The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson for November 25, 2019

In which BREAKING NEWS interrupts my carefully crafted plans for Soccer Monday. Plus Carli being Carli.

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An uncertain Reign

News broke a couple of hours ago that the Reign FC has entered into “exclusive negotiations’’ to sell the club to OL Groupe, the parent company of Olympique Lyonnais.

You can read all about it here. Honest question: Did anyone see this coming? I sure didn’t. I was still of the mindset that Barcelona would be the first European club to branch into the NWSL.

The Predmores will retain minority ownership. The Equalizer spoke exclusively to Bill Predmore about how the deal went down.

Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Enquirer was already asking the hard questions: “Will Jean-Michel Aulas let the Reign be a destination on their own, or use them as a farm team for Lyon and pick off players when he wants to?”

It remains to be seen what happens with this. First, Aulas is not afraid of spending money. A good thing! But I can’t help be skeptical for a bunch of reasons, mostly having a majority owner that isn’t part of the city/community where the team plays.

On a personal note: Please bring Wendie Renard to the NWSL! And Jacqueline Purdy first mentioned it on Twitter, but right now would be a good time to hire Silvia Neid as the Reign’s new head coach.

OK, now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Never ever thought I’d say this, but HOW ‘BOUT THEM COUGS!

Washington State has emerged as the Cinderella team of this season’s NCAA Tournament, knocking off top seed Virginia, before downing West Virginia 3-0 to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.

Coach Todd Shulenberger, who has led the Cougs for five seasons, is totally embracing the underdog role.

“We’re just a little team from Pullman, Washington, and we’re coming to do some work,” he said after the Cougars’ historic win on Sunday. Washington State’s victory over Virginia two days earlier was their first over a top-seeded team.

Morgan Weaver had a brace against West Virginia, bringing her season total to a career-high 14 goals. She has 42 for her career, second-best in program history. Some of you may remember her from the U-23 national team that played in the Thorns’ Spring Invitational earlier this year. She’s a senior, so you may see her join up with an NWSL team next season.

Otherwise, all the other top seeds, and the No. 2 seeds, all went through.

A quick look at the Elite Eight: (Oh, and fun fact: If it all falls right, there could be an all-Pac-12 Final Four.)

The aforementioned Cougars (15-6-1) play at No. 2 seed South Carolina on Friday. The Gamecocks (19-1-3) finished the season ranked No. 5. It’s the third time in the last four seasons that South Carolina has made it to the quarterfinals. I actually think this is winnable for the Cougs. We’ll see.

Top-seed Stanford plays No. 2 BYU. This is the one to watch, in my opinion. The Cougars (21-0-1) are undefeated this season, reaching the quarterfinals for just the third time in program history. Can they knock off the top-ranked team in the country? Catarina Marcario has 30 freaking goals this season for Stanford (21-1-0). She is not human.

Top seed and defending champion Florida State hosts No. 2 seed UCLA. The seventh-ranked Bruins (17-4-1) are making their third straight trip to the quarterfinals. Always watch Jessie Fleming. The Seminoles (18-5) got down by a goal against USF on Sunday but rallied to win it. Deyna Castellanos scored on a PK for her 48th career goal, second-most in program history.

Last but not least, North Carolina (21-1-1) heads to the Elite Eight for the 31st time in program history. The Tar Heels, ranked No. 2 behind the Cardinal, will host my alma mater, USC, on Friday. The Trojans are 17- 4-1 this season and ranked No. 9. North Carolina has only lost 14 times in the postseason. I don’t really expect this to be No. 15, but the last two times the Trojans made the quarterfinals they won the title. So there’s that.

On to the links!

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!

United Soccer Coaches announces it will bestow Jill Ellis with its Women’s Soccer Award of Excellence.

ProSoccer USA reports that Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger will host a new competition show called GirlStar.

Carli Lloyd says she still might do the NFL thing, but the Olympics come first.

More Lloyd from the NY Post, which really wants this to happen.

More on Lloyd below. Keep reading! 🙂

And yet more Lloyd from SI.

Interesting story on the future of the NWSL’s TV rights.

Landon Donovan names Carrie Taylor his first assistant, from Caitlin Murray.

Yale women’s coach leaves amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Mark Sampson apparently never learned his lesson.

Ainhoa Tirapu on why the players for the Spanish first division went on strike.

FFA announces plan to promote women’s game.

Kieran Theivam for The Athletic on what Dawn Scott brings to England.

Japan Federation looks to start a women’s pro league by 2021. And look, Jonathan Tannenwald is quoted!

The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf hosted the women’s soccer panel at Soccerex USA.

And this was super interesting from The Equalizer, the stats say Sam Mewis was the best player at the Women’s World Cup.

This isn’t the Tweet of the week, but merely a segue into the next section.

So Carli Lloyd spoke to Rich Eisen before her appearance on NFL The Grind on Epix. She touched on a bunch here, mostly the whole NFL kicker thing. I still say this is never gonna happen. Howard Megdal thinks I’m a buzzkill. (Editor’s note: only in this limited way, in all other respects Annie is delightful.) Anyway here, without my editorial comment, is the transcript of the interview. But again, Carli Lloyd will never play in the NFL. (Editor’s note: WE SHALL SEE.)

Eisen: Two time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, two time FIFA player of the year, two time Olympic gold medalist,as a matter of fact scoring the gold medal- winning goals in the finals in the Summer Olympics in Beijing, and then four years later in London, first person to ever score three goals in a FIFA Women’s World Cup final, as she did against Japan in 2015. And most importantly, if you don’t mind, for me, also the first to do all that and be a correspondent on NFL The Grind on Epix tonight. Wednesday night, Eastern Time helped to promote that and her work covering the Eagles and Patriots, none other than Carli Lloyd. How are you, Carli?

Lloyd: Good. How you guys doing?

Eisen: How did you like that, being part of the paparazzi covering a football contest like that.

Lloyd: Very, very interesting. It was obviously a new experience for me, but I really enjoyed it. You know, I’m like, I can’t do this, because I usually am the one getting interviewed. But no, it was a it was a lot of fun. I’m really glad I did. It was definitely out of my wheel house a little bit, but it was great. I thought it was fantastic. I enjoyed it.

Eisen: All right, so Let’s walk through. Are the Eagles your team, if you have one? Are they your team?

Lloyd: They are, yep. I’ve been a Philly sports fan my whole life, just growing up over the bridge in New Jersey. I’ve always rooting for all the sports teams. I would say, you know, football, watching the Eagles is probably my second sport that I watched the most besides soccer.

Eisen: So obviously being around the Eagles then would be something comfortable for you, too. And I imagine, you know, Zach Ertz as well through your teammates, Julie. Correct. Would that be a safe assumption?

Lloyd: Definitely. Yeah, it was it was great to be a part of that. I mean, I met everybody, the top execs in the office for the Eagles all on the sideline in the course of an hour. So it was really cool to kind of be able to see what everything entails. I mean, it’s obviously way different than a soccer game. There’s way more people. It was really, it was really cool. And Zach was gracious enough for me to kind of bug him. I know as an athlete he’s got a routine. And I definitely didn’t want to, you know, kind of, mess up any sort of routine that he had. But he was very gracious enough. And, yeah, he’s a great guy. Class guy, one of the best tight ends. And he’d been exciting to watch since he’s come to Philly.

Eisen: I haven’t seen the finished product yet. That’s on tonight Wednesday, 9:00 Eastern Time. I’ve got a link on my on my phone right now. I’ll be checking it out later before it airs tonight on EPIX. But have you did you cross paths with any Patriots as well?

Lloyd: I didn’t. You you’ve got to take your hat off to the Patriots. I know if I said this in front of Eagles fans, they’d probably probably start throwing things at me. But you’ve got to respect for people that are really good at what they do. And so I have a huge amount of respect for Belichick and Tom Brady. Didn’t get to meet them. But, you know, maybe our paths will cross at some point. But, you know, I thought the Eagles were going to do it at one point. It’s unfortunate not come away with it. But I thought, Zach, given the game, had a had a good game and got some good catches that were important. And, you know, he did what he could do. So it was good to see.

Eisen: Carli Lloyd here on the Rich Eisen Show. One piece of video that I have seen, including one that I just showed on the air here, was you attempting what appeared to be a 27 yard field goal in a sweater coat and runners. And we didn’t see the result, but we saw the kick, and it looked it looked true, Carli.

Lloyd: It did. Yes. I kicked probably five or six of them, they all went one in the uprights. So that was good. I didn’t obviously have my normal attire on. But yeah, believe it or not, there’s obviously a lot of other things that are a bit challenging with big men on the line and people running at you, but I have done in pads and a helmet. And did the two-step. So I realize that I can I can do it, with all that stuff. So it’s just a matter of fine tuning some things and then seeing where we’re at. I mean, first and foremost, I’m focusing on soccer right now, and want to be a part of the Olympics this summer. But, you know, anything’s possible.

Eisen: So in that regard, because, again, we saw video of you doing it in training camp and crushing it, and then a serious conversation did break out. I mean, were you close to signing with an NFL team?

Lloyd: Yeah, it was pretty close. I had two offers to come play in the fourth preseason game. I mean, that would have been the most ideal scenario given the larger roster that they have. But I had a little bit of a dilemma because I had a game myself at the Link, so I wasn’t able to do it. But yeah, it was pretty crazy. And then, I got home in the car, I think an hour after the kick in, and the next thing I know, it’s it’s gone viral. There’s people wondering what team I’m going to sign for. And, you know, kind of getting some of these calls from a couple teams. So it was it was a pretty, pretty crazy moment. I would say it’s still somewhat going on. There’s still some of that buzz. But it you know, it was it was nonstop for several weeks after the kick. [00:06:01][51.6]

Eisen: I bet. I bet. Which teams knocked on your door?

Lloyd: I’ve been keeping that between myself and my husband for now. Nobody knows yet.

Eisen: But I want to pry. Any of them in the Eastern Time zone?

Lloyd: I don’t know, I know they’re in this country, that’s all I can say.

Eisen: So, yeah, there’s no there’s nobody outside the country in the NFL. Is it an animal team? Was the team an animal, can you give me that?

Carli: I don’t know. Can’t disclose.

Eisen: So let’s just put it this way, it is something, that should say, next year roll around, you get through the Olympics, that you would entertain if a team was also as serious as you were on the subject? For you to try and literally make a National Football League team and do this as a professional National Football League player?

Lloyd: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, you know, this isn’t just a publicity stunt or something that I’m just having fun, just kind of stringing the media along. I mean, I know that I can do it. I know that I have the mental capacity in pressure situations. I know that they’d be loads of people that would want to see me fail. That’s no different than the entirety of my career. Loads and loads of people never thought that I could get to this point in my soccer career. So yeah, I definitely would entertain it. But I want to be good at it and I want to be able to do it. And that’s ultimately what it comes down to. And if I can help kind of pioneer and break down some doors for other women in the future, that would be amazing.

Eisen: Well, I got I got to tell you, Carli Lloyd, I have a six-year-old daughter. Very rarely, never once, do I recall pointing out a place kicker to her. I certainly would if you were the one. She’s getting ready for her final game in the AYSO with the Purple Lightning this weekend. But I think for sure that would mean so much to so many people. What would it mean to you for you to actually go ahead and accomplish that, should you be able to?

Lloyd: I think that, you know, it’s what it’s all about. I mean, if I was a little girl, watching football and if I saw a female kicking, that would instantaneously make me want to try to do that, because I’ve always been, growing up, I was always the kid who had no fear of trying different things. I had no fear of jumping in with the boys and playing with them and trying to be better than them. I just wasn’t fearful of maybe not being good at something right away. But then with practice becoming better at it. So I think that it would just give, all of these females and just people around the world, a different perspective. And there’s been women out there who have been so successful and who have broken down doors and barriers and been the first to do something to help pave the way for so many other people. So if I could help do that, that’s really ultimately what it’s all about. So we’ll see what happens. I’m definitely entertaining in and want to make sure that I could go do it right and do it well.

Eisen: Well, one thing’s for sure. Carli Lloyd, you’d be paid equally as everybody else.

Lloyd: I know. You know, it’s crazy. I was just talking to somebody about this, the buzz. And it just goes to show you how big the NFL is, because I think I’ve gotten more press and more coverage, potentially, probably than in my whole soccer career. And soccer is pretty big here. Women’s soccer is pretty big and we’ve been successful, but the NFL, and male sports, is totally in a different limelight. It’s crazy. And we just have to keep keep pushing on, keep making things better, because ultimately that’s that’s really what it’s all about.

Eisen: A few minutes left, Carli Lloyd tonight on NFL The Grind on Epix hanging out with the Eagles prior to their game with the Patriots, right here on the Rich Eisen show. A few more minutes left. I know you’re out there in France and you’re taking care of business. And obviously in previous World Cups. And I’m somebody who is thrilled to be able to put a roof over my head having talked about the NFL with the NFL Network for 16 years. And I am thrilled how big the NFL is. What you and your compatriots did for the U.S. soccer scene, for U.S. women’s soccer. But the United States, period, it was pretty darn huge here this summer, Carli. I mean, you couldn’t go anywhere without anybody talking about it. I have very rarely had somebody call me up and say, `Hey, if you have somebody from the U.S. women’s national team come in studio, you gotta let me know, because I want to bring my kid.’ Nobody really says, `Hey, if you have somebody from this movie or someone from that team on,’ I don’t get that. But I got it this summer. Were you aware are you aware of that?

Lloyd: I think it’s hard when you’re when you’re over there, you’re preparing. You know, we were there for over a month. You kind of just shut the world, the outside world, off. You’re in a different country so you’re not really hearing too much. But, you know, we knew that this was big. And to go back-to-back and win was an unbelievable accomplishment. So it was it was great that we were able to kind of transform the sport into a little bit of a different light. It was incredible.

And I think that we’ve continued to fight, obviously, for equality and equal pay and all that. It’s been amazing. And I think we’re not only setting a standard to make things better here in the U.S. for women and girls who are going to come and play on this national team in the future, but we’re we’re setting the standard for countries all over the world. You know, you look at Australia, the women’s team, they’ve now reached an agreement with their federation to be paid equally as their male counterparts. So there’s more and more teams and more and more countries who are who are fighting, and we’re making it better.

What people don’t realize is that we’ve had we have to work so much harder off the field. I remember in 2015 after winning the World Cup, my life changed. My teammates lives changed. But I had to get back into playing, play for my club team and play for the national team. I had to take every single opportunity, and endorsement, and appearance on. I mean, I was running myself ragged for, you know, a year, two years, because we have to work so much harder off the field to earn a living and be able to sustain this lifestyle and be able to put money away for a future. So it’s got to be better. You know, we should have to, first and foremost, put all our time and effort on the field and not have to work as hard off the field. But that’s the world we’re at now. And hopefully in due time, that will be better and a bit more balanced.

Eisen: I know you’re speaking at Cornell next month on this subject. Is there any update you can give me on on the lawsuit and what’s going on?

Lloyd: Not particularly since everything kind of in discovery period. And we’ve got the attorneys involved. But, yes, it’s ongoing and hopefully we can maybe reach an agreement, pretrial. It’s ongoing and we’ll see what happens in that regard.

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