The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, August 10, 2020
A European tour! — Sam Mewis talks big move to Man City — Must-click woso links
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While we wait to see what the NWSL’s plans are for fall, let’s take a little virtual jaunt over to Europe and see what’s going on there.
Turns out, there’s a lot. Oh hi, Sam Mewis!
But more on that later.
Stop 1: The Netherlands
The Dutch Football Association is allowing 19-year-old Ellen Fokkema to play on the first men’s team of her local club, VV Foarut.
Under the current system, young women can play with their local teams until they are 19, and then they have to either go to a women’s team or play on a “Category B” team.
The KNVB allowed Fokkema, who is a forward, an exception for one season with VV Foarut as part of a pilot program.
“I’ve been playing with these guys since I was five and I was sorry that I wouldn’t be able to play with them in a team next year. From the KNVB I was always advised to continue playing with the boys for as long as possible, so why shouldn’t it be possible? It is quite a challenge, but that only excites me more. I asked the club if something was possible and together we submitted the request to the KNVB. My teammates also responded enthusiastically that I can stay with them. I dare not say how it will go, but I am very happy anyway that I can participate in this pilot.”
What I thought was interesting was that Art Langeler, director of football development at the KNVB, said that every year there’s a request similar to Ellen’s.
“The KNVB stands for diversity and equality. We believe that there should be room for everyone in every way. Moreover, in these cases there is a nice sporting challenge that we do not want to block. That is why we are starting this pilot. Experience will tell if and how it works. We will monitor how things are going in close consultation with the club. Based on that, we could apply a change of regulation.”
Mixed soccer has been played in the Netherlands since 1986, as a way to allow girls to play with their local clubs in smaller villages that might not have girls’ teams.
Stop 2: Zurich
I missed it a few weeks ago when FIFA released its official report on the Women’s World Cup solidarity fund. You can see the report here.
This was a big deal when it was announced last year, seen as another step in bringing the women’s tournament in line with the men’s.
The fund, which totaled $8.46 billion, compensates and rewards clubs that develop women who play in soccer’s premier tournament.
Money went to 822 professional and grassroots clubs from 39 member associations. Fifty percent of the total went directly to clubs that released players for France.
All nine NWSL clubs and some 50 youth teams in the United States shared $789,960 in compensation from the solidarity fund.
Stop 3: France
Lyon defeated Paris Saint-Germain 4-3 on penalties after a scoreless draw for its record ninth Women’s French Cup. A reduced-capacity crowd of 5,000 fans were on hand for the match in Auxerre, which also featured a power outage.
Up next for the teams are the Champions League quarterfinals. Here’s how the teams have set up: Atletico Madrid plays Barcelona in Bilbao, while Glasgow City plays Wolfsburs in San Sebastian on Aug. 21. The next day Lyon will play Bayern Munich in Bilbao and PSG will play Arsenal in San Sebastian.
Stop 4: England!
The FA has announced the opening games for the 20-21 Women’s Super League. Defending champion Chelsea with visit Manchester United on Sept. 6 in its opener. Jessie Fleming could make her pro debut for Chelsea, and you know, there’s Sam Kerr.
Here’s the release on the opening two rounds of games from the FA.
Here’s the breaking news this morning: Sam Mewis is headed to Manchester City. Read what Mewis said in her first interview with Man City’s website below.
We’re still waiting on official word about whether Rose Lavelle will play for Manchester City. And Rachel Daly told the BBC there’s a possibility she might play in the WSL on loan.
So basically, if you’re missing women’s soccer. Don’t worry, it’s only a couple of weeks away. Oh, and stay tuned for some additional work from me on international soccer for AP. Working on some projects.
And hey, there’s lots of women’s football fans around the globe, and my goal is to provide content in The IX for them, too. If you have any suggestions, email me at email@example.com.
(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! firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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Lindsey Horan talked to People magazine.
The Athletic’s Meg Linehan surveyed some 2,800 NWSL supporters to get an idea about what’s working for the league.
Louise Taylor wrote about Ellen Fokkema for The Guardian.
A nice story on Ghana’s Faraday from the Beautiful Game Network. Maybe she’s bound for the NWSL? Stay tuned.
The Star newspaper of Jamaica with a story on Bunny Shaw being awarded the nation’s Order of Distinction.
Front Office Sports looked at the NWSL’s new sponsors.
FIFA.com did a really nice job on this story about McCall Zerboni. Note to FIFA: Put bylines on these stories!
The Houston Chronicle’s Glynn Hill takes a look at Rachel Daly’s successes.
Jacob Cristobal reports on Jodie Taylor’s transfer to Lyon for Sounder at Heart.
Annie Costabile with the Chicago Sun Times reports that the Red Stars’ supporters group has doubled in size.
Ali Krieger joins Orlando City’s broadcast team.
The Equalizer looked at the USWNT-eligible players who might have earned a look during the NWSL tournament.
Front Row Soccer on the men’s and women’s DII and DIII championships cancelled. We’re still waiting on word from the NCAA about fall sports at the top level. Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy took a look at the possibility there’s no college soccer this fall.
Five at The IX: Sam Mewis talks to Man City TV!
Confession time: The interview I had set up for Sunday for this section fell through. It happens. So instead I’ll give you a taste of Sam Mewis’ first interview with Manchester City’s in-house production team, Man City TV. Some interesting stuff here, but my favorite part was when she talked about the four stars.
My thought: This is an excellent move for Mewis and should add dimension to her game. And also, she’s a good fit here, and is well suited to be an impact in the WSL. But we’ll see.
Question: What about Man City appealed to you?
Mewis: When I heard that I might have the chance to come play for Man City, my ears really perked up because I know that just the club overall is just one of the top clubs in the world. I have followed the men’s team for a long time and I hear such good things about the women’s side, and all of the facilities and just the way the club is run. So when I first heard about it, I was really, really excited and wanted to see if it would all work out and luckily it did. So I’m really just excited to come see the city, be a part of such an incredible club and hopefully help the team achieve some some goals during this upcoming season. I think it’s really cool and unique and exciting opportunity for me in my career.
Question: So what did you actually know about the FAWSL and what excited you about actually playing in the league?
Mewis: A lot of things about the league have excited me. I’ve heard from a couple teammates of mine who have played in the FAWSL that it’s just a little bit different from the NWSL in that it’s a good way to expose yourself to a little bit of a different style or, like a different tactical side of the game. I’ve been in the NWSL for five or six years now. What I’m excited about this opportunity is that I’m gonna just be exposed to maybe a different style. It’s going to be really good for my development to be exposed to something new and to kind of get out of my comfort zone a little bit. And I’m excited to hopefully have an impact. I really just want to help the team win and see if I can be a positive part of team.
Question: What kind of discussions that you have with our manager, Gareth Taylor, and what about any of those discussions might have excited you about the challenge?
Mewis: I think one of the reasons I’m so excited about coming is because I want to continue to improve as a player. I really want to become the best player that I can be. In talking to the staff, I feel like they are excited about that possibility as well.
Question: So obviously you’ve had a great career with the USWNT so far, and I’m wondering your opinion on going to play in Europe and how that will help sort of grow the national team back in the U.S.?
Mewis: I think that just having this new opportunity and experience, and hopefully adding some depth to my own game. One of my goals, obviously, is to continue to play with the national team. But it’s such a competitive environment that I know that every day is like another tryout and I’m competing for playing time and for even a spot with so many talented players from America. So I feel like exposing myself to a different style or getting a little bit outside my comfort zone and really trying to challenge myself by being exposed to some new things, I hope will help my game and will help keep me on the national team. And then I think even on top of that, I’m trying to help the national team win, and I can be a little bit better or sharper or a little bit more tactically aware. I hope that that can help that team win as well.
Question: Historically, it seems like a lot of the women’s national team players in the US have maybe been encouraged to stay playing domestically. Why do you think that’s changing a little bit with more players taking this opportunity to go abroad?
Mewis: I feel like the game is changing so much. I think that the women’s game has come such a long way. And I feel like it’s really exciting for a lot of people to get to experience playing soccer in another country, especially a country like England and a city like Manchester, where soccer and football is really so much of the culture and people are so invested. So I think it’s exciting to think about living someplace like that and think about being exposed every day 24/7 to the game and just really living that lifestyle. The players and teammates that I’ve talked to who have experienced playing in another country have said just that, that you just really become so invested in it and the culture becomes part of you and that it’s a really cool part of your career to get to kind of live and breathe soccer all the time.
Question: You’re bringing a really unique experience in that you’re coming as a World Cup champion. And that 2019 World Cup was such a special moment for football soccer fans in this country. There’s one moment I back in March. I think the final replayed on TV and you were a social presenter for Fox Soccer and there was a moment that they replayed where you were picking up the jersey for the first time with the fourth star. And it really it really struck me and a lot of other fans. What was going through your mind at that moment?
Mewis: I think that when I first saw it, I have looked at that jersey my whole life as kind of like a piece of history. For most of my life and soccer career there was two stars on the jersey. Then I watched the 2015 team get that third star. Seeing the fourth star for the first time and realizing that I had been a part of putting that there and that it was going to be there forever, I kind of like had this like flashback of my whole life and realizing that I was a part of history and that this star that I helped put there would be on this jersey forever, for the whole next generation.