The IX: Soccer Mondays with Annie M. Peterson for March 23, 2020

U.S. Soccer backs off, social distancing sucks but look at what my son and I did! Links and a word with Susie DeLellis Petruccelli!

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U.S. Soccer backs off

Hi, social distancing sucks.

That was going to be it. The whole post.

But it seems we always find silver linings. Fast Eddie and I took the opportunity to create a new patio in a corner of the yard where grass won’t grow because it’s too shady. We had a couple of chairs and our gas fire table. I’m so proud of the two of us. Teamwork!

After I published last week U.S. Soccer and the USWNT both dropped even more documents in the gender discrimination case.

You already know the significant development: The federation backed off the whole women are physically inferior to men and the men’s team has more responsibilities, like getting yelled at by fans, apparently.

The stance was a public relations disaster in the first place and I’m unsure how they didn’t see it coming when Carli Lloyd was asked whether the women could beat the German men’s team.

But yeah, this has been a PR problem since the World Cup final when the fans chanted Equal Pay!

So it was good to see Cindy Parlow Cone’s statement that night.

“The WNT is the most successful soccer team in the world. As it relates to the lawsuit filed by the women, I offer the perspective of a former player. I know how important it is for both the Federation and the players to move beyond this and keep working together on what unites us. We only have one Federation and one senior Women’s National Team. We have to work together and move forward in a positive manner toward what I know are mutual goals, growing the game and winning.”

At the same time, the federation was relying on misleading charts like this:

Year Payments to WNT Payments to MNT

2015 $7,674,412 $4,769,229

2016 $4,115,041 $5,332,774

2017 $6,329,119 $4,940,067

2018 $7,319,961 $1,918,468

2019 $11,853,941 $4,222,635

Total $37,292,474 $21,183,172

This is from Page 3 of their final brief requesting a summary judgement in the case.

OK, so what’s wrong with this? I don’t even need to say it, right? The women made more because they won more and played more games. If this is an argument, well, it doesn’t seem to bode well for U.S. Soccer.

Here’s the thing: I’m not a lawyer. So I’m not 100 percent sure of the legal standing U.S. Soccer may have here.

However, does it matter what your legal standing is when it comes to public perception?

If you win the case but lose your honor, is it really a win?

Quick newsy notes before the links: Yes, the NWSL regular season has been delayed. Melbourne City won the W-League and shoutout to Fox Sports for re-airing the 2015 and 2019 World Cup finals. Much-needed distraction.


(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!

Wow, this story on Lauren Sesselmann from Kieran Theivam for The Athletic. So good, and important.

One of the best things I read all week: ProSoccerUSA talked to Heather O’Reilly.

Caitlin Murray wrote a good piece for The Guardian on how Cordiero’s exit won’t fix US Soccer’s problems.

USA Today’s Nancy Armour on U.S. Soccer backing off of stance.

“Invisible Crest” becomes a (profitable) thing, from Sports Illustrated.

ESPN’s Graham Hays looks at the USWNT, the coronavirus and more.

Michael McCann, an actual lawyer, takes a deeper dive into to the case for Sports Illustrated.

PopSugar looked at fascinating facts about Megan Rapinoe. stans Rose Lavelle.

The always fantastic Meg Linehan on the shift in the USSF legal stance after the arrival of Cindy Parlow Cone.

I also wrote about the shift for the Associated Press. And, y’all know this by now but the start of the NWSL season has been delayed.

Caitlin Murray wrote about the shift for Yahoo Sports.

The Equalizer on Melbourne City winning the W-League.

The Equalizers John Halloran spoke to Utah Royals coach Craig Harrington.

Equal Time Soccer with a good argument for why the NWSL should expand to Minnesota.

This isn’t good: Suzanne Wrack for the Guardian on coronavirus causing uncertainty for women’s clubs.

I enjoyed this iNews story on Rose Reilly. If you ask `Who is Rose Reilly?’ you should click through!

Stephanie Yang just posted this proposal for AllForXI and I was glad I saw it before hitting send on Soccer Monday.

Bonus! U.S. Soccer just named William Wilson CEO and Secretary General.

Tweet of the Week!—%20Our%20Game%20Magazine%20(@OurGameMagazine)%20a%20href=

Five at The IX: Author Susie DeLellis Petruccelli

Hey guys! So this weekend I spoke to Susie DeLellis Petruccelli. She has a book coming out called “Raised a Warrior.” You can pre-order it at Floodlit Dreams. Susie’s story takes a lot of twists and turns and I’m excited to read this book.

I asked her to share a bit of her story and how the book came about. Here are some of the excerpts from our conversation:

Susie: “I just fell in love with the game. I was lucky that soccer was available to girls where I grew up. It was the only sport available to girls in South Pasadena at the time, to be honest with you. I had this conversation with Billie Jean King and I was like, Yeah, I grew up in Pasadena (She grew up in Long Beach) and I was like, `We didn’t have tennis.’ And she said `You guys had tennis.’ (Laughs)

I ended up following my older brothers to their soccer stuff and and luckily fell in love with it and played all the way through. Played ODP and ended up at Harvard.

“I found myself like a complete fish out of water. I mean, my family was male-dominated, I would say, but wasn’t as it wasn’t as old-school, old-boys network as Harvard. I had never experienced anything like that before where you get to a place and you’re literally not allowed to go into a social club because you’re a woman. And it just really threw me for a loop. And the winters were hard and I just really struggled.

“Then the beginning of my sophomore year, second day of the preseason, I had a really terrible injury, should have really been a career-ending injury. But I just could not give up soccer. It was my whole life. It was my identity. It was my happiness, my confidence, my passion. It was where I felt, you know, like a whole person.

“I just really sort of floundered for a while but and ended up pulling myself out of it with a lot of help from a lot of people, including all my teammates and my coach, who really saved my life. I end up working in a career in tech, which was amazing because it gave me something new and exciting and confidence building that I felt like I could eventually be financially independent in.

“I don’t want to give too much away but basically, after I had children, I start needing to get back. I just could never get away from that need. It was like I was mourning soccer all those years when I couldn’t play anymore. I kept trying to play, I kept re-tearing my my injury. And I just could never give it up. So emotionally, I found myself writing about it. It just it made me feel like I was back in the game and it made me happy and it gave me that joy, even if it was only in my own daydreams. I was trying to honor all of my teammates throughout my life who helped me through some really hard times and were the people that taught me about things like tampons and growing up and all those things that girls have to go through. So that’s like where the book really came from.”

(Susie kept writing and reading about women’s soccer for years, with an eventual book in mind. She moved with her family to Queens, New York.)

“One of the first friends that I met there, a woman named Melanie, came over to the house and realized we are all soccer obsessed. (Susie’s husband, who also went to Harvard, played on the youth national team). So Melanie looked around and said, `Did you guys know that Pele’s daughter lives over your back fence?’ Then I’m like, peeking over the fence on holidays, thinking I might catch a glimpse of Pele with his grandkids or something. Ironically, we never met and we ended up moving out of that house.

“Two years later, I’m still working on the book. And the book had evolved from sort of like a like a fun, campy romp, to a more historical look on where the gender gap in women’s sports came from.

“I got reconnected with my friend Melanie and she’s like, `You still haven’t met Kely, Pele’s daughter? She’s working on a documentary that’s about almost the same thing that you’re working on.’ She ended up literally putting us next to each other at a dinner. So we met and we clicked and connected and basically became best friends. And then we’ve been best friends ever since.”

(Kely Nascimento-Deluca was and is currently working on a documentary about women’s soccer around the world, called Warrior Women of Football. She asked Susie to join the project as a producer.)

“We traveled around the world for a year and a half, shot this documentary. Yeah. We ended up meeting all the leaders in women’s soccer like Moya Dodd, all these amazing women’s and human rights people, like Minky Worden, and Becca Roux, the president of the Women’s National Team Players Association, we just knew we had the most amazing year and we ended up finishing shooting. The movie is now being edited.”

(Susie ended up reaching out to Ian Ridley, husband of the late journalist Vikki Orvice. She was awarded the Vikki Orvice Book Prize. The result is “Raised a Warrior”)

I don’t want to reveal too much, because you should pre-order the book! It’s not just a personal story, but a look at women’s soccer from a personal perspective. And follow her on Twitter at @sooozie.

If the book is half as much fun as taking to her, it’s going to be a good read.

I’ve said it before about clicking the links, but it’s true about women’s soccer books, too. If you want to see more, you need to show there’s a market for it.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon  Freelance Tennis Writer
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