The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie Peterson, January 13, 2020

After a busy week of trades, here comes the NWSL draft! Links galore, and chatting CBD with Rachael Rapinoe

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#SheBelieves New Jersey will be warm in March

First off, a bit of expected news was made official this morning: The SheBelieves Cup will feature the USWNT, Japan, England and Spain. Matches will be played in Orlando on March 5, New Jersey (Red Bull Arena) on March 8 and Frisco, Texas on March 11.

So lots has been happening in the NWSL, and if you’ve been focused elsewhere (like on the crazy goings-on in women’s hoops) in the past week, here’s a recap!

But first a quick MoMo update: She’s getting big and way more curious. Likes to sit in the empty bathtub. Still hasn’t learned boundaries, especially at 5 a.m.

That said, on to the week that was in the NWSL:

Houston Dash forward Kealia Ohai was traded to the Chicago Red Stars for defender Katie Naughton and the 18th overall pick in this week’s draft.

Utah Royals coach Laura Harvey stepped down to become full-time coach of the USWNT U-20 team in advance of that level’s World Cup qualifying.

The Thorns sent national team defender Emily Sonnett at the rights to Caitlin Foord, along with a couple of draft picks, to the Orlando Pride in exchange for the top pick in the draft. There’s speculation that Stanford’s Sophia Smith plans to leave school early for Portland.

The Thorns also sent Midge Purce to Sky Blue for Raquel Rodriguez. Sad to see Purce go, because I really liked to watch her and she was a gem with the media, but it will be very interesting to see how Mark Parsons utilizes Rodriguez.

There was the formal announcement that WaPo’s Steven Goff teased last Monday: Amanda Duffy is stepping down as president of the NWSL to take over as executive vice president of the Orlando Pride.

North Carolina’s McCall Zerboni was sent to Sky Blue for the rights to Hailie Mace and a 2021 draft pick.

There was also some draft pick swapping doing on last week.

So what does the draft look like? Well, Deyna Castellanos bolted for Europe. It looks like UCLA’s Jessie Fleming is planning to play abroad, too. ESPN’s Graham Hayes says Stanford’s Catarina Macario, who has won back-to-back MAC Hermann Trophies, is expected to remain in Palo Alto for her senior year.

Ally Watt is reportedly staying stateside in the NWSL.

A good resource if you are on Twitter for all kinds of interesting stats is Chris Henderson, @chris_awk, of the WoSo Independent Podcast. Just an incredible wealth of information.

The NWSL also announced the team that will call the draft for online viewers: Host Marisa Pilla, analyst Lori Lindsey, analyst Jen Cooper, and reporter Jordan Angeli. I love, love, love that it’s an all-woman crew.

Casting a shadow over the whole thing is that the NWSL is essentially leaderless, except for the team owners. The Athletic’s Meg Linehan speculates that the league will simply hire a commissioner and the president’s role won’t be revived.

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!

Lots and lots of stuff happening, and I couldn’t include it all here. Apologies if I missed your work. Send me a link at the above email and I’ll pop it in next week.

Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris share their love story and what it means to become role models in the LGBTQ community with Julia Poe of ProSoccerUSA

The Athletic’s Meg Linehan did a Q&A with Kate Markgraf. Lots of interesting stuff here.

Stephanie Yang with a good piece on late NWSL draft picks who became contract players for AllForXI.

The Equalizer reports that the Reign are set to hire Farid Benstiti as the team’s new coach.

The Chicago Sun Times spoke to Kealia Ohai about the trade to the Windy City.

Megan Rapinoe reacted to the IOC ban on gestures and kneeling on her Instagram. Mark my words, this is going to become a big story in Tokyo. By stifling expression, the IOC made it a much bigger deal than if it had left the issue alone.

Report from USWNT training camp from the Tampa Bay Times.

The provisional U.S. roster for CONCACAF qualifying is out.

The Salt Lake Tribune on the search for Laura Harvey’s successor with the Royals.

Molly McElwee for the Telegraph on how the USWNT’s World Cup is still having an impact on the fight for equality.

Benjamin Hochman did a nice feature on Becky Sauerbrunn for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

I missed this last week, but Tyler Nguyen over at Stumptown Footy says the Thorns are interested in Kadidiatou Diani. (How cool would that be!)

Sophie Lawson looks at 10 great rivalries in women’s soccer for AllForXI.

Suzanne Wrack on the midseason departure of the Manchester City women’s coach, Nick Cushing.

In advance of the draft, Jen Cooper at Keeper Notes has some awesome resources here.

The aforementioned Graham Hays’ report for ESPN on the Thorns’ trades.

Five at The IX: I talked to Rachael Rapinoe about Mendi, the CBD company she has co-founded

So I thought I’d do something a little different this week, delving a bit into the business side of soccer and sports.

I spoke to Rachael Rapinoe, Megan’s twin sister, about Mendi, a new CDB company aimed at athletes. Rachael is a co-founder of Mendi, which I first heard this summer in France about when I was on a train to Lyon and wound up sitting next to the Rapinoe clan. She also played in college for the Portland Pilots but knee injuries forced an early retirement. Check out the website at

Annie: How did you get into this business and why why Mendi?

Rachael: I got into this business because, like most other athletes who have had injuries, I wanted way more natural way to heal from pain and inflammation.

I obviously retired when I was 26, but Ive had four knee surgeries and an ankle surgery and I still work out quite a bit. And so I knew that there’s got to be a healthier way than opiates or over-the-counter meds. And several years ago, that’s when I was first organically introduced to CBD and I was introduced to it by some pro athletes that are in my trusted circle that I saw using it. And that was the first time that I had ever seen people use cannabis products that are not in the stoner culture.

So that definitely got my attention. And that’s when I started educating myself and using cannabis products for the purpose of recovery.

Annie: When was it launched? And how is it going so far?

Rachael: We started concepting Mendi about three years ago because again, when I first started using it and when I started seeing other athletes use it, the first thing I noticed is that they were bouncing around from brand to brand and there was no real trusted sports brand in this space. So that’s when I saw an opportunity to build something that athletes could really trust and that really spoke to athletes. So we started concepting this three years ago and we decided to go for it about a year ago, actually, this time last year. We were accepted into a business accelerator program here in Portland. And we did that program for four and a half months. Then we launched our brand and our merchandise line during the World Cup. And then we we opened our online CBD store in August.

Annie: How is it going so far?

Rachael: It’s going amazing. We hit all of our 2019 sales goals.Sales and profitability for 2020-2021 are looking fantastic. And we closed our finance round, we closed our seed round. and we just hired our first full time employee, too. So its going great.

Annie: hat are the benefits of CBD as you see it?

Rachael: You know, obviously you have to be really careful with what you say because the FDA is pretty strict around claims. What some studies show, what our athletes feedback is telling us and my own personal experience with with CBD is that it helps tremendously with sleep, with pain relief, with inflammation. And then for me personally, the biggest thing that I’ve noticed is when I take it throughout the day, it helps keep me calm. So it levels out stress and anxiousness throughout my work day. So some people take it at night for sleep. And again, it’s not a one size fits all. But for me, I take it throughout the day and I’ve noticed a significant difference, just with like anxiousness and stress throughout my work week. I don’t get the huge spikes and the huge lulls. I don’t need an afternoon coffee anymore. So it’s just generally kept me more balanced throughout my day and through my week.

Annie: What are your goals with the company?

Rachael: Well, the first goal and the ultimate mission is to improve athletes’ lives using nature’s best tools. I mean, ultimately, if we’re not making athletes much better, then we’re not doing our job. And if we’re not doing it in the most natural way possible, then we’re not fulfilling our mission. So that is first and foremost. And then the goal of the company is to be the world’s most trusted sport CBD brand.

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

Written by Annie Peterson