World Cup.

June 24, 2019: The U.S. defeats Spain 2-0 to open the knockout round. Megan Rapinoe converted a pair of penalty kicks.

June 26, 2019: Donald Trump criticizes Megan Rapinoe in a series of tweets after video surfaced of Rapinoe say she wouldn’t visit the (expletive) White House even if the U.S. won the World Cup.

June 27, 2019: Megan Rapinoe, now a household name because of Trump’s tweets, apologizes for using the expletive. So. much. shade.

June 28, 2019: The United States defeats France 2-1 in a World Cup quarterfinal match in Paris. Rapinoe scored both goals, because of course she does.

July 2, 2019: The United States downs England 2-1 in the WC semifinals, earning a spot in the final. Alyssa Naeher finally puts the ghost of Hope Solo behind her by smothering save of Steph Houghton’s penalty attempt.

July 6, 2019: On the eve of the World Cup final, Rapinoe calls out FIFA, decrying the ranged gap in prize money between the men and women, to scheduling that put the World Cup final on the same day as the Gold Cup final in the United States and the Copa America final in Brazil.

July 7, 2019: Budweiser signs a multi-year sponsorship deal with the NWSL. This is significant.

July 7, 2019: The United States defeats the Netherlands 2-0 for its second straight World Cup title. In the celebration afterward, fans in the crown in Lyon chant “Equal Pay! Equal Pay!”

July 9, 2019: I get home! Most challenging assignment of my career, by far. Lots of introspection. I slept for a week then went to Mexico with my kids.

July 29, 2019: U.S. Soccer puts out a release saying it paid players on the women’s team more than the men over a period from 2010 to 2018, but leaves omits that the women played in more matches and were more successful.

July 30, 2019: Jill Ellis announces that she’s stepping down as coach of the team.

Aug. 11, 2019: The Portland Thorns play the North Carolina Courage before an NWSL record 25,218 fans.

Aug. 12, 2019: Former defender Kate Markgraf was named general manager of the U.S. women’s national team.

Aug. 15, 2019: Mediation talks between the players and U.S. Soccer Federation in their dispute over equal pay break down.

Sept. 23, 2019: Megan Rapinoe is named the FIFA women’s Player of the Year. Jill Ellis is named women’s Coach of the Year.

Oct. 6, 2019: Jill Ellis coaches her final game with the USWNT at Solider Field. The United Stats playes to a 1-all draw with South Korea.

Oct. 20, 2019: The North Carolina Courage defeat the Reign 4-1 in the NWSL semifinals. The Chicago Red Stars defeat the Portland Thorns 1-0.

Oct. 25, 2019: Sources confirm that Raign coach Vlatko Andonovski will be the new USWNT coach.

Oct. 27, 2019: The Courage down the Red Stars 4-0 for the NWSL championship. it’s the team’s second straight championship, to go with its second straight Suppoerters Shield. Sam Kerr is the league’s Golden Boot winner for the second straight year.

Oct. 28, 2019: Vlatko Andonovski formally introduced as head coach at a press conference in New York City.

Nov. 11, 2019: The NWSL announces rules changes that increase salaries and the salary cap, among several notable changes.

Nov. 8, 2019: The USWNT is granted class status in the equal pay dispute.

Dec. 2, 2019: Megan Rapinoe wins the women’s Ballon d’Or.

Dec. 9, 2019: Megan Rapinoe is named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, just the fourth woman to earn the honors.

Dec. 13, 2019: Julie Ertz is named the U.S. Soccer women’s Player of the Year.

Dec. 13, 2019: The Women’s World Cup bids for 2023 are announced by Brazil, Japan, Colombia and a joint bid from Australia and New Zealand.

OK. So I know I didn’t include everything. I left out South America’s battles for recognition. The freaking Reggae Girlz! Sam Kerr’s move to Europe. Adrianna Franch getting taunted in Salt Lake City. THERE WAS TOO MUCH!

But I’ll leave on this note: The fact that there’s too much to mention here is a really, really awesome thing. I wrote more about the women’s game his year than ever before, and I’m grateful AP indulged me.

Women’s soccer truly arrived this year, and I’m so lucky I’ve been able to go along for the ride.

With that, I’ll move on to the links. I hope you all had as fun this year as I did, and I’m looking forward to an even better 2020.

BTW, taking next week off of Soccer Monday. Have a blessed holiday season and New Year.

This Week in Women’s Soccer

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

Buzzfeed looks at the Best USWNT moments of the last decade.

The Ringer with it’s look back at the USWNT’s year.

Leander Schaerlaeckens’ look at the USWNT’s year for Yahoo Sports. Leander also broke out Rapinoe’s year.

FIFA realizes that the women’s game is untapped revenue stream, proposes to cheapen the Women’s World Cup by holding it every two years. In case you couldn’t figure out how I feel about this: No, just no.

Stephanie Yang looks as the most influential soccer player of the decade. She listed them alphabetically. This is really thought provoking. I think Abby Wambach is surely high on my list. Marta would be up there too. And Hope Solo. As you know, I have a soft spot for Christine Sinclair. And I loved to watch Celia Sasic. Oh wait, and Nadine Angerer. This is hard.

Sporting News names Carli Lloyd its women’s soccer player of the decade.

The Lyon deal for Reign FC is complete, from ProSoccerUSA.

The Athletic’s Meg Linehan and Paul Tenorio look at U.S. Soccer’s finances. This is a must-read.

Tweet of the Week

Hope is having twins! Love baby stories. And this is all the more heartwarming, because she had a miscarriage.

Five at The IX: Probably the most insightful pre-match press conference I’ve ever attended.

So, for the year-end Five at the IX, we decided we’d look back at our favorite interviews of the year. Instead, I’m going to link to a video. This is the press conference at the World Cup before the quarterfinal match against France.

A couple of reasons to watch: This was the first availability after Trump called out Rapinoe on Twitter. She addressed it head-on.

Also: Stephanie Yang asks the important question about women, and especially women of color, involved in soccer media. While the list of women who cover the USWNT as a beat has grown, even since I started in 2014, there is an alarming lack of women of color. We need to do better, by advocating for young talent and mentoring them.

Rapinoe is also asked about her brother Brian, and her answer is thoughtful. If you don’t know his story, please revisit Gwendolyn Oxenham’s amazing story for ESPN. It is here. This is one of my all-time favorite stories from this year.

This is all worth watching this again, especially in light of her performance.

And of course, “I think I was always popular in France …”

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Stephanie Livaudais, @Livaudais
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Annie Peterson