The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, March 1, 2021
Seth Jahn is off US Soccer's Athlete Council. Good! — Woso links — Arnim Whisler's comments on today's breaking news surrounding the new investors in the Red Stars
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You guys! The IX had a special Gymnastics Saturday from Jessica Taylor Price! It was awesome. Please follow her at @jesstaylorprice on Twitter.
Also, a bit of breaking news, the Chicago Red Stars have announced 14 new investors, all with local tied to the Windy City. I included excerpts from the press conference below. Awesome that there’s been an infusion of interest in team ownership lately!
But first I’d like to address what happened this weekend with Seth Jahn.
So, if you were offline and trying (unsuccessfully) to buy a car like I was, you missed Seth Jahn’s incendiary statement during the U.S. Soccer general meeting over the weekend, and the subsequent fallout.
Jahn was removed from the Athlete Council on Sunday. Here’s the AP Story.
Probably the best piece I read about Jahn’s comments was from Stephanie Yang at Stars and Stripes. You can read it here.
First off, Jahn’s comments were just chock-full of racist tropes including the tired and intellectually disingenuous “black-on-black crime” fallacy which, by the way, has nothing to do with police brutality. As well as an insane argument about slavery because, I guess his take here is, everybody does it? This is textbook historical negationism.
I mean I listened to it and all I could think was dude’s been watching way too much Tucker Carlson. OK, that’s not all I thought. Hint: there were expletives.
Here’s the statement. I hesitate posting it here because it’s awful and I don’t want to give the guy a platform, but I also believe it’s necessary to call out racism when we see it.
Stars and Bars? Hmmmm. There’s a tell.
Here’s his apology, after the rest of the Athlete Council called him out. FYI, it wasn’t an apology. He just doubled down, essentially.
And note he’s complaining about being “canceled” LOL. So typical. You’re not being canceled. You are being held accountable for your racist statement. There’s a difference. But go ahead, be a victim.
This man was head of security for the women’s national team in France. Holy Cow. That should never happen again.
Oh, and if he’s “embarrassed to represent” the federation, maybe he shouldn’t be representing the federation. Ya think?
Becky Sauerbrunn put out an eloquent statement.
Lori Lindsey, as far as I can tell, was the first to call for Jahn’s removal from the Athletes’ Council outright.
On Sunday, the Athlete Council removed Jahn. Here’s that statement.
If you’d like to see Fox News’ take on the situation, which, unsurprisingly, is completely bonkers, it’s here.
No doubt Jahn is going to show up on Tucker Carlson in the near future crying about being being cancelled.
But what is the lesson learned here: There is still soooooo much work to be done, within U.S. Soccer and society.
(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! email@example.com.
Susie Rantz wrote an awesome story about Dr. Mariah Bullock’s return to the Reign as a team psychologist.
ESPN’s Julie Foudy on the takeaways from the SheBelieves Cup heading into the Olympics.
Kevin Baxter’s recap of the Argentina victory for the LA Times.
If you don’t follow Stephanie Yang’s work for All for XI, you should. She’s previewing the NWSL season with a slew of interesting features, like this one on Jennifer Cudjoe.
The Athletic looks at the U.S. Soccer board meeting, and the Jahn fallout, from Meg Linehan and Paul Tenorio.
Liz Roscher covered it for Yahoo Sports.
Lisa Baird named to the U.S. Soccer board of Directors, from ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.
Y’all know how I feel about Clive Charles. SHOUTING: HE SHOULD BE IN THE HALL OF FAME! Anyway, here’s a nice piece on his legacy from the U.S. Soccer website. Guessing this is why I don’t vote for the Hall of Fame: I’d just write Clive Charles on my ballot and hand it in.
Ryan Tolmich from Goal.com on Sam Mewis’ return after injury. Hint: It was good.
Nice take from Sports Techie on Yael Averbuch’s Techne app. Which, BTW exploded during COVID-19.
Sandra Herrera covered the new NWSL allocation list for CBS Sports. A few additions to the list, including fan favorite Kristie Mewis.
Oh, and from our fearless leader at The IX, Howard Megdal, here’s a story on KC executive Amber Cox.
Today at The IX: The Chicago Red Stars add to investor group! Arnim Whisler breaks it down
OK, so this was wonderful news this morning! The Chicago Red Stars are expanding their investment group.
Arnim Whisler maintains his majority ownership, along with founders Dean Egerter and Steve Ritchie.
Here’s the list!
· Jessie Becker
· Julie Haddon
· Israel Idonije
· Jordan Levin
· Abel Lezcano
· Colleen Mares
· Michael Raimondi
· Kendall Coyne Schofield
· Michael Schofield
· Sarah Spain
· Marie Tillman
· Brian Walsh
· Kevin Willer
· David M. Zapata
These are some of the comments from Whisler this morning about how all of this came about. And thanks to Howard Megdal who came to my rescue with a recording!
“I wanted to just sort of add some context here: So everybody remember 2019? Feels like 100 years ago, there was a World Cup and a great deal of, you know, interest in women’s soccer — As you see every four years. The Red Stars had just come off a championship appearance, put 9,000 people in the seats in the semifinal game with no warning. We had, we had a serious breakthrough. Things had really dramatically changed for NWSL, particularly for the Red Stars. We doubled our season ticket base in that offseason, in 2019 going into 2020. We had the best jersey in the league — we still do — but it was just unveiled. Momentum was building every direction: We added two expansion teams, we had Lisa Baird, awe were renewing our relationship with US Soccer so that we can more nimbly and quickly. That was the context.
That’s when we started talking to people about you know whether they’d be interested in investing and being part of the Red Stars. You always want to do these things from a position of strength. And then of course, COVID hits. To see what felt like the breakthrough for the Red Stars and the NWSL look and like it was going to be dashed by COVID, and a pandemic was just just heartbreaking. Just difficult for everybody. You know, it’s already tough. It’s women’s sports, it’s already hard financially, but to stare at a worldwide pandemic and wonder where the revenues are gonna come from and how we’re going to get this thing going. It was a really bleak time. I think for most sports teams.
But we went for it anyway. We knew we needed more financial strength. We knew that there were things that I personally was not able to do that could have been better for the team, but we just had to keep our resources in place. We could never overspend or we’d be gone. Kind of the curse of the little independent teams still out there trying to be a leader in this league.
But what happened next was kind of amazing to me. We went out in a fairly traditional way with a brokers to find new relationships and reach out to the people that we know as well. I expected a lot of mobile offers, people that were trying to take us out. And we got those: People that were trying to purchase the team for pennies on the dollar, take control and do it their way. But what I loved, and will always be thankful for is that at same time we had people like Brian Walsh and Colleen Mares, who are you know season ticket holders, who came forward and said, `Is the team. Okay? What do you can we do to help?’
And, you know those conversations, right as we were beginning to look at adding to the ownership group, started us on a roll that helped us gather everybody else in this group. So you know when you’re not doing this from panic and desperation, great things happen, you get to be selective, you get to be thoughtful. You get to sit back and look at what’s the ideal group.
There are more coming. I don’t mean for that to be a secret This isn’t a giant tease to get more investors. We’re in great shape with the group that we have. But there is lot of interests out there already. I’m sure there’ll be more after today. We try to think of it in terms of lanes. What are lanes or corridors and types of people that we want to be part of the Red Stars to build this lasting legacy in Chicago, one of the great sports cities in the world. We wanted to make sure we had our place.
We wanted long-term deep Chicago connections people that share the passion. We’ve seen, honestly, deep pocketed investors come and go for my 13 years of doing this, certainly the last 20 years we’ve seen that happen in women’s sports. We want people that want this team to succeed. Not just generally soccer, not just a men’s team or a women’s team. We want this team to succeed.
Read the bio for Brian Wallace, literally a great, great grandpa was one of the people that came to Chicago to be an engineer for the World Exposition, which is the first star on the Chicago flag. It’s a really neat story. So lane one is established Chicago families who get what we’re trying to do. Lane two was we need clear-headed, bright-eyed thinking on the future of sports. People who know how to grow business, from little things to big things, people like Kevin. People who understand what high tech can do and what social media can do.”
So we went looking for that. Understand how best to create environments to attract people and players who want to be in
We have to evolve our thinking beyond survival to what’s it gonna take to compete in the world against Lyon, and Wolfsburg and Chelsea, to get the next player. Frankly we wanted badass women.
We wanted to make sure that we were reflective of our fan base, our city, and that every child could see themselves not just on the field but in the ownership. So we’ve paid attention to diversity, and we like to think that what we’re building is something that’s what sports teams and companies should be in the 21st century. We listen to all of you very carefully. We know the right thing to do. And hopefully we’ll continue to do it, but this is a special group of people. This is people that are from every background, but all tied to Chicago, who bring different perspectives, that have been working together already for months. We’ve been at this since last fall. As new owners joined, they joined the weekly Friday call, and we just banged through the difficult challenges, or the things coming up, we get people’s perspective we get problems solved in real time.
So that’s a long ramble to say little independent Chicago is independent Chicago, but we’re a lot bigger now, we’re a lot stronger. We will not be deterred. We’ll start being able to plan on a multi-year basis instead of just an annual basis. It’s a remarkable feeling and I’m thankful to everybody in the group for joining. But more for the commitment and passion they’re bringing. A lot of people can write a check, but writing the check and then digging in at the level that these folks have dug in is is a remarkable thing to watch.”