The IX: Soccer Monday With Annie Peterson for Feb. 18, 2019

Newsy week is likely just the start, must-read links and McCall Zerboni interview excerpts

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Hey everyone. So what a newsy past week. I have a feeling we’re gonna have lots of weeks like this heading into France.

Before I get into it, I wanted to point out this great piece from Jamie Goldberg on Emily Menges. It’s fantastic. I felt it deserved mention right from the get-go here.

On to the newsy stuff: First off, Sky Blue announced that Tammy Murphy, the wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, was going to become more involved with their team.

There was more: Details were scant and but there’s the promise of “upscale” apartments with new furnishings and a 40 percent increase in staff and administrative offices that are closer to players.

There was also vague assurance of quality playing and practice fields.

My The IX colleague Howard Megdal and Stephanie Yang of The Athletic managed to squeeze a few more details out of the team. And this feels like progress, but I’ll withhold judgement until the season.

Jill Ellis named the SheBelieves Cup roster and we found out Lindsey Horan is injured. Don’t know how she was hurt, or the extent of the quadriceps injury. Morgan Brian was left off the roster, which seems to indicate she’ll be on the outside looking in when it comes to a World Cup roster spot. It will be interesting to see if Lynn Williams and Danielle Colaprico make a case for themselves. The Kelley O’Hara situation is worth keeping an eye on, too. She didn’t play in the first two matches of the year as she continues to recover from the ankle surgery.

Oh and here’s my periodic plea: Can we please get Adrianna Franch some minutes? Thank you.

Two other big things happened Down Under: The W-League Championship was won by Sydney FC. It may be Sam Kerr’s last shot for a domestic league title for a while if she heads off to Europe next season. But there was an interesting story in the Sydney Morning Herald about how her FFA contract to keep her at home is worth nearly $400,000. That puts her in elite company among women’s soccer players.

Meanwhile, the Matildas hired former men’s assistant coach Ante Milicic to replace Alen Stajcic. Milicic has no experience coaching women’s soccer. His first foray with the team will be the Cup of Nations later this month. Should be interesting, since a number of players were supportive of Stajcic, including Kerr.

I had the Matildas among the quarterfinalists at the World Cup on my bracket but I’m wondering if I need to rethink it. BTW, Australia was at 22-1 odds to win the whole thing this summer in France.

Wait! I didn’t even get to the US Soccer stuff: Congrats to Cindy Parlow Cone on her new job as VP. We’ve got further indications of a U.S. bid for a 2027 Women’s World Cup bid. But no GM yet for the women’s national team.

Interestingly, I’ve been more about hoops this week and the epic battle between Oregon and Oregon State. Tune in tonight if you can.

On to the links.


This Week in Women’s Soccer

My weekly 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.

Howard Megdal’s piece for Forbes on the Sky Blue situation.

My story for AP on Sky Blue

Jonathan Tannenwald with the International Champions Cup’s expansion plans for this season.

This is a great story abut a unique soccer tournament in the Amazon from my AP colleague Mauricio Savarese.

The Sydney Morning Herald on Ante Milicic’s hiring as head coach of the Matildas. The Guardian’s story is here. AP’s story is here.

NJ.com with Phil Murphy admitting things weren’t good with Sky Blue last year, and why the first lady is now in charge.

Neil Davidson writes that Matheson and McLeod are back with the Canadian national team for the Algarve Cup.

Stephanie Yang wrote a delightful piece on the Canadian show 21 Thunder and a certain Canadian player.

A few more details are emerging about the abuse accusations leveled against GCU women’s soccer. Also a story here from azcentral.com.

Shireen Ahmed with an update on the Afghan women’s soccer team for Think Progress.

SoccerAmerica with a story on Cindy Parlow Cone and her appointment as US Soccer VP. (Gotta sign up to see it).


Tweet of the Week


Five at The IX: McCall Zerboni

Here are a few brief excerpts from a longer interview I did with McCall Zerboni, more to come in a larger story that will run for @AP this week!

On last season’s roller coaster:

“Once you think you’ve seen it all or been through it all something comes along, or some other challenge arises. Whenever I start a season I take a deep breath and say `Here we go,’ because as much as I think I know what to expect, I’m always challenged in a new way.

On her approach each season:

“I’m always trying to take a beginner’s mindset to things, even though I’m somewhat of a veteran and I’ve been playing for 10 years now. I always try to approach it fresh and new because I don’t want to be tainted by past experiences. Each new season has its own challenges and its own difficulties.”

On her thoughts when she injured her elbow:

“I think the most important thing that I adopted during that time was to stay strong and focused and not let myself go to that deep, dark place. Obviously there was a lot of negativity and doubts swimming in my atmosphere but it was important to me to block those out and keep my eyes on the prize. At first it was just about getting healthy enough to take care of myself again, whether it was washing my hair or tying my shoes. Then it became more about being an active human being again and going to the gym. Then it was `I want to be a top-tier athlete again, I want to be back to the level I was."‘ It wasn’t until about month two that I really started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

On the favorite moment of her career:

“I think my favorite moment was getting called back to the national team for the second time. The first time, first of all, it happened so fast, and second of all it was more of an opportunity because injuries had happened, and camp happened to be in Raleigh and I was a local girl with the club team.”

On passion:

“I think if that ever runs out, if I don’t have the passion to keep making strides and improve, then it’s probably time to start thin king about something else. (But) I still feel very hungry and passionate to improve and reaching new limits.”


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