The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, November 2, 2020

It's Nov. 2. You know what tomorrow is — Plus links and excerpts from Lynn Williams' media availability from USWNT camp

First off, arguably the biggest news of the week:

Let the planning for the Royal Wedding commence!

More seriously, I know that I’m speaking to a crowd here that is likely going to vote, just given the interest in the election and some of the issues that have emerged, particularly in regard to women and equality.

But this is an appeal to the younger folks out there. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t vote in my early 20s. In fact, I didn’t vote reliably in elections (especially in non-presidential election years) until I started having kids in my late 30s.

Again, I’m not proud of this.

So to make up for it, I’m making an appeal. Go vote. I understand you may not have time for long lines. I get it that it might be cold. Or rainy. I certainly understand the fears of catching coronavirus.

Mask up. Put on those rain boots. Wear a parka. Bring a lawn chair if you have to. Download season four of The Office for laughs. Do what you can to exercise your right to vote.

If you face intimidation or are blocked from voting, call: 866-OUR-VOTE

There’s a lot of hyperbole that this is the most important election of our lives. But I really believe that’s true. So even though I’m sure a lot of people are getting really tired of the get-out-the-vote pleas from all quarters, I’m going to double down. BECAUSE TIME IS RUNNING OUT. On Wednesday, you won’t hear the constant reminders to vote anymore, so think of it that way.

And if you have already voted, THANK YOU!

All those annoying texts about voting are going to end soon, but in the last minute push, please remember to text back a thank you to the people reminding you. They’re putting in the work.

Also, a bit of caution. There’s going to be a lot of disinformation spread on election day and certainly in the days after. Don’t fall for it. Check your sources. If it’s not a reputable news source, don’t buy it.

There’s been a lot of noise about “Fake News” but let me be clear: Many of the major news organizations have lawyers. You can’t just publish stuff that is made up.

So put your seatbelts on, because this is going to be a bumpy ride.

In the meantime, here’s some wholesomeness from FIFA:

https://t.co/LabNgJw77jpic.twitter.com/LabNgJw77j/a/p—%20FIFA%20Women's%20World%20Cup%20(@FIFAWWC)%20a%20href=https://twitter.com/FIFAWWC/status/1322462260254724097

On to the links!



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! apeterson@ap.org.

My story on Lynn Williams for AP is here.

AP’s story on Man City winning the FA Cup, from my colleague Rob Harris.

Rob also had a nice chat with Alex Morgan about a host of things, including missing her rescue dogs.

If you haven’t yet, read Jeff Kassouf’s interview with Kate Markgraf on putting together the USWNT camp and a host of other interesting tidbits, for The Equalizer.

Bev Priestman is the new coach of the Canadian national team.

Wonderful story on Rose Lavelle from Katie Whyatt of The Athletic.

Annie Costabile from the Chicago Sun Times on Danielle Colaprico and hosting a camp for college prospects derailed by the pandemic.

Women’s soccer saw a massive ratings jump. Yes, yes it did. From Yahoo Sports.

Kevin Baxter did a nice job on this story for the L.A. Times summing up the season with Lisa Baird.

Portland’s Katherine Reynolds announces her retirement, from Stumptown Footy’s Kyle Garcia.

Goal.com’s Seth Vertelney with an excellent story on Kristie Mewis.

CNN did a story on how the fight for Equal Pay continues, and other stuff.

The Washington Post’s Steven Goff reports that Jill Ellis has spoken informally to DC United about its head coaching vacancy.

My The IX colleague Howard Megdal wrote about Crystal Dunn and taking control of her destiny for Forbes.



Five at The IX: Lynn Williams

U.S. Soccer made Lynn Williams available to the media via Zoom as camp came to a close. Here are excerpts. Also, click on my story above!

Question: I was wondering about your thoughts about the blockbuster trade. Last week with North Carolina Seattle and Portland?

Williams: Well first, obviously, not excited to see Crystal leave but I’m happy for her. She wants to be with her husband and Portland. And I think that’s what everybody always wants, to be able to live in play in their same market. But yes, Crystal was obviously a huge part of our team, a big attacking threat. And we’ve always prided ourselves on having a deep bench, so that’s something that we are going to have to turn with Crystal gone now. I also believe that we’re going to get somebody to come in and fill the spot. I obviously don’t know what Paul has up his sleeve, but we can only hope that he’s going to do the right thing and he has this far, so I have all the faith in that.

Question: Carolina has been one of the top teams in the league for quite some time now. Do you think, even with this crazy summer we’ve had with two series that they’re still one of the top teams?

Williams: I mean I think we are. If I said anything else I think would be the wrong answer. (Laughs) But I definitely think we are. I think that we still have a good solid group of us there, and at the same time we always have the same mentality and the same principles and identity and so anybody who’s going to come in and step into those roles are going to have to meet that criteria. I think we’ll be fine. It’s definitely going to be an adjustment I think every team this next year is going to have to see some adjusting just because of the expansion draft, it’s just who who can do it the fastest.

Question: There’s a good crop of new attacking players in this camp who you’ve probably never played with are trained with. Can you name one or two who you’ve kind of developed a bit of chemistry with or someone in particular that you’ve enjoyed playing with?

Williams: I have primarily been playing with Ashley hatch and Sophia Smith. You know me and Ashley played together at North Carolina, so it’s been nice to play together again, a little bit of blast from the past. And Sophia Smith, I think she’s young, but she’s tenacious, and finishes the ball well. So, the two of them, I think it’s been great to be able to not only just play with them but play with new people and see how they play and their style. I think that’s the unique thing about this team is even though it’s so competitive you get to see how other people play and hopefully you adopt something if you like that about them.

Question: What are some of the big takeaways for you coming out of this camp that we’ll take with you into the offseason maybe things you’ll be working on or contemplating?

Williams: I think that for me, you know I’m always going to continue to work on my finishing I think every forward is going to say that. And just having confidence. in this system we play a 4-3-3 and in North Carolina it’s a 4-4-2, so just the different styles of runs and the different systems and working on that, it’s a bit of a different movement. So going back home and working on the movements that I don’t necessarily get to work on in North Carolina is what I’m planning on doing.

Question: It’s obviously been an unusual first year for Vlatko. What sense have you’ve gotten of what he wants out of you in particular and out of the team and also just kind of who he is as a person.

Williams: This is not the most ideal star for him. I feel bad in the sense I feel like he’s just like ‘I just want to coach, and we keep getting stopped and having to start again and stopped and starting again. Credit to him when we were in the Challenge Cup he was there, he was watching it, evaluating but also I think looking at different coaches in their style of coaching too, so he is trying to evolve himself. I think as a player you can respect that and you think if the coach is gonna grow and get better than I, as a player needs to do the same thing. For me, like I said, it’s a different movement, it’s a different system. So just knowing the different movements knowing what he wants in particular, and playing to my strengths, you know, getting in behind, stretching lines. And then once I’m in those positions that are in around the box,just taking a breath and being calm and finish. I think that he just wants us to play good soccer. I think that you never have to worry about the competitive side with this group. When we’re on the field and when we cross that line, It’s madness, a little psychotic at times (laughs). I think just just knowing and playing, beautiful soccer, and seeing the right things. That might be a roundabout answer but that is how I evaluate it.

Question: You were really on a tear going into this year and for qualifying and I wanted to know how frustrating this year has been and what were some of the things that you did to kind of keep yourself in a positive mindset?

Williams: You know, it wasn’t ideal for me in particular. Obviously I didn’t go to the World Cup, missed out on that, and in my head I’m like `Can I pull Crystal Dunn? Can I make it back in and go to the Olympics?’ I felt like I was on the path to do that and had a great chance. I’m obviously still working toward it. But it was definitely disappointing to know that the Olympics were pushed back. But at the end of the day I think we have to look big picture. For me it was, wow we have a year to prepare and I have a year to work on things that maybe I was rushing to work on. Also During that time I was with Sam Mewis who is my teammate and roommate in North Carolina and we were able to kind of lean on each other during that time, during this time. I’m not gonna lie there was days where I’d be like `Why are we doing this? and there’d be another day that we were like, `Let’s get back to it’ and we were positive. It was definitely a roller coaster and I think that was the same for everybody. But like I say, you have to look big picture and realize that I have my health, I have my job. This this virus isn’t just affecting me it’s affecting so many people around the world. So yes it did hurt and necessarily wasn’t the best, but I’m in such a better position than a lot of people so that’s how I tried to stay positive.

Question: Stepping back a little bit, from your game. Was there anything that you were able to see in your game and gave you the opportunity to kind of analyze?

Williams: This is gonna sound funny but, I know I’m a fast player, but I think when you’re in the moment, you think like the game is moving so fast and you’re like `Can I really get there? Can I really get in behind the line?’ I feel like I’ve been able to step back and say, Okay, how can I No. 1, still be able to get behind and get myself in good positions but also toy with the defenders. And then once I’m in those positions, taking a breath, and then not just kicking the ball, but placing it into the goal, like a powerful pass almost. And so for me I realized, you can always get yourself into good positions. It’s what you do when you’re in that position.


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 The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By Sarah Kellam @sarahkellam, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Annie Peterson