The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, October 12, 2020
In praise of Sydney Leroux, Sarah Gorden, Christine Sinclair (of course) and Catarina Macario — Scads of links — Vlatko Andonovski discusses national team camp
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This was an eventful past week, so let’s dive right into it.
First off, the national team will hold a camp later this month, and coach Vlatko Andonovski announced his roster. You can see some of his comments below.
The roster was a nice mix of veterans and newbies, while leaving off the players currently in Europe, namely Alex Morgan, Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle, Tobin Heath and Christen Press.
So what do we have left? Turns out there’s a lot, and it starts with Catarina Macario. It was a fabulous moment when Macario was selected to the camp roster and became a U.S. citizen on the same day. I mean, it was so perfect as a reporter, it almost felt planned that way.
But let’s just take a moment to admire Macario’s stats: She scored 32 (freaking) goals last season and had 23 assists, breaking Cardinal records and leading the nation. She’s won back-to-back Herman Trophies and is a three-time ESPNW Player of the Year.
If you’ve never seen her play, do yourself a favor and take a look at some of her goals on YouTube.
Second, Sarah Gorden. Yes, I know, I just did a big story on her and posted an interview with her here for Soccer Monday. But I’m pleased she’s getting a deserved look by Andonovski. And yes, Kristie Mewis and Shea Groom were wonderful additions, too. But even though Gorden was named to last year’s identification camp, I felt like her inclusion here was more of a surprise.
And talk about surprises: Sydney Leroux scored her first goal since 2018 this past weekend when the Pride played the Dash. Pretty cool for Leroux, who was on the 2015 World Cup team. I wrote about Leroux and husband Dom Dywer back in 2017, quoting Kobe Bryant — who described Leroux as a little sister.
After the game, Leroux recalled what Kobe said to her after she had her daughter and was trying to make a comeback.
“I remember texting him like `Do you still believe in me?’ Because he was important. That was the relationship we had, just to talk about real stuff. I was explaining how I was feeling and he was just like `I just want you to master the game and watch film and really look at how the game is going.’ How he studied basketball I needed to study football. So I’ve been really trying to do that and I’ve been really focused in meetings in trying to figure out my movements and what makes me better and puts me in the best positions. It’s obviously really hard for me to talk about but I miss him a lot.”
Last but certainly not least, Christine Sinclair. She finished the fall series with six goals and somehow tapped into the fountain of youth.
BUT HERE’S THE KEY: She said postgame that she’s not retiring.
“I’m not going to retire now. I’m still having too much fun. Can obviously still play the game at a high level. I can’t leave this team now, we’re just getting started.”
I was never all that worried, but it’s nice that it is officially official. Yay!
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I took a look at how athletes are increasingly using CBD to help manage pain, recovery and rest, and how different leagues approach CBD products. I sat down with Rachael Rapinoe for this story.
Nice story on Denise O’Sullivan from Amee Ruszkai at Goal.com.
Oh hi Kim McCauley. Congrats.
I wrote about Jill Ellis’ mentoring program as part of the US Soccer scholarship program.
Meg Linehan with a great story about buying WSL jerseys for The Athletic.
Caitlin Murray talked to Hope Solo about her ongoing fight for equality for Yahoo Sports.
Clair Watkins looks at Catarina Macario’s callup to the national team for The Equalizer.
Jonathan Tannenwald weighs in on Macario for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Sandra Herrera’s take on Vlatko’s comments about the US team’s camp roster.
PopSugar looks at Madison Hammond.
Washington City Paper looks at Aubrey Bledsoe.
Nice story here on Crystal Dunn from Jessica Smetana for Sports Illustrated.
Couple of podcasts of note:
Jeff Kassouf of the Equalizer spoke to Lesle Gallimore for the Kickin’ Back podcast.
Grant Wahl spoke to Becky Sauerbrunn for his Futbol podcast.
The Athletic’s Meg Linehan takes your questions for her Full Time podcast.
BREAKING NEWS! I’m gonna be on Meg’s podcast this week talking a bunch of stuff. You guys have to give it a listen! Then yell at me for my dumb takes!!! But really, totally honored that Meg invited me. I post a link next week, and I’m sure I’ll be tweeting A LOT about it.
Five at The IX: VLATKO ANDONOVSKI
Here’s some excerpts from the Friday conference call with Vlatko Andonovski about the training camp roster!
Question: What has stood out to you about Macario when you scouted her?
Andonovski: I have to say, we’re very happy and excited for her, and for her to take a new step or new chapter, start a new chapter in her life, first and foremost. And then in her career, I’m very excited about about her personally, but I know the federation, everybody’s excited (about her citizenship). And I know that this means a lot, because she’d put a lot in of effort individually, her lawyers, and then the collaborative efforts with the federation, we were able to achieve that, she was able to achieve that.
Anyone who has seen Catarina play in college can tell that she’s a special talent. She’s incredibly skillful, can score in many different ways, and it’s just fun to watch. She’s got a flair. She’s very creative. She’s got the ability to create a great chances at scoring goals that anyone would welcome on a team. So hopefully, she had demonstrated in the college game that she can play on the national team level, because we know that it takes a little bit more to be a special player at that level. But overall, again, very excited for her. For someone that has gone to the process, I know that it is stressful at times, but it is very fulfilling when you obtain the papers. Because the moment you apply for citizenship is the moment when you decide to stay, I want this to be my home. I want this to be my country. And I want to I want to be called a American.’ When you get the papers, it is when you when you feel like you’ve been accepted and you’re wanted, you’re wanted to be part of this country. So I know it’s fulfilling and I know she is excited and we all are for her.
Question: What are your expectations for balancing the mix of players on the roster.
Andonovski: We have a group of players who have been playing for our youth national teams for years and have performed very well. And we still have, some of them that are eligible for the under-20 team, some that are eligible for under-23 as well. But at some point, I need to see them with the senior team. I need to see how they react to the environment, the speed and intensity. This camp will be a great experience for them because it’s obvious the more experienced players, especially the ones overseas, are not going to be here.
So for me, this is a camp that will be two-fold: One, where we get everyone up to speed and help them adjust to what is the new normal. And then the other one, is going to be a little bit of evaluating to see where the young players are in terms of some of the more experienced players — but also more to evaluate all the other players as well for the future.
Question: What are the next steps for Catarina?
Andonovski: From the logistical standpoint, the next step is a U.S. passport, which she already applied for and hopefully we’ll get it soon. And then we’ve got to get the permission from FIFA for her eligibility to play for the U.S. national team.
Question: Are you confident that she will have that before Tokyo?
Andonovski: I’m pretty confident, obviously confident in our federation and Tom King. He’s been through this before. So I think that she will be ready for Tokyo.
Question: Shea Groom and Kristie Mewis, and some of the other players who played well in the NWSL this summer, even Sophia Smith. How much of a reward this is for them?
Andonovski: Yes. I mean, it’s obvious that in this camp we have, like I said, younger players that are on the youth national teams. But we also have a group of NWSL players who have performed well in the Challenge Cup, but also in the fall series. The coaching staff from national team were able to see all the Challenge Cup games live and the majority of the fall series games as well in person. And we’re able to evaluate all the players. There are tthe players that stood out in most of the games, and that’s why they’re rewarded for their good performance.
Question: Wondering if you’ve had conversations with Megan Rapinoe and if you anticipate having her back with the group any time soon?
Andonovski: I’m in constant communication with Pinoe. We had a good talk, and Megan said that she didn’t feel now (was) the time to come back into the team (Annie note: I’m assuming because of coronavirus) and had some of physical concerns, as well. So we’ll continue to monitor her, of course. As I said, she’s not going to be here, and some of the more experienced players are not going to be here. But we’ll just to use this opportunity to evaluate and see more of some of the younger players and see how they fit in the environment.”
Question: Are you are you still planning on having her be in your plans, moving forward to Tokyo?
Andonovski: “Yes, of course. Megan Rapinoe and some of the other players, who are injured players like Carli Lloyd, and the ones that are overseas, they’re all in our plans. I mean, we know that they still have some high quality games in their feet.