Video game, kit drops and more Canadian drama — San Diego Wave coach Casey Stoney speaks — Must-click women’s soccer links

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, Mar. 6, 2023

Hey! Breaking video game news this morning! EA Sports is gonna add the NWSL!

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So now I guess I’m gonna have to break down and buy the new version.

This past week Canada Soccer said they were going to figure out a way to pay the women’s team for work done LAST YEAR. It’s an interim funding agreement. Imagine working for a full year and not getting paid!

The two sides issued a joint statement that said the terms of the agreement include “per-game incentives and results-based compensation” similar to an agreement with the men’s team. The federation is still negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with both.

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Canada Soccer is in the midst of some serious upheaval. Its national teams are both angry, and President has Nick Bontis resigned. Even the Canadian government is getting involved: A Parliament committee has invited players from the women’s team to testify in Ottawa on March 9 about their concerns.

“While I have been one of the biggest proponents of equalizing the competitive performance environment for our Women’s National Team, I will unfortunately not be leading this organization when it happens. I acknowledge that this moment requires change.” — Bontis in a statement last week

Five-time Canadian Olympic track team athlete Charmaine Crooks was appointed Canada Soccer president in the interim.

I’m glad that the players are finally getting paid for last year, but I don’t see a resolution to this issue happening anytime soon. The women want true equal pay, similar to the USWNT, with even distribution of prize money, and the men have talked about percentages.

The Wave released their home/away kits for this season:

Courtesy of The Wave

Gotham released a new kit too!

Courtesy of Gotham

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The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf spoke to Casey Stoney and Ali Riley about the schedule dilemma.

Just Women’s Sports previews the San Diego Wave.

Chloe Ricketts becomes youngest player to sign an NWSL contract.

This is great. Good for the Pride. White shorts need to go.

The Athletic reports that the Utah Royals are coming back.

Here’s the under-23 team headed to Portland for a preseason tournament.

Good analysis here from Kim McCauley on Mal Pugh’s goals, for The Athletic.

If there’s one player to root for this season, it’s Sinead Farrelly.

Interesting story on Ali Riley and marketing/sponsorship deals.

The latest from The Athletic’s awesome series ahead of the World Cup with Sam Coffey.

Ms. Magazine on retirement inequity in soccer.

World Soccer Talk with a roundup of outrage over the Saudi deal.

Good story from Meredith Cash on Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe for Business Insider.

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Five at The IX: Casey Stoney, San Diego Wave

Casey Stoney. (Photo via screenshot)

Stoney: We’ve had a really good kind of three and a half weeks, team have been working really hard. Obviously working on our physical fitness and the new relationships within the team and it’s great to have the internationals back offer a long spell away.

Question: What are you focusing on in the preseason matches, is it player performance or team chemistry?

Stoney: I think obviously, it’s about players. You know, I’m not really focused on individual performances too much at the moment. It’s about building relationships, building chemistry and building performances. I think players players have a long offseason here, in my opinion, it’s too long, so it takes them a little while to get back in. But more about the chemistry and the relationships and just having a go at the new, kind of, new little nuances to the game that we’ve been in trying to bring in.

Question: How do you approach playing time? Do focus on letting the internationals get their feet under them again, or is it letting the people that have been her keep getting their work?

Stoney: It’ll be a mixture, depends on what loads they’ve had since they’ve been away what they’re dealing with what we’re managing with them since they’ve come back. So we’ll we’ll manage each individual and it will be about some of them getting some playing time, some of them won’t play at all. It’s based on what we think is right for this game and also making sure we continue our preparation with everybody else that has been here.

Question: What can you say about the FIFA best awards and Alex Morgan?

Stoney: Well, I’m very biased. I’m her head coach, and she scored a hell of a lot of goals for me last season and was an outstanding player in this league. And especially for us, the form that she showed. She was left out of the national team got back in and has had incredible form since then. So I think her leadership, her goals, her games, she was right up there as one of the best in the world last year.

Question: What do you think she needs to do to win next year?

Stoney: Being second best in the world isn’t bad, is it? So? She’s got a World Cup ahead of her. She’s got a big season with us ahead of her. If she can continue that form, there’s no reason why she can’t be the best in both, best in the world next year.

Question: You coach Mary Earps, what can you say about her.

Stoney: I signed Mary for Manchester United. Just incredibly, immensely proud of her because I know the difficulty that she went through. She was left out of the national team by Phil Neville and I was her head coach then, and she went through a really difficult time mentally and emotionally with that decision. She went away. We worked really hard with her on focusing on herself, focusing on her club game. She’s got an incredible goalkeeper coach in Ian Wilcock at Manchester United. It’s credit to her. She put her head down. She worked hard. She’s so diligent about everything she does and she’s gone and had an absolutely unbelievable European Championships and is deserving of of winning that award.

Question: Given the changes and transition in the league, what are you expecting in league play and what the competition will look like?

Stoney: Well, I think the hardest thing here is the amount of turnover of head coaches this year. The amount of turnover and change within clubs is unbelievable so we have no clue how some teams are going to play. So I think for the first half of the season, everyone will be working each other out again. I still expect a very fast, physical, transitional league. And I think it’ll be extremely competitive as it always is. So yeah, I can’t give you more of an answer than that, I’m afraid, with the amount of turnover this season.

Question: How are you sort of tackling a very different season this time around?

Stoney: Yes, it’s different. It’s very different. Obviously in England FIFA windows are FIFA windows. You don’t play through them. That’s very different here and it’s something I’d like to see drastically changed. I’d like us to follow the FIFA windows. I’d like the calendar to change. So it’s something you have to manage, you have to build your squad for. Obviously, we’re trying to make sure we play as many highly competitive games against NWSL opposition as we can during preseason so we can get our eyes on those teams, and also try and get our eyes on other teams that are playing during preseason so we go into the season a little bit more informed. I’ve got a great analysis team here as now so they’ll be working on game 1, 2, 3 to make suyre we have every bit of information that we need so that we can prepare the team. Yes, it’s a different year, it’s a World Cup year, we’re going to play through that. So there’s potential, that if internationals do well, they could miss four regular season games, three Challenge Cup games, that’s seven games a year that they’ll miss. And next year, I don’t think it’s gonna be much different because it’s an Olympic year. So until we change the calendar, which I would urge us to with some imminence, until we move towards not playing through FIFA windows, which I’d urge us to do, I think we’re still going to have these challenges but it’s my job as a head coach to navigate those and make sure we’ve got the right squad available during those windows and that we prepare everybody and everybody’s ready to go.

Question: I’m wondering how much of how do you let the players form chemistry among each other and when do you decide to intervene with players that need more coaching?

Stoney: It think that’s the art of coaching is knowing what to and when. Who needs help, how do they need it? When do you let them discover themselves, how to let them go through that self-discovery and allow them to make mistakes that they can learn from them. I think that’s the art of coaching is knowing OK, they’ve made that mistake, can they self correct, do they have the knowledge to self correct? If they’re making the same mistake three, four or five times, then it’s my job as a coach to help guide and paint pictures so that they can make better decisions on the field. But I’m a big believer in a coaching philosophy that creates decision-makers. It creates players that aren’t afraid to make mistakes, take risks and be brave and they can understand the game at a very high level because you’re putting them in situations where they have to deal with chaos, where they have to problem solve. It’s also your job to guide sometimes, and direct, and I think the art of coaching is knowing when to do what.

Written by Annie Peterson