The IX: Soccer Monday (OK, Tuesday) with Annie Peterson for July 8, 2019

IT'S OVER. Some random thoughts about the tournament. A few good wrapups and Rapinoe (who else?) in the mixed zone

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IT’S OVER.

(First off, apologies. I’m currently traveling back to Portland and trying to take care of all the wrapup stuff I need to do for AP. Plus I’m exhausted. So you’re likely waking up to this on Tuesday.)

I’m both relieved and sad. What am I gonna do with my life now? Just kidding, I still have the NWSL! You guys, I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but holy cow I’m lucky to be able to watch and write about these amazing players (Sam Kerr!!!!) in person.

OK, a couple of random thoughts. Just spitballing here because I just arrived in London, where I landed way back on June 2. It seems like a years ago that I was at Tottenham’s training grounds and listening to Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn. Oh hey, both of them went on to have fantastic tournaments, BTW.

First: Didn’t expect Kelley O’Hara to be the MAGA hero of the whole tournament.

Second: Didn’t expect to see Alex Morgan twerk.

On a more serious note: nearly all the players and the teams expressed hope that the attention on this World Cup brings change back home. That change means different things to different national teams.

Nigerian players were still seeking back pay from 2016 while in France.

Argentina players earned their first World Cup point and afterward said they hoped the team’s progress would be sustained.

The Americans, of course, are seeking a resolution to the lawsuit they filed against U.S. Soccer alleging gender discrimination.

Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the players in matters concerning the lawsuit, texted me shortly after the team’s victory over the Netherlands.

“At this moment of tremendous pride for America, the sad equation remains all too clear, and Americans won’t stand for it any more. These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings but get paid less simply because they are women. It is time for the Federation to correct this disparity once and for all.”

While there were similar calls for change and equity at the World Cup in Canada, the momentum eventually faded for many nations.

I’m still very much in a World Cup bubble, and still too close to the tournament to see if this time will be different. It certainly feels different, especially after the crowd in Lyon chanted for equal pay following the final.

Several of us sat down with Sarai Bareman, the head of women’s football for FIFA before the semifinal. I’ll share more in a future addition of The IX. This World Cup was the first since FIFA created a dedicated women’s football division, which she leads.

Yes, FIFA faces a lot of criticism for its treatment of the women’s game, but Bareman is truly excited about growing the game.

“We really want to leverage this competition to support us basically in implementing a lot of the things that we've developed as part of our strategy. And from a very personal perspective, it's been an incredible experience as well just seeing everything come together. Once every four years you have this opportunity to showcase the women's game like no other moment and it's important that we leverage that so that what happens afterwards really takes advantage of that momentum.”

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! apeterson@ap.org.

Again, like last week, there’s all sorts of media here telling some really great stories. I can’t possibly include them all. Here are some of the high points. Next week I’ll do something a little more comprehensive with the best stuff out of the tournament.

As always, The Equalizer’s World Cup landing page. This staff has done incredible work during this journey. If you don’t subscribe yet, you should now to thank them all for their coverage of the game.

And, of course, the great folks at ProSoccerUSA rocked it in France, too. Alicia DelGallo was the hardest working reporter at the World Cup.

Jonathan Tannenwald’s analysis for the Philadelphia Enquirer.

Steven Goff from the Washington Post on celebrating, then getting back to work.

Nancy Armour for USA Today on how the rest of the world is catching up, and what the US needs to do to stay on top.

Rachel Bachman on Rapinoe’s pose. It’s her Jumpman!

Guardian writers pick their favorite moments.

The BBC on what we learned at the World Cup.

The LA Times on The Ratings!

ESPN’s Sam Borden on the Americans’ statement-making win.

The AP’s World Cup page is here.

The New York Times Word Cup page is here.

Sports Illustrated’s is here.


Five at The IX: Finally, the parting words from Lyon, the day after the final.

Megan Rapinoe on not scoring until the second half:

“I think in every other games we have scored in the first ten or fifteen minutes. I think we have felt a little bit of stress from that, it was more just an unrealistic stress we were in a World Cup final. It is pretty normal not to score in the first ten minutes but I thought our first half was really good. We just knew in half time we were like, the next level is there, we knew they were getting a little tired as the game was getting a little bit, we just knew we had to come out and push in that second half.”

Megan Rapinoe on celebrating with fans in the United States:

“Yes of course. We were keeping track what was going on back home but you never really have the feel for it unless you are right in the middle of it so we are about to touch down in the middle of it. We can’t wait. I mean France has been amazing, we love France thank you for everything, but we can’t wait to get home. We have been here for so long, we are on the road for so long. We are through the end back in New York.”

Megan Rapinoe on how she felt:

“Oh man just crowd night, I woke up just like (big smile) just crazy and tired obviously.”

Megan Rapinoe on the crowd saying “Equal Play”  during the final:

“I think everybody is ready for it, everybody wants it. Everybody is ready for the conversation, we move to the next peace, to have something like that, you know, obviously in the biggest match, that went so far beyond anything in sport, it was pretty incredible.”

Becky Sauerbrunn on how she was feeling:

“A little tired, a little beat up. But it was great celebrating with our teammates, and with our friends and family last night. Just very happy in this moment.”

Alyssa Naeher on if she could describe her feelings in one word:

“I don’t know if there is just one word to describe it. This has been you know a great tournament, it has been a journey that we have been on all together as a group and be able to come out walk away with the goal medal is something special.”


Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women's Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Lindsay Gibbs, @Linzsports ThinkProgress
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren PGA.com
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster