The IX: Soccer Mondays with Annie M. Peterson, August 17, 2020
GIVEAWAY TIME! Players on the move, plus links and my interview with Kathryn Nesbitt, first female ref to handle an MLS final.
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There were — surprisingly, in the midst of a pandemic — a lot of things happening in women’s soccer this week. Christy Holly will be coach of Racing Louisville, and Sarina Wiegman was hired to replace Phil Neville as coach of England’s national team.
But the biggest news is probably that players are on the move, in a big way. The ball really started rolling with Sam Mewis’ signing with Manchester City last week.
On Sunday Rose Lavelle’s rights were sent to OL Reign, which clears the way for her to move to Manchester City. The Spirit got a 2022 first-round pick and $100,000 in allocation money, with “additional allocation money is also conditioned upon Lavelle’s future NWSL playing status.”
Kelley O’Hara is reportedly on the way to the Washington Spirit, first reported by Paul Tenorio and Meg Linehan at The Athletic.
Dan Lauletta with The Equalizer reported this morning that Emily Sonnett has signed with signed with Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC . His colleague Jeff Kassouf says Alanna Kennedy is off to Tottenham.
Among the other moves (and these are just some):
Chicago’s Emily Boyd is headed to HB Koge in Denmark. Rachel Hill is off to Linkoping in Sweden.
North Carolina’s Hailie Mace is getting some work at Kristianstad in Sweden.
Mace will be joined there by the Reign’s Lauren Barnes. Meanwhile, teammate Nicole Momiki is off to Linkoping in Sweden.
The Pride’s Camila is moving south to Palmeiras in Brazil, while Canadian vet Erin McLeod is off to Iceland to play for Stjarnan.
Sky Blue’s Nahomi Kawasumi is going home to play for INAC Kobe.
You can’t blame these players for opting to head overseas to get work in. And you can’t blame teams for looking at this season as a wash. But as I watch them depart for countries that have soccer right now, it just makes me sad and angry.
WE (theoretically) COULD HAVE HAD A FULL SLATE OF GAMES THIS FALL HAD WE JUST ALL WORN MASKS, SOCIALLY DISTANCED AND STAYED HOME WHEN THIS ALL STARTED BACK IN FEBRUARY.
I don’t know, perhaps a coordinated, thoughtful, science-based national response would have helped.
A friend just lost his mom to COVID-19, two of my colleagues have died. My son doesn’t get his freshman year. Fellow journalists are getting laid off. I worry about my job daily. It’s all so upsetting.
We may be get a diluted NWSL — NWSL lite, perhaps? — starting next month. Steven Goff with the Washington Post reported this weekend that there will be “pods” of games to be announced later week. So stay tuned.
On to the links!
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Here is Goff’s report on the Rose Lavelle deal.
My colleague Howard Megdal wrote about what the Lavelle deal all means.
Chicago’s Vanessa DiBernardo chronicled life in the bubble for 247Sports Network.
The Courier Journal’s take on Louisville hiring Christy Holly as coach.
Katie Whyatt and Molly McElwee with an excellent story here on Lyon’s winning machine for the Telegraph.
Whyatt also profiled Sarina Wiegman, new English national team coach.
Meg Linehan looked at the international coaching Merry-Go-Round for The Athletic.
Seth Vertelney for Goal.com on how Mewis’ move has opened the floodgates.
Annie Costabile chronicles the Red Stars’ moves for the Chicago Sun Times.
The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf with a great analysis of the looming European threat.
Dan Lauletta with a story on how Christy Holly came to be coach of Racing Louisville.
The Daily Tar Heel asked if Anson Dorrance is on the hot seat. Hmmm.
Cerritos College puts coaches on leave after harassment allegations.
A look at how the pandemic has impacted women’s soccer in Mexico.
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TWEET OF THE WEEK
Five at The IX: My Interview with Assistant Referee Kathryn Nesbitt!
I spoke to Kathryn Nesbitt, who became the first woman to officiate an MLS final at the MLS is Back Tournament. My story is here. Nesbitt also was a ref at the World Cup, and made her debut in a group stage match in Reims, which, if memory serves me right, Meg Linehan and I went to for fun because we didn’t have to write about it.
Question: So how do you feel being honored as one of the officials to be named to this game?
Nesbitt: I mean, it’s an incredible honor, I think, for all of us who have been assigned to the final. We all came into this tournament under really unusual circumstances. I think that the entire referee group here worked incredibly hard to have strong performances and to be named to the final means that you’ve had an incredibly strong performance and really shown what you’re worth here. So it’s honestly a huge honor to have made it this far and to be on the field for that game.
Question: How many of our officials who were in the bubble with you and were you the only were you the only woman?
Nesbitt: That’s a good question. I think there was about 45 officials, give or take. And there is one other female, Felicia Mariscal, that was here as well.
Question: What was life been like in the bubble?
Nesbitt: Laughs, it’s definitely been really interesting. I think that we’re all pretty used to it and in a pretty good rhythm at this point. It’s been very actually comfortable here. We’ve all felt incredibly safe. I’ve been so grateful to have opportunities to train, to have this whole time to work with my colleagues. And I mean, honestly, the MLS has done such a great job to keep us safe in a really comfortable environment. So obviously, it’s been a great experience so far.
Question: Since you’re a veteran of other events, also, including the World Cup last year, how does this like how did this experience, imagine it’s kind of the same to be at a World Cup?
Nesbitt: It is. Yeah. The tournament environment was actually really similar to other tournaments I’ve been to. The only caveat is you just couldn’t leave the property, right? Every morning we still got up, we had a field training together. We had in-classroom training and constant learning and getting feedback from our games daily. And obviously, working the games and working together in similar crews. So really, the whole thing actually kind of felt to me, at least, like a normal tournament.
Question: So what you do in this tournament is kind of similaret to what the teams are doing?
Nesbitt: I’d say it’s very similar to what the teams are doing. We would often actually all get dropped off at the same time at training and would just head to our individual fields. And they have meetings as well to learn about the teams, to prepare for matches, and we do the same thing. It’s really like we were just one other team that was here. We just kind of work in a different role.
Question: Youve been doing this for quite a while. Why did you want to become a referee?
Nesbitt: I started doing it as a kid, just to make money. I think a lot of people started that way. But I really got an appetite for the more advanced games and the competitiveness of them and the challenge of them. So it kind of just kept me going and wanting more.
Question: You’re you’re obviously still a rarity in the officiating ranks. Do you think of yourself as as kind of a role model?
Nesbitt: Yes, sure. I like to think that there are some referees out there that look up to me. And I’m I’m really hopeful that I’m putting out a good example and emanating qualities that other officials hope to achieve someday.
Question: What has been your favorite memory of being a referee?
Nesbitt: A favorite memory of all time being a referee? It’s definitely from my first ever World Cup match last year. Just kind of lining up there with the teams and preparing to kind of walk out on the field. For me, that was the my greatest accomplishment and basically a dream come true. So, yeah, that’s definitely my favorite memory.