The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, June 8, 2020

Kudos, words matter, corona concerns and links galore — More of my interview with Jess McDonald

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Kudos, words matter, corona concerns

First off, I’d like to plug my colleague Erica Ayala’s new project, Social Justice in Women’s Hockey on her YouTube channel. I’ll admit, I don’t follow the sport all that closely, apart from reading the IX, but I have found that what Erica is doing really transcends just hockey. Please give it a watch if you can.

Secondly, and I’m sure all of you have seen it, Meg Linehan’s roundtable with USWNT players on this moment, and racism in America. The Athletic took it out from behind the paywall because it’s that important.

Third: The IX alum Lindsay Gibbs reveals in today’s power Plays newsletter that the Spirits’ Kaiya McCullough plans to kneel during the national anthem.

Here’s something every single one of us needs to keep in mind when writing or speaking about about athletes. Language is important.

Echoing Dunn, I spoke to an NBA player about this a couple of years back. He asked: why is it that white players are often described as “savvy” or “smart” or having great “court vision,” while the African-American players are “physical” or “strong,” or some other similar trait? Dunn’s words are a reminder that those subtle biases aren’t reserved for just male athletes.

It’s not just something that writers/reporters need to be aware of. I’ve noticed a lot of this coded language, especially lately, and it’s not just the dogwhistles coming from a certain Twitter account. It’s sometimes in the subtleties of everyday conversation. I need to do better at both recognizing it and calling it out.

And then of course there are just the outright racists, as Sydney Leroux tweeted about this week. And word of caution, it’s horrific.

Again, it’s hard to focus on soccer lately. But I will share one concern about the upcoming tournament.

Coronavirus.

There were 2,269 new cases of COVID-19 in Utah From June 1 to June 7, up 1,405 over new cases reported May 25 through May 31.  Granted, that just might mean that more people are being tested, but that’s a pretty big jump. Deaths over the course of that same timeline dropped from 16 to 9.

With thousands upon thousands of people taking part in the Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, I expect the number of U.S. cases to jump. There was certainly no social distancing at the marches I attended this week in Portland, although everyone wore a mask and lots of folks offered hand sanitizer along the way.

COVID-19 has claimed 112,000 lives in this country, and that number is growing.

It would give me pause if I were a player.

Speaking of players: Megan Rapinoe is reportedly opting out, according to an interview with new Reign coach Farid Benstiti in the French paper Le Progres. No one is confirming the report, however, to stay tuned.

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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.)

Jeffrey Carlisle from ESPN first broke the story Sunday night, and Doug McIntyre from Yahoo sports also reported: U.S. Soccer is going to take another look at its anthem policy. Jonathan Tannenwald added some perspective, too.

Oh hey, I wrote this story for AP on the NWSL addressing the concerns of moms in plotting out the Utah tournament. Please click this one like 3,000 times. Thanks.

I also wrote about Japan’s new WE League.

Harjeet Johal on the Canadians readying for the Challenge Cup for The Equalizer.

My AP colleague Rob Harris on how England wants to keep the momentum of the women’s game going, despite the end of the season.

Suzanne Wrack for The Guardian on how England is facing six month without women’s football, and what should be done about it.

The Seattle Times’ Jayda Evans weighs in on the Megan Rapinoe report. The New York Times also did a writeup.

MLSMultiplex broke down each team’s outlook at the Challenge Cup.

Dan Lauletta breaks the tournament down for The Equalizer.

Caitlin Murray wonders if the rush to play soccer is worth it.

Erin McLeod is looking forward to the tournament, from the National Post.

It’s not specifically about women’s soccer, but I thought this was a good piece on athletes using their voices from Leander Schaerlaeckens.

CNN with a rather in-depth report on the German league’s role in the return of women’s soccer.

Women’s and Men’s soccer are not all that tactically different, a new study says.

Equal Time Soccer held a kicking contest for charity between Matt and Alli.

Katie Whyatt for the Telegraph today with a nice profile of Chelsea’s Bethany England.

Kathleen McNamee spoke to Ada Hegerberg for ESPN.

You guys, Meg Linehan pointed this out to me this morning. This site covers the NWSL in Spanish, and has been doing so since 2016!

Julia Poe with a nice story on Taylor Kornieck for the Orlando Sentinel.

Our Game Magazine with a good story on the anniversary of South Africa’s memorable World Cup.

Speaking of Ada Hegerberg, this is big:

Tweet of the week

Yes, it’s all about me.

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Five at The IX: (More) Jessica McDonald

So last week I shared with you Jessica McDonald’s quotes about the protests and the current climate. It was part of a larger interview I did with her about being a mom in the NWSL. I wrote about it in a story AP ran on Sunday about how the league consulted with moms in putting together the Utah tournament. Here’s some more of the conversation I had about being a mom in the NWSL.

Annie: I wanted to talk to you, too, about how the NWSL reached out to moms in terms of getting ready for the challenge.

Jessica: So they emailed us first to get on with call them, and then we were all able to ask them questions, like any kind of concerns that we had, things that we need in order to push forward with this, and obviously be comfortable with this in general — like as comfortable as we possibly can during the uncomfortable times, I guess you could say.

With that being said, the NWSL, they were very professional. Whatever questions we had they answered or if they didn't have the answer to some of the questions, they were able to get back to us immediately. So that was kind of cool. It's nice that the NWSL is actually caring for moms, but obviously this is in a more so forceful kind of way. They've been just very helpful overall with this entire process.

Annie: Did you have any concerns? What were your concerns?

Jessica. Absolutely. I'm raising my hand immediately. And, I'm like, well, first and foremost, I can't live in a hotel for a month with my 8-year-old. No thank you. Absolutely not. He bounces off walls. He needs more space than that. Like, no thank you. So I'm looking asking for a real living situation. You know, he needs his own room. I need mine.

There were just some things for me that were just kind of unacceptable. And I was like, `Well, no, I can't do that,’ or, `This is how it has to be.’ But they were very open about caregivers, either we could choose our own and bring one, or they'll hire one for us, find one for us. So that was really cool. But my concern was the living situation. I mean, I've been very careful with my son, in the first place. He's very independent. I have the oldest kid in the league, and so I call him the `Captain of the Kids.’ He's got independence, which a plus for me. So if he's with a caregiver the whole day, he can also entertain himself as well. Whereas toddlers, they get into things, touch things and who knows? But it's been great to ask questions and have them get back to us.

Annie: Have you talked to Jeremiah about this tournament?

Jessica: Oh, yeah. He was super excited. But he is also very aware of the coronavirus. So he's like "Yay! We're going somewhere for a month! But did the coronavirus stop now?’ I'm like, `No, not necessarily, but we're going to be very careful.' I had to tell him about doctors being there and things like that to make him feel more comfortable. But overall he's very excited. He loves to travel. So his reaction was a pure, happy one.

Annie: Are you are you going to take a caregiver?

Jessica: Yeah, I'm definitely bringing a relative. A relative will be with me to make it a lot more comfortable and easier for me.

Annie: Does your son have awareness of your job and how does he feel about all these opportunities to travel that other 8-year-old don't normally have?

Jessica: I'm so jealous of his life right now. He loves to travel. He loves being on airplanes. He loves going places, especially if it is with me, and even if he's with my teammates. He loves to just travel with me, and go and explore and make new friends, that's the way he kind of sees it. But him understanding and knowing the magnitude of my job, he has no idea. His whole life he's been surrounded by soccer, that's all I've done his whole life. He's never seen me do anything else. So he's witnessed my job since day one. But with that being said, he doesn't understand the magnitude of the World Cup, he doesn't understand the magnitude of NWSL championships. He just knows, `Oh, mommy won a trophy, that's cool. Oh, it's shiny, can I hold it?’ Like a typical kid. One day it's gonna register to him at some point when he's older. And I'm very happy right now that he's actually at an age where he's going to remember this. He's going to remember the World Cup. So that's kind of the cherry on top of this entire thing.


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 The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By Carly Grenfell, @Carlygren PGA.com
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster