The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, November 9, 2020

The Unprotecteds: A look at the NWSL's pre-expansion draft protected players lists and what they mean — A few moments with Abby Dahlkemper at USWNT camp — Must-click woso links

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At first glance, the list of unprotected players for the upcoming NWSL expansion draft is pretty eye-popping.

Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, Adrianna Franch, Christen Press, Becky Sauerbrunn, Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris.

With the list of players available, you could create a SUPERTEAM right? I mean, imagine Rapinoe, Heath and Press together on a single club. (Yeah, I know we’ve seen them together on the national team level, but …)

So there’s a couple things: Guessing newly engaged Rapinoe isn’t headed to Louisville. Sauerbrunn finally came home to Portland, so she’s not going anywhere. Heath and Press are with Manchester United through May, presumably. Then they’ll be prepping for the Olympics.

And the rules just don’t allow for the superteam scenario: Racing can select two non-federation players or one federation player off each of the other team rosters, but no more than two total federation players.

Each team was allowed to protect a pair of allocated players and 11 total players.

But it gets interesting where money is concerned. If Racing doesn’t select an allocated player, it gets $150,000 in allocation money. If it selects only one, the team gets $75K

And that money could come in very handy if the team is aiming for a big prize, namely Catarina Macario, in the NWSL draft. She’s young! She’s the future!

Jeff Kassouf explains it way better than me in his story for The Equalizer here. Meg Linehan also wrote an explainer for The Athletic here.

Chicago already traded forwards Yuki Nagasato and Savannah McCaskill to Louisville and got full roster protection. So Julie Ertz and Alyssa Naeher are staying put. Racing also brought in Cheyna Matthews as a roster begins to take shape.

The draft is Thursday. Should be interesting.

One last thing I’d like to say here. ESPN laid off a lot of people last week, and one of them was Graham Hays. This is a big blow to coverage of women’s soccer and women’s sports in general on that platform. Hays was the only national reporter I know of that covered women’s college soccer as a regular beat. He also was THE source for college softball. His voice is important, and his departure should be a concern for all of us who care about women’s sports.

A word about our friends at The GIST

Howard here again: I want to take a moment to shout out the folks at The GIST, a twice-weekly men’s and women’s sports newsletter that’s written by women. The work in this industry to change how often women are covering sports matters just as much as how often women are covered in sports, and The GIST does that while getting you up to speed in just five minutes, twice a week, on both men’s and women’s sports. Sign up for free and see the folks doing this important work.


(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!

Speaking of The Equalizer, here’s Rachael Kriger’s mock expansion draft. And here’s Dan Lauletta’s mock draft.

Katie Whyatt for The Athletic on mighty Manchester United. Whyatt also wrote about Alex Morgan’s debut for Tottenham.

The AP also wrote about Morgan’s debut.

Also wanted to point out this really good story by my AP colleague John Pye on soccer and the indigenous community in Australia.

Sandra Herrera took a look at the expansion draft for CBS Sports.

Jaelene Hinkle retires, from Front Row Soccer.

Let’s not forget about Emily Sonnett! From Soccer America.

Indy Week did a nice feature on Utah’s Tziarra King.

Annie Costabile for the Chicago Sun-Times on the potential rivalry between Chicago and Louisville.

Steve Hamlin wrote a nice feature on Kealia Watt for the NWSL’s website.

NPR looked at Afghanistan’s women’s team.

Canada’s new coach Bev Priestman is embracing her new job, from Signa Butler of CBC Sports.

Story on The Ultimate Goal, a six part reality TV show/competition about women’s soccer. One note about this. One of the contestants was Emma Coolen, who was the FIFA liason for the Netherlands at the World Cup. She was professional in her role and a fun follow on Twitter. Sadly, she has retired from the game since filming the show. I hope she stays involved in the game.—%20Emma%20Coolen%20(@emmacoolen24)%20a%20href=

Also, I’m a sucker for babies. You all know this. So here’s Alex and Charley:

Five at The IX: Abby Dahlkemper

Here’s Abby’s session with the media on the final day of camp for the USWNT. I wanted to share it because Abby’s a player we don’t hear from all that often.

Oh, and watch the video embedded above. It’s great.

Question: How’s it going?

Dahlkemper: It’s going well. I think this year been really tough on everyone. But I think getting back together as a group was really important for us. And it’s exciting. And, U.S. soccer and the coaches and staff and everyone involved has done such an amazing job to make us feel safe and comfortable. Health is obviously first and foremost. So everyone felt safe and everyone’s healthy. And we’ve been able to get really good training in despite the cold. But it’s been awesome and all the players are doing well and fun.

Question: There was a big trade last week with your club team. Although it’s early, how do you think your team looks with the departure of Crystal Dunn?

Dahlkamper: I mean, like you said, it’s still early. But, you know, I can’t say enough good things about Crystal, on and off the field. Obviously, everyone knows what you can bring on the field, but off the field, in the locker room and stuff, she was really important. So Portland’s really lucky. They’re getting a good one. So I only wish her well. I think Casey Murphy did amazing last time we played her. So she’ll be a great addition to the team. I mean, I think it’s hard to tell what the future holds for the Courage, but we’re going to work hard and come pre-season, February or March, whenever it starts next year, I think we’ll be ready. Given the players we have, we’ll make do with what we have.

Question: You’ve seen so much success on just about every level in your career. Club, country, college. Are there more goals that you set for yourself that you haven’t achieved? And if so, what are those? And then my second question for you, as far as the national team goes, there’s a lot of new players in camp, can you name one or two who you’ve never played with before or trained with, who have really impressed you?

Dahlkepmer: First of all, I feel super fortunate to be able to have been a part of very successful teams, like you said, and being able to win at the collegiate level and professional, and the World Cup obviously was a dream come true. So definitely as athletes and I think people in general, I think it’s good to set goals and dream big. So obviously, I’m hoping to be on the roster for the Olympics next year. I mean, definitely a goal of mine. I think just more in general, too, just continuing to improve and trying to be the best player that I’m capable of being. I said this the other day, but iron sharpens iron. And I think that definitely rings true to the competitive environment in this national team. Leading into your next question, there’s been so many new faces here in camp and a lot of the players that have done well in the NWSL are getting a chance here, and I think that’s amazing. The competition in the player pool is so deep and so good. To name a few, I think, Kristie Mewis has been doing really well. And I was very impressed with Catarina Macario as well. Sophia Smith has been doing well, too. She was in camp in January but that feels like long time ago. But I think in general everyone that’s come in to this environment that’s new has done really well. It’s a journey and it’s a process.

Question: What what has your impression been of like of Vlatko so far and what has he brought to the group?

Dahlkemper: Vlatko’s amazing and the staff he’s brought in has been unbelievable. I think, first and foremost, there’s a sense of positivity. But he also sets us to a standard and he doesn’t let us drop below that standard, which I think is a really good thing. I feel lucky because I play defense and he played defense in his career. So he works a lot with the defenders. I think that’s amazing. I feel like I’m learning so much under him. He communicates well, I think he manages players well, his drills are awesome that he sets up for us. We just had a defenders’ practice earlier today. I think there’s just this refreshed sense of excitement. He came in obviously at a tough time where we didn’t know that the pandemic was going to hit and a troubling year. But he’s handled it great, him and his staff. He’s making us players feel challenged and wanting to grow and get better, and that’s the most important thing. I can’t say enough good things Vlatko and the rest of his staff that have come on and really challenged us. But I think challenging and having it be hard is good because that’s where you get better.

Question: During the summer an the early part of the fall, what kind of a presence was he?

Dahlkemper: I think he did a really good job of managing us in a sense where, he didn’t get too much involved in the NWSL stuff, but he also obviously was there in Utah with there in Utah during the Challenge Cup and took notes on our game and the games that we had, and certain things that we need to get better at, or certain areas that he thinks we should work on, which was awesome. He was keeping in contact with us all, and was able to watch the Challenge Cup and the fall series and give us feedback on those games, but also give us some extra work that we could be doing, after our NWSL practices or five minutes or 10 after that practice concluded while we’re still on the field, do X, Y, Z exercises, which I found really helpful and awesome to always incorporate. So I think he did a really good job at managing us and incorporating the things that he still wants to implement with us on this team and even things that we can implement on the club level as well.

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 Sarah Kellam @sarahkellam, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Annie Peterson