The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson for Dec. 9, 2019
Everyone, read Caitlin's latest! Katie Meyer is the hero we all need. Plus links and post-championship interviews
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No Independence Day
Caitlin Murray has been doing some fantastic on-the-ground reporting from Chicago. I want to highlight it here, and also encourage you to click on these links so that Yahoo Sports knows that this kind of journalism drives traffic. In fact, click on them several times just to make sure.
This morning Murray cited sources as saying that U.S. Soccer has initially rejected the NWSL owners’ proposal to allow the league to become independent, but still get significant federation funding. Instead, U.S. soccer proposed to keep managing the league for another year.
It’s no secret that NWSL owners have wanted to transition away from USSF’s management and toward a new independent model. However, the league is not yet sustainable, so the federation’s funding is still needed – through 2028.
Yep, mass confusion. Simmering in the background is that the NWSL still doesn’t have a commissioner. And there may, or may not, be expansion happening. Sacramento is just hanging out there.
Paul Riley went to Twitter to voice his exasperation.
Ok, so what does all this mean? Well, it may be that all those recent feel-good stories about the league’s health — like the new compensation rules, the league’s increased visibility on television, the rise in attendance, Budweiser’s commitment and expansion — were a bit premature while this partnership between U.S. Soccer and the league was hanging in the balance.
Murray said a decision is expected this week.
There are definite positives about where the NWSL is headed. But U.S. Soccer seems to be kind of floundering with this issue of independence. It is still in everyone’s best interests to support a strong women’s professional league.
Turning to college soccer, Stanford is your new national champion. What a match. I didn’t have a dog in the fight because my sentimental favorite, the Cougars, were eliminated by North Carolina in the semis, but as a fan of the game I couldn’t really ask for anything more.
And Katie Meyer is my new hero.
Just a quick note about this. There were some who criticized Meyer in the semifinals for verbally berating a UCLA player after saving a penalty kick. Many said it was poor sportsmanship. A friend of Meyers’ suggested on Twitter that UCLA players had called the redshirt freshman goalkeeper Stanford’s weakest link. The account also suggested that a UCLA fan or parent was standing behind Meyers’ net and heckling her during the game.
Elliot Almond from the Mercury News appeared to confirm the account.
Meyer’s teammates pulled her away from the UCLA player and yeah, the optics of that weren’t good. That said, I LOVED the brash lip zipping in the championship game.
Meyer earned the right to boast, in a big way.
I’m kind of tired that women are expected to fit into this mold of being “role models’’ for young girls. We saw it this summer when Ashlyn Harris was criticized for dropping f-bombs in celebration of the World Cup.
Really, what makes a role model, anyway?
The answer: A goalkeeper who wins a national championship.
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! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almost unsurprisingly, Megan Rapinoe has been named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year.
Murray took a look at the NWSL 2.0.
Wonderful story here on one of my faves, Nadia Nadim, from AP’s Rob Harris.
Harris had another strong story on England’s Nikita Parris. I have added excerpts from the interview below.
Jonathan Tannenwald on Sunil Gulati’s comments at the Princeton Soccer Conference.
AP’s story on the College Cup final.
Meg Linehan did a really wonderful story on those special Nike Rapinoe boots.
Meg also has a nice Midge Purce story today.
Rachel Bachman’s dive into what’s going on with U.S. Soccer for the Wall Street Journal.
Candid interview with Anson Dorrance from Soccer America.
The Equalizer with a fun story on the American leading Saint Kitts and Nevis in Olympic qualifying.
Five at The IX: Nikita Parris
Here are excerpts from AP Soccer Writer Rob Harris’ interview with Nikita Parris, forward for both Lyon and England’s national team. Also, 2021 is when the Women’s Euros are, so that’s the emphasis there. This is edited a bit for brevity.
Question: A few months on from the semifinal, what sort of memories to take from that, and the disappointment from not getting to the final?
Nikita: Yeah, the disappointment was, it was huge for me, it took me long time to get over the semifinal defeat. I felt we were so much in the game, we believed wholeheartedly that we would go on to win the World Cup. And so it was a hard pill to swallow after obviously getting knocked out by USA and then just not quite have enough to go again against Sweden. What we can say is we gave everything, but obviously we fell short, so we have to find some – what we missed. And that was definitely a lot of soul searching.
So now we’ve got a year, a year and a half to 2021, but before that we’ve got the Olympics, so, we have to find the solution quickly but make sure that we think long term so we’re best prepared for 2021.
There’s no denying that we’re in that in-between stage where we’re trying out new things, and we’re trying to find a way to close the gap on what we missed in the World Cup. So, that was always going to take time, and ultimately we know that these friendly games are important, but it’s also time for trial and error in order to make sure we got the right recipe going into 2021. Ultimately, we want to make sure we go through this journey, it’s going to be ups and downs and we know that as a team, but we stick together, we have a strong mentality, and also we believe in each other. We believe in the process. And we know that well be better come 2021.
Question: There are questions about Phil Neville and his future.
Nikita: I think questions on the future come from the media, but not from inside the camp. We believe in Phil, he believes in us, and we believe in the process that this team is going to go on. Obviously when you don’t win games, the media is going to get on your back, but also when you win games they’re gonna amplify it and make you feel proud. So it’s a two-way sword, that you’ve got to take as a team. Inside our camp we know what journey we’re about to go on, and there’s going to be ups and downs, but we, a hundred percent, have each other’s back and belief.
Question: What have you learned at Lyon?
Nikita: One of my goals, to be honest, (is) to learn how to win at the at the crucial time in big games, how to perform. And that’s definitely a learning experience. Obviously the next six months, leading to the end of the season, are going to be the most exciting, and they’re the moments, the high pressure moments, that I’m going to learn the most about myself, my teammates and, ultimately, how to respond or react in the moments. That for me is, is what is one of the reasons why I went to Lyon, to understand what it takes to be the elite of the elite.
Question: What about Lyon has helped to change your mindset or your psyche in certain moments?
No, I don’t think it’s a moment, I just think it’s seeing how things, day to day, the best go about being the best. Every day, nutritionally, psychologically, technically, tactically, how the best team, whether they go through ups and downs, make sure that they’re performing that day.