The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie Peterson for Monday, May 27, 2019
VOTE! Also: What did we see on Sunday? More fine-tuning. Hey Alex! Don't pay attention to the haters (and we shouldn't either). A shoutout to Howard and quotes with Carli.
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Who will win?
Before I start: It’s community time again. Who do you think will win the Women’s World Cup and why? I post the results next week. Or someone will, because I’ll be in the air.
While I am getting ready here to finish some projects before I head overseas, there are a couple of questions I want to hit on, especially after watching the match against Mexico.
First, Tobin Heath at left back? Well, that’s something. I’m not sure what. Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald basically warned everyone this might happen when a certain someone was left off the roster.
Kudos to Mexico, because those youngsters did a fine job in the first half and I think the future looks bright for that team. As for the United States, there’s spark from the subs, which is something opponents should rightfully fear. But is the production or lack thereof from the starters also a concern? Guessing we don’t have the whole picture, especially with Horan’s time being managed. It’s apparent from what I saw that Jill Ellis is still fine-tuning some things.
The last time I chatted with Ellis, we talked about how Warriors coach Steve Kerr is so good at looking at the big picture: The goal isn’t to win a regular-season game, it’s to win an NBA championship.
Ellis said that means making sure the players have prepared for every scenario before the World Cup.
“I think that sometimes coaches go to a playoff round or go into the postseason, and suddenly what do you want to do more and more and more. And I think the complete opposite actually,” she said. “This is why this period is intensive, because now is the time where we all are doing and using a lot of different things and looking a lot of different pieces. To be able to go in there and say: `Remember we’ve done this. We’ve been in this situation and we’re prepared for this.’ That gives to the players confidence.”
Which is exactly what friendlies are all about. The good news is that no one got hurt, and the United States got a third straight shutout.
This week’s OUTRAGE, Cuz I gotta have one, right? Especially after last week’s rant: LAUREN HOLIDAY SHOULD BE IN THE HALL OF FAME. Cheney!
Certain folks are mad at Alex Morgan for the TIME interview, and specifically what she said about visiting the White House. I accidentally fell into the rabbit hole of comments about it on Saturday. It was a sea of misogyny, especially after Breitbart posted an item on it. (PS: Breitbart apparently doesn’t have editors!) Anyway, don’t go there, because there are just some things you can’t unsee.
But the whole debacle feeds briefly into what I want to mention, mostly for my own benefit: This World Cup is going to inevitably be political. There is no “sticking to sports” for this event. There are human rights issues that are going to be brought to light that some want to frame as us versus them.
Reminder for myself: Don’t fall for it. Don’t be baited. Especially on Twitter.
Abby Wambach was deservedly named as an inductee into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame on Saturday. On Sunday, she was honored on the field before the U.S. game against Mexico.
“Be Proud. Be Human. Be Loving. Be United. Be Inspired. Be Daring.”
I think that’s a good thought to end on. A good reminder.
Oh, and apologies for the meandering post, I’m just not ready for this trip. Have tons to do and write. Hopefully I’ll be more cohesive from France. I really will aim to do a little more “behind the scenes’’ stuff while I’m there so you get a sense of what it’s like following the USWNT around.
If you have anything you’d like to see, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, DMs are open on Twitter.
On to the links. Oh, I should mention that AP has a Women’s Soccer Facebook page. If Facebook is your thing. I will try to be better about keeping it up to date.
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! email@example.com.
Also, not including links here for game coverage, because y’all know what happened.
AP is rolling out it’s preview package for the Women’s World Cup. We’re taking a look at some select teams. Here is my preview for the United States and Canada. My colleague Jerome Pugmire profiled France. Another colleague, Mauricio Savarese profiled Brazil. England and Australia go this week! The AP’s Stephen Wade looked at Japan. AP’s Debora Rey profiled Argentina.
AP’s Ron Blum was at media day.
Marta hurt her left thigh during training.
Caitlin Murray did an amazing job with this compilation of how FIFA devalues the women’s game.
Caitlin with the latest Stock Watch for the USWNT players.
Brenda Elsey, who we talked to in a recent IX, wrote a wonderful piece on Argentina and the fight for respect on and off the pitch for The Equalizer.
Also for The Equalizer, Jeff Kassouf on go-time for the USWNT.
R.J. Allen with a good piece on the USWNT’s depth and the possible issues it presents.
Well-done New York Times story on Jamaica, another example of the haves and have-nots in women’s soccer.
The Washington Post’s Steven Goff on the Hall of Fame voting.
Rachel Bachman for the Wall Street Journal on the business venture Kling has been teasing. (Paywall).
Kealia Ohai gets engaged to some guy.
Alex Morgan’s TIME interview is causing right-wing outrage. And a bunch of folks who don’t watch or know anything about women’s soccer and had no plans whatsoever to watch the World Cup are saying they for sure won’t be watching the World Cup to own the libs. Or something.
Jonathan Tennenwald on the pressure faced by Jill Ellis. Tannenwald is gonna have some great content this week so keep an eye out on Philly.com.
Meg Linehan looks at who is poised for and NWSL breakout for The Athletic.
Tweet of the week
Five at The IX: Carli Lloyd. Do I have to add who she is? Really, I think we all know.
So my The IX colleague Howard Megdal was kind enough to pass on his recordings from USWNT Media Day! I’ll roll another one out next week (because I’ll literally be in the air on Monday going forward in time). Thanks Howard! PS: I paraphrased the questions because, well, journalists. LOL.
Here’s Carli Lloyd from media day. She’s not happy with the whole super sub thing.
QUESTION: You’ve said this might be the last World Cup? Can you talk about the emotions around that?
LLOYD: It’s weird, there’s no real emotion going in like it’s sad, as if this is the end. I’m not looking like it’s the end. There’s definitely a few years left in me to, to continue to play, wherever that may be. Physically this is the fittest I’ve ever felt and sharpest I’ve ever felt. So, there’s no question about that. But I’m more so, just kind of really excited. I feel at ease, I feel calm, I feel hungry, I feel motivated and I just feel excited. This is kind of been a different feel for me going into this event than all other events that I’ve gone through. You know, when they talk about an athlete’s flow and they talk about everything kind of sincing up, I’m feeling like I’m in that moment. I’m excited. The last couple of years I’ve learned to live in that present moment, take one day at a time. So it’s more, more excitement on my end than kind of being sad. Not to say I won’t be sad after it’s done.
QUESTION: What will the things you look for to enjoy in the moment that are different from past World Cups?
LLOYD: I think, you know, I’ve been the type of player that’s been all in, fully focused, I have blinders on. I think my blinders have kind of opened up a little bit. I think that I’m a more mature, I’m able to kind of find a balance between life and managing all these different things and what works for me. So I think, just kind of savoring every moment, the pre-camp going into it, any sort of sightseeing we do, just the moment. I think that’s going gonna be the biggest thing for me. I think you get so focused on next, next, next — I’m sort of at the last, next for the World Cup, so I want to soak every bit of it up. I am more hungrier than ever to help his team win a trophy.
QUESTION: Do you meditate and how does that help you?
LLOYD: Yeah, I mean, I’ve been public about the visualizing. I think there’s different verbiage for meditation, and all that type of thing, but I’ve been doing that since 2012. Being benched right before the 2012 Olympics. And then I remember the night before dreaming of scoring the winning goal against France in the opening game. And I came on, we were losing two-nil, two-one, two-tow and then I scored the winning goal three-two. So visualizing does work. I’m a big believer in it and I haven’t stopped. My mind is always consumed with thoughts and feelings and things that I want to see myself doing. And I really firmly what you put your mind to you can achieve. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says.
QUESTION: Are you comfortable with being a super-sub?
LLOYD: No, I’m not. I’m not here to be a super sub. Plain and simple. That’s not the type of person I am. I’m a fighter. I’ll fight ‘till the end. I know that my age isn’t a factor, my ability isn’t a factor. I feel fit as I’ve ever felt, sharp as I’ve ever felt. I’ve reinvented my game these last three or four years, instead of the athletic, powerful Carli, you know, just head down and get a goal, I’m a way better soccer player. I feel that my mind is the mind of a 36-year-old at the moment, but my body feels like the body of a 26-year-old. There’s no doubt in my mind that it doesn’t matter where you start, it matters where you finish. So a lot can happen and ultimately the only thing I can control is just to continue to perform and continue to do whatever is possible with my chances.
QUESTION: What do you focus on when you’re watching a game when you’re on the bench.
LLOYD: I mean, it’s not necessarily what I’m focusing on in that minute. It’s days before, what am I getting in my head that I want to do? It’s not just sitting on the bench and in eyeing up the opponent — a little bit of that, but it’s moments before that. I was asked what I ate the World Cup final for breakfast. You know, it wasn’t my breakfast that allowed me to score three goals in a World Cup final. And it’s not going to be me sitting on a bench for one game and thinking. It’s preparation. It’s being ready, it’s training and being the best, hardest working player at training every single day. That’s what it is. When you get those moments, it’s instinct and everything kind of kicks in and takes over. But you know, you can’t just turn it on and turn it off. It’s just continuous preparation on my end.
QUESTION: You’ve been in good form for the bast couple of months? Has anything felt different?
LLOYD: I’ve been in form for the last couple of years, it’s just I’m banging and more goals and whatever, you start to peak as you get closer. I mean, there’s a certain strategy that goes into my training but I wasn’t just bad soccer player two or three years ago and then just turned into a great one overnight. So I’ve been in form and I’ve been getting more minutes and it’s up to me to seize those opportunities.