The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson for April 13, 2020

I thought briefly about how athletes were dealing with coronavirus, then sidetracked on Carli Lloyd. Because of course I did. Plus, links and a few words from Yael Averbuch.

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Social distancing and the USWNT

So first off, Alex Morgan at eight months pregnant is making the rest of us look bad. I had to unfollow her on Instagram because I ate a bunch of chocolate eggs this weekend. See the Tweet below.

Must be super scary to be pregnant right now, and you need look no further than Karina LeBlanc. I spoke to Yael Averbuch about her pregnancy. You can see excerpts in my interview below.

So a lot of us are figuring out how to cope with social distancing. Allie Long has really embraced Twitch. I may check it out if I get really bored, but I’m generally not a gamer.

If you missed it, a lot of women across sports discussed how they are dealing with coronavirus and everything at the Women’s Sports Foundation’s #WeKeepPlaying special on Yahoo Sports. You can go back and watch the replay here.

This is always a great event, but this year was a little different because everyone joined via video. Billie Jean King, Sabrina Ionescu, Katie Ledecky, Carli Lloyd, Katie Sowers, Chiney Ogwumike, Kendall Coyne Schofield and Scout Bassett joined in.

Carli Lloyd spoke about the Olympics getting pushed back a year.

“Thankfully, they are not canceled. You know, I was a little concerned about that because I did hear that there could be the possibility. They are just postponed now for another year. And, you know, I know that there’s probably so many athletes that may not be able to be a part of it in a year and there’s all different circumstances. But I’m really looking forward to it because it’s more time to prepare, another year,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd, who turns 38 in July, certainly isn’t contemplating retirement just yet. I’ve mentioned it before: Carli Lloyd is one of the most dedicated and focused athletes I’ve ever met. It’s all about the craft. And those athletes are exceedingly rare. Sabrina Ionescu (who was also part of the #WeKeepPlaying special) comes to mind.

I believe that Vlatko Andonovski may keep Lloyd around regardless because of her unusual drive and the example she sets for the younger players. Lloyd also seems to have thrived under the new coach.

I think back to Ellis including Christie Rampone on the 2015 World Cup roster. Rampone turned 40 during the team’s run in Canada. “I think that a player who has had that much experience, been in a captain’s role, you just can’t discount that,” Ellis said at the time.

Andonovski, in a conference call with reporters in January (Oh my God that seems like forever ago!) hinted Lloyd not only could make the team, but also could start. But that’s before the games were pushed back.

Lloyd addressed the age issue, and dropped just one more interesting tidbit. She said she wasn’t really ready to be done after this year.

“It’s another year to be able to prepare, to be able to push the boundaries, the barriers of becoming more fit, stronger, to better my game. And I’m excited about it. Plus, it gives me another year, because I didn’t think I was gonna be ready to be done after this year. So I get another year to play. And yes, everybody’s talking about the age. You know, it’s a year later — not going to make much of a difference because I’m feeling at the top of my game and feeling really, really good right now.”

One other thing that Lloyd said: Her most memorable goal was that half-court shot in the 2015 World Cup.

Yep. Seconded.

On to the links.


(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!

First off, the shocking news, which you already know unless you’re living in a cave: Sports Illustrated fired Grant Wahl. This is really devastating for women’s soccer coverage (and soccer overall) in the United States, because in many instances, Grant drove the conversation. This is all the more reason to click on links and then click some more. Show editors there is value in the coverage.

Women’s soccer was having a moment: Then the clock stopped. Good story here for the New York Times.

In case you missed it: The Equal Pay trial has been postponed.

Caitlin Murray on how women’s sports will rebound in the post-pandemic world for Yahoo.

Seriously, this was the best soccer story we had last week. Stephanie Yang imagines the career paths for Jess and Jules.

The Athletic’s Kieran Theivam wrote about Sky Blue coach Freya Coombe, the only female coach in the NWSL. (How is this possible? Oh wait, I know.)

This was fascinating: Meg Linehan surveyed NWSL supporters, and these were her findings, with charts!

Dan Lauletta for the Equalizer with a fun history of the first NWSL game.

The Equalizer asked: Who is the best player in NWSL history?

One last one from the Equalizer: Sophie Lawson takes a look at what the Olympic delay means for Phil Neville and England.

A nice look at Oregon State’s turnaround from the school newspaper, the Daily Barometer.

NBC Sports on Carli’s NFL kicking career getting pushed back a year because of, well, everything.

Julia Poe for ProSoccerUSA on Carli’s appearance on the Women’s Sports Foundation panel.

Julia also spoke to Amanda Duffy about the NWSL season.

Tweet(s) of the week

Oh and one more because … Tobin Health! Also! Click the story!

Five at The IX: Yael Averbuch West!

Here’s a bit of my conversation with Yael Averbuch West. I spoke to her for a couple of stories I’m working on for The AP. Oh, and hey, when you look at the questions I’m asking, I edit myself heavily. I’m long-winded and don’t make sense most of the time. So kudos to Yael for answering unintelligent questions intelligently. 🙂

GOOD NEWS: She’s four months pregnant!

Most of my questions surrounded her role with the NWSL Players Association. Also, please check out her training app: Techne. It’s individual training — which is really handy right now.

Annie: Are there any fears that salaries might be cut during this time?

Yael: “We’re really hoping that’s not going to be the case. And so far, there’s no indication that that would happen. Really, our main focus at the moment is working closely with the league and with the players to try to do this in the best way possible and to make sure that everybody is, first and foremost, being safe and staying healthy. And that means also attending to players’ mental health. So our focus has been primarily supporting them to help make sure they have answers that they’re, you know, taking care of themselves.

Annie: Even before the virus, lots of players were starting businesses to help supplement their income. How much is the USWNT successes, like last year’s World Cup win, driving these ventures?

Yael: “I think it certainly helps because eyes are on the game. But I do think regardless and even, you know, prior to this second World Cup win in a row, there’s things that many people have been doing. But now, the nice thing is there’s more attention on it. So it’s raised everybody’s platform within the game, and I think it’s provided more opportunity and certainly more attention.”

Annie: What can the union do to help encourage to help players who might not be non- allocated to capitalize on their their roles as pro athletes?

Yael: “This is a big aim of ours and a big focus: Helping players to build their personal brands. We quite often put out questionnaires for the players and ask, does anybody have any organization, or charity they support, a business that they’re running? Things that we can highlight to help those players. We also help players with continuing education opportunities like working with the league and U.S. soccer to offer opportunities to do coaching courses, or helping players earn strength and conditioning licences. Just starting to get the players to think about what they can be doing parallel to their playing career, and then to support them in any we’re able. I think the big part of it is actually the thought process, and getting involved with the players’ association to kind of get some work skills and experience that you could put on a resume. So all of those things, I think, go into it.”

Annie: How are you doing, healthwise?

Yael: “I mean, I stay inside. I don’t take any risks. So I feel very fortunate that my business has allowed me to be ambitious and kept my days full. So I have plenty to do and personally, I’ve been doing the best I can through this time. I know that others are much less fortunate, and struggling way more. But I’m fortunate I can stay home and work and really not have to interact with many people.

Annie: How is this impacting your pregnancy?

Yael: “Luckily, the couple big appointments I had, we were able to go to prior to it getting really strict. But I do know, the hospital I’m going to, they said the next time my husband can’t come with me, for the next appointment. I feel really grateful; I’ve felt pretty good. I think that I’ve minimized trips to the doctor and I’ve been able to do that without too much concern. So I realize I’ve been fortunate in that sense. It’s strange to have something where usually you’d be excited to go the doctor, excited to go to the hospital to get a checkup. And now it’s like a big scary thing that you’re trying to avoid.”

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 High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala,@ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Annie Peterson