The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, March 29, 2021
Nationwide joins the NWSL as a sponsor: HUGE — Plus recapping a few things that happened last week while I was knee-deep in hoops — And SINC!
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First off, a bit of news broke this morning: Nationwide is now a sponsor of the NWSL. This is big. We’ve discussed the importance of expanding sponsorships here at The IX even recently, when we spoke to Lindsay Barenz.
Sounds interesting, especially the grant program in local communities, and the focus on community initiatives. I hope there’s a focus on initiatives benefitting minorities and the underserved.
The Athletic’s Meg Linehan pointed out this nugget:
It should also be noted that the NWSL has this deal, the FAWSL announced its big broadcast deal last week, there’s been an infusion of new investors. It certainly feels like the women’s game is gaining momentum exponentially.
Confession time: I’ve been absolutely absorbed in the NCAA tournament for work. And I’m really, really bad with multitasking. So basically I could tell you all about Stanford hoops, but very little about WoSo right now. I’m guessing though that a lot of y’all are in the same boat.
So here’s where I’ll try to catch you (and myself) up.
Megan Rapinoe and Midge Purce went to the White House last week, making the case for equal pay.
Yes, it was Equal Pay Day. That’s the annual day we as women can all be pissed, marking the days into the year women has to work to catch up to their male counterparts.
That is, white women. White women make 82 cents to every dollar a man makes. For Black women, it’s 63 cents and for Hispanic women it’s 55 cents.
So while it’s important to mark the day each year, it’s also important to recognize the inequality within the inequality.
“Doesn’t matter if you’re an electrician, an accountant or part of the best damn soccer team in the world,” President Joe Biden said. “The pay gap is real. And this team is living proof that you can be the very best at what you do and still have to fight for equal pay.”
Oh and hey, doesn’t Midge look right at home sitting at the President’s desk?
Other things of note:
Vlatko Andonovski named his roster for the upcoming European friendlies. Not much change from the SheBelieves Cup. Seems to me we know who is on his list heading to Tokyo, now it’s just a matter of paring it down for the incredibly tight Olympic roster.
The NCAA is planning the mother of all clusters for the college soccer postseason.
I’m literally not sure how this will even work, but there you go. Seems like a superspreader-event-in-the-making. Also, what do you want to bet that the women’s games are on the crappier fields?
This is gonna be something to watch. Hope the NCAA learned its lesson after the weight room debacle (and all the other debacles) but I’m guessing not.
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ESPN ranks the top 50 players in the world. No Sinc. Sigh.
Annie Costabile with the Chicago Sun-Times gives us a handy primer for the upcoming Challenge Cup. OMG guys, soccer is almost here.
Good to see local TV covering Kansas City, here’s a nice story on Kate del Fava.
Soccer America spoke to Imani Dorsey on the BWPC.
LOVED this story on the Reign’s Bethany Balcer from Stephanie Yang for All for XI.
Sandra Hererra’s wonderful series of preseason previews turns to the Portland Thorns.
Kathryn Nesbitt becomes he first woman to officiate a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier. From my AP colleague Ron Blum.
Megan Rapinoe penned a guest column for the Washington Post on banning transgender kids from sports. Read this.
Suzy Wrack reports for the Guardian that we’re getting closer to a Women’s Club World Cup
The Equalizer’s Emily Dulhanty sums up the latest goings-on in the FAWSL. Thank goodness for this because I couldn’t keep up this weekend.
The Equalizer’s Rachel Kriger catches up with Randy Waldrum, who is coaching Nigeria now.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Here you go, Tannenwald:
Five at The IX: Christine Sinclair!
Sinclair spoke to the media recently. Here’s what she said:
Question: How are you doing health-wise?
Sinclair: Yeah, I don’t miss many games and just a little injury that just happened to be bad timing for the SheBelieves, which was unfortunate. But I’m back healthy, 100 percent. Just ready to get some games under my belt and get the season going.
Question: How is Crystal Dunn integrating with that attacking unit and what it’s been like training with her?
Sinclair: It’s actually the first time I’ve ever been on a team with Crystal, and it’s been exciting. Off the field, I mean, she’s just an incredible person. So much energy, she’s just been fantastic to start to get to know. We’ve always been opponents for so long. But on the field, I mean, she’s so dynamic, quick, powerful and just adds so much to our team. Just trying to get used to playing with each other and as a midfield unit, but it’s been fun. Can’t wait to see what we’re capable of this year.
Question: Obviously, this is the second professional season for Sophia Smith and Morgan Weaver, who came in last year. How have you seen them progress?
Sinclair: They’re both exceptional soccer players. Soph, I think her time spent with the national team has really helped her. I think she’s come in here with a new sense of confidence and trusting herself. She’s going to be a world class soccer player, no doubt about it. And Weaver, she spent the entire off season here. She’s so committed to improving and helping this team. I Like I said, she actually spent the entire offseason here training and you can see that she’s put in the work. I think last year during the Challenge Cup specifically, as a team we struggled to score goals. And I don’t think that’s going to be a problem this year.
Question: For you, what is the competitive advantage and how might having fans back change how the team plays after going so long playing in empty stadiums?
Sinclair: Playing in front of the fans here in Portland is one of the most unique experiences a female soccer players is going to have. Knowing that they’re cheering for us just gives you that extra, extra little bit of energy in the game. I mean, I’m a huge Liverpool fan and you can see they’ve struggled at Anfield this year without fans. Just having that home support definitely makes a difference. And you realize that we actually have a lot of players on this team that have never played in front of the home crowd in Portland. And I can’t wait for them to get that opportunity.
Question: Obviously, you’ve been in Portland for a long time, both at the University of Portland and with the Thorns. But what what makes Portland so special as a soccer player in terms of the crowds and the atmosphere here?
Sinclair: I’m not sure how it all started: Back with Clive and the Timbers in the NASL and things like that. But this has become a soccer city. I don’t know if it’s because of the lack of a lot of other professional sports. Obviously, besides the Blazers. But the people in this city truly are passionate about soccer and they care about their teams, whether it’s when I was at UP or now playing for the Thorns, or going to timber’s games. The passion that the fans have, I think, is unequaled in North America. And it’s an exciting place to play, no doubt about it.
Question: Did you have the chance to watch any of Canada’s games in the SheBelieves, particularly the one against the USWNT, and what your thoughts were on the team?
Sinclair: Of course I watched. Just what a gutsy performance, especially against the Americans, missing a lot of players, whether it was through injuries or players not being released from clubs. Just a gutsy performance, having not had a camp in a year, a new head coach, and here’s your first game against the world No. 1. And quite honestly, could have came away with it with a result against them. The team looked sharp and ready to go and excited to finally get back with them, start playing under Bev. It’s a big year for us. The SheBelieves, was a good start for the team. Would have been nice to get a couple more results, but we’re just starting.