The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, August 5, 2019

I take a look at my four favorite FEMALE candidates to take over for Jill Ellis, links and a few quick words with Midge Purce.

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This is the complimentary issue this week, but there is so much more to come from Annie Peterson on soccer, along with continued tennis from Lindsay Gibbs, basketball from Howard Megdal, golf from Carly Grenfell and hockey from Erica Ayala. Only way to make sure you don’t miss all the latest news, interviews and deep dives across women’s sports every week is to subscribe! Five different women’s sports in your inbox, five days a week, just five dollars a month! And if you’ve already joined us, share this with someone you know who cares about women’s sports the way you do!


The Jill Ellis future is [should be] female

A bombshell dropped a day after our last Soccer Monday, which in turn had a bombshell in it. To refresh everyone’s memories in a busy week in women’s soccer, last Monday Carlos Cordeiro send a letter to U.S. Soccer’s membership seeking to clear up “confusion” about the equal pay dispute. Which, in turn, caused more confusion.

The next day, Jill Ellis stepped down as head coach of the women’s national team. Later in the week, the victory tour opened at the Rose Bowl. Oh, and the World Cup field expanded to 32 teams!

So, lots of stuff. I’m writing this in anticipation that something big in going to happen again today. Maybe the women’s GM? I’m hearing it’s “imminent.” And it’s supposed to be my day off so, I’m guessing it’ll happen, because that’s just how it works. (Oh, and hi, Kate Markgraf!)

While Ellis’ departure has been covered, including by me here, I think it’s worth exploring some of the possible replacements.

First, a shoutout to Caitlin Murray for including Silvia Neid on her list. Ain’t gonna happen, but fun to think about. Another name that has been bandied about that I think can be crossed off the list is Thorns coach Mark Parsons. One more that I don’t believe will end up in the job: assistant coach Tony Gustavsson.

With that, here are a few candidates I’d look at, in my humble opinion. And yes, I’m going with female candidates. Not just because Ellis herself suggested she’d like to see a woman in the job, but, given the equal pay issue, it may behoove the federation to go in that direction, too.

1.) Laura Harvey. The current Utah Royals coach is not just accomplished and well-liked, she has a straightforward personal style that the USWNT has traditionally embraced. She’s a two-time NWSL Coach of the Year. She also coached Arsenal to three league titles. Oh, and she’s got national team experience with the U-23s. One thing missing from her resume: an NWSL title.

2) Amanda Cromwell. The current UCLA coach won an NCAA title with the Bruins, who she has coached since 2013. A former national team player, she was coach at Central Florida from 1999-2013, making the field for 11 NCAA tournaments during her tenure, while winning five conference and eight regular season titles. She’s gained a reputation as an excellent recruiter. Plus, she’s a former national team player! Bonus!

3.) Shelley Kerr. This is my sentimental favorite, although I’m not sure of her chances. Currently she is the coach for Scotland’s national team, which made the field for this summer’s World Cup. When Steve Clarke took over as coach of Scotland’s men’s team earlier this year, he said he wanted to emulate Kerr. She coached a men’s team, Stirling University FC, as well as Arsenal’s women, where she led the team to a pair of FA Cup titles. She played at center back for the Scottish national team.

4.) Sarina Wiegman. It seems pretty unlikely that USSF could lure away the current coach of the Netherlands, which proved to be a tough and prepared opponent in the World Cup final. In the run-up to the historic World Cup performance, the team won the Women’s European Championship in 2017, the country’s first title in a major tournament. Wiegman played at North Carolina and was on the team that won the 1989 NCAA championship. She was also a Netherlands national team standout, becoming the first Dutch player with 100 caps.

OK, there’s also a group men who are being talked up as candidates, including North Carolina head coach Paul Riley, Reign head coach Vlatko Andonovski, and Florida State coach Mark Krikorian.

With that, I’ll move 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! apeterson@ap.org.

BEFORE I LINK ANYTHING: Massive shoutout to Jeff Kassouf from The Equalizer for breaking the Jill Ellis news on Tuesday. This was a big get on Jeff’s part, proving why he’s one of the best on this beat. Also, subscribe to The Equalizer here.

Speaking of The Equalizer, John Halloran’s thoughtful analysis on the Ellis era.

From my AP colleagues and in case you missed it: Rapinoe is among the candidates for the FIFA best player award. Ellis is on the list for best coach candidates.

My colleague Greg Beacham on how Ellis is content with her decision.

FIFA Council approves World Cup expansion to 32 teams.

No, Ashlyn Harris didn’t make a Nazi salute. Really? This was a thing? AP fact checked it. C’mon people.

The Washington Post’s Steven Goff on the victory tour opener.

Rachel Bachman with a story on how USSF and players union disagreed over pay rate for the match at the Rose Bowl.

The bold moves that silenced Ellis’ critics, from the Sporting News.

Jamie Goldberg with a nice feature on Gabby Sieler for the Oregonian.

Meg Linehan looks at the rise of Kirsten Hamilton for The Athletic.


Five at The IX: Postgame Midge Purce!

So one really wonderful thing about the renovation at Providence Park was that it pushed a ton of home matches to the back end of the season, so I get to see a bunch of games! Yay! I went to Saturday’s match between Sky Blue and the Thorns on Saturday night, but afterward spoke a bit to Midge Purce.

Sky Blue keyed in on her for most of the 1-1 draw, and she came out of the locker room limping. She obviously didn’t want to talk specifics (I tried!), and there’s no word (yet) whether she’ll be ready for the for the Thorns’ game in Tacoma on Wednesday.

Annie: So how do you feel about what went on?

Purce: Frustrating that we didn’t pull out the win, of course. Those are points that we need, especially at home, in front of _ I like to call them family, instead of crowd. But it hurts not to get it done for them.

Annie: How do you feel injury-wise? You were beat up out there.

PurceI don’t like to say I’’m beat up because I’m from the East Coast and my pride takes a hit. I pride myself for being able to fight (laughs). However, it was a rough game. You know, I think the ref was poor, but we both have the same ref, so I still think we should have been able to put it away on our own, despite whatever that is. It’s not about that, it’s about how we performed and what we do, so it’s still disappointing for us.”

Annie: And update on the injury?

Purce: Doing great. Sure (smiles).

Annie: You’re limping a little bit.

Purce: Just a little. It’s a little raw. But I’m fine, confident going into tomorrow and the rest of the week.

Annie: They seemed to really target you, and it seemed almost like a strategy. Did you feel that?

Purce: I haven’t had a chance to think about it in depth to that extent. I don’t know if I can say I feel like they targeted me. I felt like, I’m the 9, I got the brunt of a lot of the dirty work that sometimes the 9 has to do when you’re in the box. So if that’s my role and that’s the part I have to play on the team, then I’ll play it.

Annie: The national teams players are away and you still get 19,000 fans here. Is this the World Cup bump in what’s been a women’s soccer summer?

Purce: I think in other states where there are teams I could confidently say there’s a World Cup bump. But I can’t say that about Portland. I think it’s just the city, I think it’s just the culture here. It’s Soccer City and everyone’s passionate about it. We always have everyone come out and that’s a beautiful thing that’s independent of what year it is or what’s going on in the international stage.”

BONUS QUOTE: By the way, yes, there were some questionable non-calls by the officials. Mark Parsons addressed it afterward:

“Listen, I’ll try, I’ll try to stay away from talking about the referees decisions. I’ll try. … It was clear in the first five, 10 minutes that there was something wrong, and it continued and just grew to bigger and bigger decisions. The trend across this league, I don’t know, is it me? Is it the Thorns? Do the Thorns do too many good things as a club that we’ve got to make sure we’ve got to try to balance things out? The trend, specifically in this stadium, things don’t add up when you go through and you’re seeing decisions. I’m not going to point and look at this one, I’ll let you do that. "

Parsons on Purce: "Yeah, fingers crossed, she's okay. I thought she was in all over the place. I thought she was extremely, extremely good and effective with her movements and her quality against Houston. She had a couple of targets that she wanted to improve and she took some steps on wanting to improve on that and showed that tonight. And I think tonight summed it up, there was only one way to stop Midge Purce and that was to do what Sky Blue did and unfortunately someone else didn't do what they needed to and this game is a lot more difficult than it should have been."


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