The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, December 16, 2019

A look at some of the podcasts out there that you can sample over the holiday season. Plus, some of Jill's comments from today!

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I’ve officially entered holiday mode and I’m taking a couple of weeks off of work. We’re in kind of a lull in the soccer world anyway, with the College Cup wrapped up. Things will ramp up again come January when the USWNT starts to prepare for the Olympics.

I was thinking about podcasts since I’m going to be pulling away from some social media during the holidays (OK, mostly Twitter) to recharge. Twitter has become increasingly toxic and devoid of reality because of all the automated accounts and sockpuppets. I need to figure out a way to tune all of the outside noise out, and just focus on what’s important. If anyone has any Twitter suggestions, please let me know! I’m at

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite soccer podcasts, and please, if you have a podcast you like, please sent it my way. I couldn’t include all of them! PS: I know many of you know these, but for those who are IX subscribers for the other sports, here’s a good place to start if you want to branch out into soccer.

Let’s start at the top, with The Mixxed Zone. This is the OG of woso podcasts. Jen Copper has encyclopedic knowledge of the game and has unmatched insight. I first started paying attention back in 2014 when Randy Waldrum was drumming up money for Trinidad & Tobago and I reached out to Jen for a story I was writing. I’ve been a devotee ever since. Find the podcast here. Oh, and also check out

2 Drunk Fans. This is always a fun listen from @thrace and @gabpdx, who are a fountain of knowledge when it comes to woso. I’m just in awe of both of them. You can find it here.

The Equalizer podcast is from the folks at The Equalizer, so you know its good. I don’t really need to say more. You can find it at\m. By the way, the holiday season is an excellent time to gift yourself with a subscription to the premium edition.

If you haven’t yet, check out the Backline Podcasts (Apple link here). The 123rd Minute features the musings of RJ Allen, aka @TheSoccerCritic and Charles Olney, aka @olneyce, who are always interesting.

The Offside Rule podcast (link here) isn’t just about woso, but this is a must-listen for insight into the WSL. I haven’t really followed the WSL, with so much other stuff I gotta follow, Blazers, college hoops, etc., but plan to get more into it while I’m on my break. Love to get the women’s perspective on football.

My final recommendation, and I’ve mentioned it here before, is the Burn It All Down podcast. It is here. This isn’t a woso podcast per se, although the game is often the topic conversation. It’s from five women I greatly admire: Shireen Ahmed, Lindsay Gibbs, Brenda Elsey, Amira Rose Davis, and Jessica Luther.

One last thing. This was breaking as I was wrapping up the IX today, so I wanted to add it:—%20NWSLPA%20(@nwsl_players)%20a%20href=

And with that, we’re 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!

OK this was a busy week. Julie Ertz, the World Cup bids and today the financials, so I’ll try to touch a bit on everything, but this is by no meand a comprehensive list.

First off, Julie Ertz was named the US Soccer women’s Player of the Year. Here’s my story for The AP. For the record, I don’t use Female Player of the Year, I say Women’s Player of the Year.

And my story on the Women’s World Cup bids.

Not a good look: The La Salle women’s soccer team is on probation for “nonviolent power-differential hazing.” From AP.

Meg Whitman joins FC Cincinnati ownership group. Always good to have more representation in pro soccer.

Yahoo Sports weighs in on Ertz’s honor. Personal aside. There will be a day when I don’t instinctively type Julie Johnston. I will never stop referring to her as JJ in casual conversation, tho.

Time Magazine named the USWNT its Athlete of the Year. Then forgot to tell a couple of players about the photo shoot.

The always incredible Meg Linehan looks at Megan Rapinoe’s evolution as a superstar for The Athletic.

Also from this morning: The Athletic looks at U.S. Soccer’s financials.

Megan Rapinoe was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year, which you know. But this was an interesting nugget about a private White House invite.

The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf talks to Kate Markgraf.

Caitlin Murray on what’s ahead for U.S. Soccer for Yahoo Sports.

All For XI looks at the NWSL Team of the Decade.

No surprise here, but the U.S. in ranked No. 1 in FIFA’s final women’s rankings this year. From ProSoccer USA.

Tweet of the Week

Five at The IX: Jill Ellis at the Breakthrough Summit—%20BreakThrough%20Summit%20(@BreakThroughDLS)%20a%20href=

Jill Ellis spoke this morning at the BreakThrough Summit. It was a great interview and I’ve included a few excerpts here. She had interesting thoughts on dealing with distraction.

Ellis on leadership: After 2015, I had to do quite a lot of talking and I sort of reflected on how would I summarize my leadership. And I actually nailed it down to three things. I think the most important thing in leadership is the ability to connect. You have to know the fabric of the people around you, understand that they’re not just athletes. They’re not just coaches and doctors around you. They’re people. So the connection piece was huge. I think the other part of my leadership was, you have to know where you’re going. In sport, it’s easy. Where do you want to go? To the top the podium. But how do you navigate that space and how do you make that happen? More importantly, you can decide where you want to go, (but) it’s about having the courage to now make those decisions to get you to that point. And the final thing about leadership, I’ve always said, if I’m the same leader today that was two years ago, I’m failing. You have to evolve as a leader and you have to reflect on everything you’ve done to that point, to always make sure you’re growing from your experiences, good and bad.

Ellis on her sideline demeanor: It’s interesting because I remember as a player, I was playing in college and we had a coach at the time and I remember one game specifically that we were tied. The coach was up there and standing, and into it and encouraging us. And then we gave up the goal and they sat down and did this. And I remember from the corner of my eye as a young player I said, that person just quit on us. Suddenly it was a different body language. And that sent a message to me. Then we score a goal on they are back into it. And I always want to be, as much as I can as a coach, consistent so that when those players turn, they’re always going to know I’m right there. They’re not going to see me kick a water ball out of frustration or they’re not going to see me lose my mind, because that will impact them. Just like I say to them, their body language, if they get frustrated at teammate or something, if their body language shows, the other team is going to get a jump on that. So I always try to, really as much as I possibly can, be consistent in how I’m portrayed. Back in college I was probably a little bit mean, meaner to referees than anybody because, you know, bad decisions, intensity. But I think over time what I realized is, I want to be a role model. Listen, did I get excited when we scored goals? Yeah. My wife is like `Why are you mounting all these men?’ I’m jumping on these guys. I always jumped on a security guy who’s the biggest guy out there, because he wouldn’t drop me, and my wife said, `What’s going on with you and that guy?’ (Laughter) So I think you let your emotions out, just like your players, at times you have a few tears or at times they your emotions. I think that’s true, to be genuine, in terms of your emotions. The French coach, a friend of mine, Corinne Diacre, gets the same criticism. She’s also very stoic and she’s a fun loving person and everything. In her French accent, she’s like,`We get absolutely battered for just being like this, would they do that to men? ‘And I’m like, probably not. You know, it’s just because you have this, RBF face, or whatever they call it.

Ellis on managing strong personalities: Just honest, straight-up communication. I think first of all, I credit them. They are a remarkably professional group. And I think that the culture of the women’s national team, it’s it’s a been long time in the making. So when you come into that environment, there is already an expectation that you have to put the team first and you have to make sure that you’re there for the right reasons. I remember a long time ago when I was a younger coach, I had the under-21 national team and I was talking to one of the players, who was my captain at the time, Lindsay Tarpley, and I said `Tarp, I don’t really understand it, the team that really hasn’t come together yet.’ And she goes, `You haven’t named the roster yet.’ I’m like, good point. In reality, these players come into these environments, and they are competing, cutthroat, for the same 23 spots, for the same eleven spots on the field. And so there is this natural competitiveness. But when you when you name a roster, and when you’re going for something like a world event, world championship, it’s like everything then shifts and everything becomes about the team at putting the team first. So how do you cultivate that? The substitutes, instead of calling subs or bench rooms, we call them game changers. I think what’s important when you have a team and you want everybody to buy in, you have to make sure that everybody is valued. Whether it’s the starters get one training and reserves get something different? No. Everybody got access to the same information, the same training. We call them game changes because we wanted them to feel valued. When I’d start every match summary, the day after we played a game at the World Cup, I always started with images of our bench celebrating. So we can always find this connection between the starting group. When you when you promote it — I mean, naturally, this group was a very close, cohesive group. One of the closest teams I’ve ever coached. But I think part of part of what I did two years earlier, in terms of bringing in new players and forging sort of new a hierarchy and then coming out on the back side of it, I think that shift, that change, gave us a very dynamic environment . I terms of the players themselves, I think as a coach, you have to know they’re more than just athletes. This is a very dynamic group that have a large platform that care about a lot of different things. So it’s making sure that you encourage it. They don’t need your permission, but you don’t limit it or muzzle it. When you’re with a family, you sit with your family and you’re having conversation. You might be talking politics, social issues. We are together much like a family. And so for us suddenly to say, `We can’t talk about that, we can’t discuss that,’ as long as it never impacted our performance, as long as it wasn’t two players squaring off that would have spill over to the field, or it was something that was going to be negative to the to the image of the team, then one hundred percent, people need to be themselves. So that was something I was always very comfortable with, because at the the day I don’t want to be seen just as a coach. I’m a mom. Everything. I am is the sum of my experiences. And so they’re not just soccer players, not just athletes. They’re social advocates, they’re everything. They bring all of that to the table. And you’ve got to allow that to thrive.

Ellis on how to not let things be a distraction: I’m dealing with, you know, 35, 34 year old women. We had a pretty large gamut, but for the most part, you’re dealing with with adults. I got asked this a lot: How was the equal pay, how was tweeting at Trump, how did that not spill over to be a distraction? I think part of what you have to navigate and know, and decide how much you have to manage, is just knowing those people. So what I knew about Pinoe, is the brighter the spotlight, the more (she’s) energized, it’s not going to burn her. And the more that she is energized, the more confidence spills over into our team. So I never saw it as being a negative. I thought,she’s never gonna lose our focus. It kind of galvanized the team, in many ways. So it wasn’t going to be this incredibly distracting thing. The other thing about our environment with the women’s national team and for those that have been a part of it for a long, long time, it’s always a little bit of a circus. When you’ve got people that are strong personalities, you’re always going to have the attention of media. And media is always seeking out the negative, but the reality is, there’s so many good things coming from this team. How do you navigate? I think you have to know the people to know if they can manage it and handle it. You have to make sure that there are certain parameters where, there are certain things that you you don’t want to have happen. Do you talk to them about, making sure you’re not giving information to the opponent or locker room fodder. Of course. But I think I just knew my team, and knew that this wasn’t going to be something that was going to derail us. I mean, we were so locked on, so focused, and that was all of the preparation leading up to that point.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Stephanie Livaudais,
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell,
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Annie Peterson