The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, May 11, 2020

You can win a League of Women T-Shirt! Here's how. The USWNT take a step toward appealing the judge's decision on the summary judgement. Lots-o-links and an appeal for help!

(Hi! Howard Megdal here. The IX helps build the necessary infrastructure for women’s sports media. In this moment, freelance budgets are being cut, reporters are losing their jobs. Women’s sports always bears the brunt of that first.

We hope you enjoy today’s free weekly taste. But imagine: just click on the offer below, and for a few bucks a month, get up to speed in five different women’s sports every single weekday, support women’s sports media and help us build this necessary network across the women’s sports landscape. And thank you for making sure that whatever happens next, women’s sports coverage always has a home.)


An appealing step

First off, Happy (late) Mother’s Day to all of you moms! As many of you know, I’m lucky to have two awesome kids who really make every damn day special for me. They gave me a wonderful gift by holding down the fort while I got away to a cabin on Whidbey Island in Washington State for the past few days. It was just what I needed.

Second, I ordered a League of Women T-shirt for a IX reader. Here’s the deal from our fearless leader, Howard Megdal: Today is a “free’’ edition for our humble newsletter, so anyone who grabs a paid subscription this week will get their name put in a hat, and Howard will draw the lucky winner. FYI, it’s a large and it’s gray, and the T-shirts are on back order because they are super popular. So expect the shirt at the end of this month.

Best of all: Half of all the proceeds of the shirt we bought you go to the NWSLPA, so it’s a great cause!

As expected on Friday, the USWNT players took a step toward appealing the judge’s decision on the summary judgement for U.S. Soccer. Here’s the AP story from my colleague Ron Blum.

ICYMI, the USWNT basically asked Judge Klausner two things: To allow the team to take his decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and to hold off the scheduled June 16 trial on the part of the case that he allowed to go forward.

If Klausner grants the players’ request, and they appeal, that will slow the case to a crawl. A Ninth Circuit decision may be months away.

That means the court case could still be in play in the thick of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. The team’s current CBA runs through Dec. 31 2021. And the Olympics will be sandwiched in there, too.

As a result, 2021 could be a very busy year for both the team and U.S. Soccer. (And me!) But I’m guessing there’s a settlement before we get there.

Since I was without internet for the past several days, I thought a lot about the bubbles that we find ourselves in. Many of us think the USWNT has a good case because we want the USWNT to have a good case. We believe in the cause. And, at the same time, there’s the inherent confirmation bias that exists on social media, telling us that we’re right.

Charles Olney explored this issue in his thought-provoking piece for Backline Soccer.

Many lawyers I’ve spoken to have warned against the idea that just because the court of public opinion in Lyon chanted for Equal Pay, the court of law would follow.

When I spoke last week to UCLA professor Steven Bank, he said something that has stuck with me: “Let me put it this way: If you were going to do an equal pay test case in America, this would be probably one of the worst cases to pick.”

It’s a good lesson for all of us as this case moves forward, and a good lesson for me as a journalist who covers it. This was never going to be a slam dunk.

Before I move on to the links, I’d like to point out a new fundraising campaign for the global women’s game called The One Goal.

It’s put together by Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, who currently plays for Wolfsburg, and Daniela Porcelli, (@joerdeli1) who some of you may know for her amazing photography.

Here’s the idea: They will hold auctions for authentic items from players and teams, then the money raised will go back into projects focused on women, the women’s game and encouraging participation in soccer.

The first item today was a Lucy Bronze jersey. Check it out.

One of the main goals of this newsletter was always to promote women’s sports, women’s content and women’s causes. This is a good cause.

On to the links!

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LINKS!

(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! apeterson@ap.org.)

OK guys, one note. I realize that many of these links are behind a paywall. And I know that right now many of us are hurting financially, or face an uncertain future. I try to be aware of all of that when I’m compiling the links and give The IX readers a balance. This is getting harder because, increasingly, many sites are limiting access to generate revenue. I’ll keep trying to find a balance. In the meantime, think about supporting a site or two that provides women’s content, if you are able.

You guys! The Athletic has put all the Equal Pay stuff under one link! So handy. Worth the subscription if you can.

Today Meg Linehan looked at the Friday’s ruling and what it means going forward.

The LA Galaxy is shutting down their girls academy, from Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times.

Yahoo’s Doug McIntyre looks at how the USWNT can take the fight to FIFA.

Attorney Neil Blackmon wrote about the case for Fansided.

Rachel Bachman of the Wall Street Journal on the latest development. Rachel also took a look at why the team’s pay doesn’t rise as it generates more revenue.

Caitlin Murray breaks a bit of news with this story for Yahoo about how the NWSL is considering a homegrown player rule, and the possibility of team development academies.

The Equalizer went around the NWSL to explore when and how the league may start the season.

The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf has a wonderful new podcast called Kickin’ Back. The latest is conversation with Crystal Dunn that you can find here. It’s delightful.

One of my favorite writers, Jessica Luther, writes for NBC: “The year of women’s sports thriving has turned into the year of women’s sports survival.

Michael McCann looks at the case going forward for Sports Illustrated.

Goal.com says the existential crisis facing women’s football isn’t now, it’s when play resumes. Goal also took a look at smashing the glass ceiling.

Lyon will be awarded its 14th straight title.

Wonderful feature on the ageless Formiga from Suzanne Wrack for the Guardian.

The reports coming out of Haiti are increasingly bad.

This is really interesting: How the lockdown is impacting athletes’ periods.


READER SHOUTOUT!

One of our awesome The IX readers wanted to give a shoutout to Heather O’Reilly for her work with Cameo. Very cool.

“I ordered a Cameo from her for my mom for Mother's Day this weekend. Not only did she get it back super quickly, but she’s sending something extra in the mail for the order because she has recently cleaned out her closet. She’s also donating the proceeds right now to Doctors Without Borders. As a former player, coach, and spokesperson for the game, she embodies everything good about women’s soccer and just wanted to give her a little bit of love!”


Tweet of the week

The Tweet of the Week feature for me is mostly pictures of babies lately. I’m fine with that. And congrats to Alex.


PLEA FOR HELP!

As part of an ongoing project, I’m starting to keep a list of all women’s sports/teams that have been dropped because of the coronavirus outbreak. I’m interested in whether the dire predictions are panning out. If you see any reports of women’s sports damaged by the pandemic, please email me at apeterson@ap.org. Or my DMs are open on Twitter @anniempeterson.


Five at The IX: Erin McLeod

Confession time: The interview I had lined up for this week’s IX fell through. It happens. But the Orlando Pride was kind enough to send me some comments from new goalkeeper Erin McLeod, who signed with the Orlando Pride on Valentine’s Day.

McLeod worked out on Monday under the league’s new guidelines for individual workouts.

McLeod on getting back to the field: I mean, it was awesome. I couldn't sleep last night, I was so excited. I think it's been really wonderful being here. The training facilities are incredible. But I think just this club and how professional it's been. You know, it's been a trying time, I think, for everybody. But I've been really impressed with the way that the organization -- we have weekly updates and meetings and it's really nice to be in the know in a situation that's constantly changing. So I'm proud to be here. And it was really nice to put the boots on today.

McLeod on player safety: I've been really impressed with the safety, actually. It is very strict. There's a lot of protocols. But at the end of the day, I know that health is the number one priority. And that's very clear, every time you show up, especially today. But even in our meetings and all the things that we're doing, we're trying to make sure that we don't spread anything, that we don't contract the disease, obviously. So it's just about being smart. And I think at the end of the day, you know, there's some pretty incredible humans on this team, very successful female athletes. They are role models, and we want to make sure that we're just setting the right tone and the right message to all those young people that look up to the players on this game.

McLeod on her return to the NWSL: I've been wanting to come back to the U.S. For a long time. I'm an older player, you know, I'm 37 years old. So to sign a contract this year really meant a lot to me. I'm really close with my family and having been so far from them for so long. I think, too, I've just been really lucky to to be in a club that is so professional. I've never been at such a professional club. And to finish out my career, I'm hoping for a year, maybe two more years. That would be a dream.

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Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women's Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon  Freelance Tennis Writer
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By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal High Post Hoops
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By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren PGA.com
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By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster