The Off Season

Photo by travis jones on Unsplash

Death, taxes, and the NWSL cramming an entire off season into a week or two. There’s a lot to unpack, and this article will be updated as necessary.

The action practically began, in NWSL terms, while the season was still going. In late December, Makenzy Doniak was traded from the Royals to the Red Stars. With the loss of forward Sam Kerr, the club needs to bolster its attacking position. Doniak is a curious choice for the Red Stars. While she was a phenomenal asset to the Flash/Courage franchise, her career has somewhat faltered after a trade to Utah and season-ending injury. In exchange though, the Red Stars had only to yield a 2021 draft pick. The Red Stars stand to gain a decent pause to the Kerr-sized bleeding, for a tiny amount of future loss.

Kealia Ohai, the star Dash forward, was also acquired by the Red Stars in exchange for defender Katie Naughton. Jane Campbell could use Naughton’s help, although losing their lead goal scorer makes the trade feel like a bit of a wash for Houston. With Sarah Gordon and Tierna Davidson on the backline, Naughton’s loss will be felt but not as deadly as I fear Ohai’s will be. To be fair, Ohai, for all her intensity on the pitch, is no Kerr.

OL Groupe, the ownership of the French Ligue 1 and Feminine teams Olympique Lyonnais purchased an 89.5% stake in Reign FC. This investment should be seen as a significant step forward for the NWSL. The lure of competing international leagues is something that should concern fans. We’ll discuss this in a future post, but, for now, I’m calling international ownership a win.

Portland Thorns, in exchange for USWNT player Emily Sonnett, the rights to star Matilda forward Caitlin Foord, and two draft picks, received the first pick of the 2020 draft. The player – likely Sophia Smith – is someone the Thorns management is betting on. After failing to reach the championship this year, and a sloppy end to the season, it’s clear the Thorns need to make a change. But putting all their eggs into one basket seems a little shaky. Trading Foord, who is eyeing, and being eyed, by Arsenal Women, is a good move at least. If the Thorns can’t utilize Foord next season, they might as well try and get someone out of her. Trading Sonnett and two draft picks on top of it? Say what you want about the Pride but their negotiation is insane. They also managed to lure Amanda Duffy, president of the league, to their front office. If the Pride finds themselves fanless and scoreless at the end of next season as well, something is broken that may not be fixable.

Sky Blue acquired a permanent coach in the form of its mid-season interim head Freya Combe. Last year, we were talking about the rockiness of Sky Blue: Most of its draft players declined to play, egregious facility concerns left world-class players without showers, and sketchy housing arrangements. Combe, who brought Sky Blue out of the shadows since taking over, signifies a shift towards greatness in the club. A new home at Red Bull Arena, a partnership with the New York Red Bulls, and improved behind-the-scenes conditions have shown us that nothing in the league is irredeemable.


Royals head coach Laura Harvey departed the club to become the new U-20 USWNT coach. The move is unsurprising from Harvey, who has championed a successful coaching career for both the Reign and the Royals. Harvey’s second half of the 2019 season was marked by failure and disappointment. The U-20 will no doubt benefit from Harvey’s humor, intelligence, and drive. And Utah will no doubt benefit from a coach able to cast their full vision onto the team in front of them.

If we’re keeping tabs on coaching, it stands to mention that of the nine NWSL teams, two are now without coaches less than a week before draft day. The Reign FC are also without a coach, having also lost to the USWNT appeal. While the Royals can’t exactly be blamed for the vacancy, having been told Harvey would return for the 2020 season, the same can’t be said for the Reign. Andonovski has been the WNT coach since October 28th. Perhaps the OL Groupe deal placed a particular strain on the coaching search, but now the deal is finalized, the Reign need to find a head coach, permanent or interim. In the meantime, Sam Laity will have a lot on his plate.

The Thorns also traded Midge Purce and a 2021 pick to Sky Blue in exchange for Rocky Rodriguez, a move that makes sense for both clubs. Rodriguez is a natural replacement for Foord and Purce is a good compliment to the crowded Lloyd/Zer

The Thorns also traded Midge Purce and a 2021 pick to Sky Blue in exchange for Rocky Rodriguez, a move that makes sense for both clubs. Rodriguez is a natural replacement for Foord and Purce is a good compliment to the crowded Lloyd/Zerboni midfield. Speaking of, the Courage released McCall Zerboni to Sky Blue in exchange for the rights to Hailie Mace, one of the draft casualties of 2019. It will be interesting to see if Mace is tempted back to the states for the winningest franchise in NWSL history, or if she’ll remain in Sweden.

Off Season Winner: Orlando Pride

Off Season Loser: The NWSL Front Office

Stay tuned for more updates. And, whatever happens, keep covering, watching, cheering, and demanding more women in sports.

Ellen, Existence, and Equality of Thought

Lies We Believe About Ourselves and Others

Day 2: Ellen, Existence, and the Equality of Thought

In October, an unlikely thing happened. A queen of daytime TV, who many across political spectrums and identities have come to love and respect, came under fire for the very thing that made her a revolution: kindness. Ellen DeGeneres, the TV talk show host, came under fire after being photographed chatting – and laughing – with former US President George W. Bush.

Many felt that his stances, specifically on LGBT+ issues, ran counter to the things that Ellen is supposed to support. She’s a gay woman who has experienced legal firing and public humiliation for her identity as a gay woman.

George Bush fought to keep homosexual conduct illegal as governor of Texas. He considered vetoing the Matthew Shepard Act, which included sexual orientation as a protected category in hate crime cases. He tried to make gay marriage permanently illegal. He also employed an openly gay man in his administration, the first Republican to do so.

But this wasn’t the first time someone got in trouble for being friends with someone else, and certainly not the first time one of those people was Ellen.


A year prior, in October of 2018, the Christian singer Lauren Daigle appeared on Ellen’s show. She laughed with Ellen and hugged her. Christians lost their collective mind. Lauren was supposedly a good Christian girl, and here she was with a self-proclaimed, unrepentant, habitual sinner.

Neither woman helped herself when she made her public statement regarding the controversy.

Ellen discussed the moment with plenty of jokes on her show that ultimately boiled down to being kind to everyone, regardless of their belief. Sure, people said and continue to. Different beliefs are fine but there’s a difference between wearing fur and invalidating someone’s entire identity.

Lauren admitted she wasn’t sure whether homosexuality was a sin and her Christian fan base lost their minds. She went from prophet to heathen in seconds. Unsurprising, given hundreds of people called for Eugene Patterson’s best-selling translation of the Bible to be recalled from stores nationwide over similar comments.

Freedom of belief and expression is permissible only to the point of sacrifice. When it becomes hard to love, it is no longer worth it. When you have to give some part of yourself up in order to love someone else, the love doesn’t matter anymore.

You aren’t entirety wrong to think this kind of reckless opinion-acceptance is problematic. Think about your least favorite global conflict. One ethnic group believes another ethnic group should die and starts a war to prove it. One foreign government believes it can infiltrate the power of another.


On the surface, it appears you’re right. Refusing to acknowledge someone’s existence is the cause of the global strife we see today. Refusing to acknowledge an ethnic group leads to genocide. Opinions and beliefs matter. I’m going to call people out when I see them condoning, even through silence, acts of oppression. Ellen hanging out with a homophobic legislator, Lauren associating with a dirty heathen, lead to the silent acceptance of problematic ideologies. These, in turn, promote war and violence, a fleeing from god and god’s commandments. Chaos.

But we’re missing the point in that simplistic characterization. It isn’t the initial, identity-rejecting opinion that makes the hatred run bloody. It’s the refusal to be wrong. It’s George Bush asking Ellen and Portia to separate themselves or not act couple-y in the presence of his Christian wife and himself. It’s Lauren declining a hug so as to not devalue her salvation.

The lie we believe about ourselves is that we’re always right, even when we know for a fact we are. You don’t have to look hard to see the rhetoric I’ve spread about The Courage’s defender Jaelene Hinkle. I know Hinkle is in the wrong. I know her stances obliterate the peace-seeking nature of Christ. I’m 100% correct in this opinion. And, my friends and I agree about this. We’ve had many discussions about the fact that we could not even play for the courage because they inadvertently support Hinkle’s narrative. I am the person this post is for.

I think that Hinkle’s rhetoric rejects the existence of lesbian, bisexual, and queer teammates and fans. I’m correct. It does. But my rejection of her denies her existence as a subscriber to a faith that is not my own. A faith I deem inexcusable; a lifestyle she deems inexcusable. Neither of us have a right to exist according to the belief systems of the other but yet both of us do. It’s complicated and it’s hard and it leaves us with only one of two choices: claim your own existence and reject the existence of your other, or claim the coexistence of two opposing identities and actively choose to live in the tension that inevitably accompanies it.

One creates genocides. One causes you to sacrifice everything that makes you you for the betterment of humanity. Your existence belongs to you, as does this choice. But the consequences do too.


World Cup 2019 and NWSL in Review

Women’s football fans, we had an electric world cup to be thankful for this year. Sad it’s over and all your favorite players will have to wait four years before being on your TV again? Not so fast. Find out what club teams all your favorite players are on at the end of this post.

My favorite matches of the tournament were Norway v. Australia and US v. England. While there were plenty of teams to discuss, I’m guessing my audience will be most interested in my thoughts on the US team.

The World’s Most Arrogant Players – The USWNT has received international bad press for being too arrogant. Just a reminder that these arrogant players have consistently played better than their male counterparts for the last eight iterations of the competition. (Keep in mind that women have only been allowed to play football on the world stage since 1991). They still make 100,000 or more less than their male counterparts. Let’s imagine the women were arrogant. If we can’t afford to pay them what they’re worth while they boost Nike sales past world records, and make American broadcasters millions, surely we can at least them be a bit cocky? And let’s analyze why the women are arrogant.

  1. They beat a country to a pulp. When the Broncos were creamed in the largest Super Bowl score differential to date in 1990, were the 49ers called bad sports? I mean, they surely didn’t have to keep scoring touchdowns to make the score 55-10. To make matters worse, the 49ers also started the game by calling themselves the best team. How arrogant is that!
  2. Alex Morgan mimed drinking tea when she scored against the English. Megan Rapinoe held up her arms after scoring in the match before that. The sheer audacity! Don’t women know the only proper way to celebrate a goal is apologizing to the goalie? Or, to just do what men do, take off their shirts and grab their privates? You know, a celebration that’s actually civilized. 
  3. They’re good. Well, at least, good for women. They’ve managed to get to the championship three years in a row. They excel at sports which makes everyone a little crazy. Women. Good at sports. In 2019. What’s next?

We except women to be silent, dainty, and apologetic. When they refuse to be, it’s easier to call them arrogant than to it is to call them talented.

Jill Ellis – Ellis remains a coach who makes terrible decisions. From subs to players who occupy positions they’ve never played before, Ellis continues to be a coach that many US fans can’t understand. It is difficult to argue with results, though, but you have to wonder whether its a result of the women’s game being better supported here than in other markets, or if Ellis truly is coaching her team the way it deserves.

Megan Rapinoe – The most discussed women’s player of the championship, but certainly not the best. While she’s been incredible to watch, and a huge asset to the team, her loss in the quarterfinals showed how strong and dynamic the USWNT team is. Unlike other country’s teams, the loss of one player didn’t matter for the performance of the team. They were just as effective without Rapinoe as they were with her.

Alyssa Naeher – The reason the US were able to advance to the finals, plain and simple. Expert defense of a PK is the reason the US Were able to advance at all.

Alex Morgan – The captain shone on the pitch with expert leadership and backed it up with goals.

What Now?

What can fill the void in your heart now that the World Cup is over? The National Women’s Soccer Team, of course! All your favorite players have four months left of club play. Why say goodbye now?

Catch up with predictions of the 2019 season.

Current rankings

How to Watch

US Viewers – Yahoo Sports – Free to watch!

International Viewers –

Match of the Week – ESPN


Team USA – Who plays where?

  1. Captain Alex Morgan – Orlando Pride
  2. Megan Rapinoe – Seattle/Tacoma Reign FC (Hate her, cheer for the Portland Thorns, the Reign’s rivals.)
  3. Christen Press – Utah Royals FC
  4. Tobin Heath – Portland Thorns FC
  5. Carli Lloyd – New Jersey Sky Blue FC
  6.  Julie Ertz – Chicago Red Stars
  7. Rose Lavelle – Washington D.C. Spirit
  8. Ali Krieger – Orlando Pride
  9. Mallory Pugh – Washington Spirit
  10. Alyssa Naeher – Chicago Red Stars
  11. Abby Dahlkemper – North Carolina Courage
  12. Ashlyn Harris – Orlando Pride
  13. Kelley O’Hara – Utah Royals FC
  14. Crystal Dunn – North Carolina Courage
  15. Lindsey Horan – Portland Thorns FC
  16. Morgan Brian – Chicago Red Stars
  17. Becky Sauerbrunn – Utah Royals FC
  18. Allie Long – Reign FC
  19. Sam Mewis – North Carolina Courage
  20. Tierna Davidson – Chicago Red Stars
  21. Adriana Franch – Portland Thorns FC
  22. Jess McDonald – North Carolina Courage
  23. Emily Sonnett – Portland Thorns FC

Australia – Who plays where?

  1. Lydia Williams – Reign FC
  2. Chloe Logarzo – Washington Spirit
  3. Steph Catley – Reign FC
  4. Elise Kellond-Knight – Reign FC
  5. Caitlin Foord – Portland Thorns FC
  6. Emily van Egmond – Orlando Pride
  7. Alanna Kennedy – Orlando Pride
  8. Hayley Raso – Portland Thorns FC
  9. Sam Kerr – Chicago Red Stars
  10. Ellie Carpenter – Portland Thorns FC
  11. Amy Harrison – Washington Spirit

Brazil – Who plays where?

  1. Andressinha – Portland Thorns FC
  2. Debinha – North Carolina Courage
  3. Marta – Orlando Pride
  4. Camila – Orlando Pride


  1. Estelle Johnson – Sky Blue FC


  1. Stephanie Labbe – North Carolina Courage
  2. Allysha Chapman – Houston Dash
  3. Shelina Zadorsky – Orlando Pride
  4. Desiree Scott – Utah Royals FC
  5. Christine Sinclair – Portland Thorns FC
  6. Sophie Schmidt – Houston Dash
  7. Nichelle Prince – Houston Dash
  8. Kailen Sheridan – Sky Blue FC
  9. Lindsay Agnew – Hoston Dash


  1. Jodie Taylor – Reign FC
  2. Rachel Daly – Houston Dash


  1. Cheyna Matthews – Washington Spirit
  2. Kayla McCoy – Houston Dash


  1. Rumi Utsugi – Reign FC

New Zealand

  1. Katie Bowen – Utah Royals FC
  2. Abby Erceg – North Carolina Courage


  1. Rachel Corsie – Utah Royals FC
  2. Claire Emslie – Orlando Pride


  1. Celia Jimenez Delgado – Reign FC


NWSL Debrief: April

grass sport game match
Photo by Pixabay on

The NWSL is offically back in action! And what an explosive two week start the season has had. Fans missing the action in the off season have had plenty to welcome them back into the thick of it. In this post, we’ll do a brief assessment of each team as we begin to head into international duty, make some predictions for May games, and look at what’s on the horizon for the league.

Continue reading “NWSL Debrief: April”

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