The IX: Soccer Monday with Anne M. Peterson, August 12, 2019

Breaking news today! Kate Markgraf named GM! Not a surprise, but official. Plus must-click links, and post-game with Adrianna Franch

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Markgraf time

This Monday news dump is kind of getting to be a routine for Soccer Mondays. Ellis, the Equal Pay response and now the GM.

U.S. Soccer has officially — and finally — announced that Kate Markgraf has been named the USWNT’s new general manager.

First off, big kudos to Yahoo’s Doug McIntyre for breaking the news this morning.

Ya’ll already know Kate, but for those who don’t, she was a 12-year veteran of the national time, with three World Cup and three Olympic appearances. She was a ‘99er. Most recently she’s been a commentator for ESPN.

The position of GM is a new one. Former national team player Earnie Stewart was the GM on the men’s side, but he has been promoted to lead the Sports Performance Department.

Markgraf will lead the search for a new head coach for the team following Jill Ellis’ departure. She won’t have a lot of time, because the team obviously has to start preparing for the Olympics. The new coach will have to whittle the roster for the team that goes to Tokyo so the timing here is important.

Markgraf was asked on a conference call with reporters this afternoon if she preferred a female candidate. “In the end, it will come down to the best candidate, regardless of gender,” she said.

One detail that I wasn’t aware of: Hall of Famer Cindy Parlow Cone (first coach of the Thorns) was in charge of the GM search. She was named a USSF VP in February and apparently started conversations with Markgraf about taking the job right away, although the decision was to wait until after the World Cup to make the appointment.

In a statement released by U.S. Soccer, Cone said: “Kate knows the rich history and the expectations of the USWNT. She has a great knowledge of the international women’s game and how it continues to evolve. She is an excellent collaborative leader who has the skills to manage this high-pressure, competitive environment. She will be able to step in and hit the ground running as we have Olympic qualifying in just a few months.”

Oh and one other newsy thing, apparently President Carlos Cordeiro is interested in exploring a bid for the 2027 Women’s World Cup. We’ve heard him hint around about it before, but Markgraf is going to be in charge of developing a plan. So there’s that.

Now, 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!

Politico broke the story about the lobbyists hired by U.S. Soccer. This is not a good look for USSF no matter how you try to spin it. The Washington Post reports a lobbyist reached out to some of the Democratic candidates for president. Caitlin Murray tackled the issue for Yahoo.

LA Times editorial calls for more investment in the NWSL.

Graham Hays was in town for the big match between the Thorns and the Courage. Record crowd. On ESPN. Really good for the game.

The Oregonian’s Jamie Goldberg was there, too.

I love outspoken Ali Krieger. ProSoccerUSA with the story on her ripping the refs.

TAYLOR SWIFT! advocated for equal pay for the U.S. team. On the Teen Choice awards. (This is the first, and most likely the last, reference to Taylor Swift in a Soccer Monday).

While we’re on the celebrity beat: Melissa McCarthy met Megan Rapinoe.

This is kind of interesting: What lessons can be learned form the U.S. team.

Meg Linehan profiled Marta. Come for the fierce photo, stay for the excellent story.

Linehan also talked to Rapinoe about the lobbyists.

The Aug. 18 Sky Blue match against the Reign has been moved to Red Bull Arena.

John Halloran with a nice story on Chicago’s Sarah Gordon for The Equalizer.

The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf wants to kind of talk about NWSL expansion.

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Postgame Adrianna Franch!

Question: You’re smiling.

AD: “They helped us win this game. You know, when we came back on a Wednesday and had like 22 (K) at 8 p.m., we were like We can’t wait for a weekend game’ because we knew it was going to be like this. And you know. We didn’t start the start the way we wanted to but we found a way to win and that was the help of our fans.

Question: This league continues to grow and now with some support from ESPN. What message does that deliver people tune in going `Wow. 25 thousand people there.’

AD: Well people who don’t understand, it’s because they’ve never watched they haven’t been a part of this environment. You know I met a waiter just here in Portland, never been to a game, Thorns or Timbers, got him to a game and absolutely loved it. You know you put in a different perspective and I kind of showed him the art form of it and that’s where he usually is and. Now we wants to come all the time. Those different things, it has to be embedded and the more coverage we get, the more people see, the more they experience, the more they want to come. It’s really important.

Question about whether it’s changed with after World Cup, or if it feels different.

AD: That’s the great thing about these fans. They’ve come from the start and nothing really changes that. You’ve just brought more into the stadium. So filling that difference, I mean like 5,000 4,000 difference that’s what makes it louder. But hasn’t changed that. They’ve been the same from the get go. I mean we lost the championship last year against this team and they stayed at least 30 minutes to continue to chant. So you know if anything the Thorns fans are the ones that have started the hype in this county.

Question about whether how the matchup with NC has transcended a regular season game.

AD: I think it brings attention because it’s just that it’s a really good game. It’s like a championship every game every day, every time we play. So you know those are the type of games that we as athletes enjoy. But at the same time we have to take care of the games that aren’t as active, you know, people have to appreciate the game when it’s like that as well.

Question about blocking shots and whether it felt good to face that challenge.

AD: We still made mistakes. I still made mistakes. So we look at those mistakes and that’s what we continue to grow on. We got the win. I think that puts us on the top of the table and that’s what we’re here to do. It’s after every game we go back and look at all the mistakes. And you know at the end of the day I would rather make the mistakes now than at the end of the year so we continue to climb and try to peak at the right time.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
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