I spoke with experienced NWSL players (Cami Levin, Tori Huster), young players who’ve gone overseas instead (Toni Payne, Natasha Anasi — both from Duke) and a couple of others to get some insight into global WoSo warfare.
I spent several weeks reporting this piece tracing the club’s trajectory from “30 seconds from the title” to “who’s starting for this club?” and “what happened to the youth clubs?”
I did not pick the word “downfall” in the headline, which immediately made me think of Meme Hitler screaming about the Krieger trade.
Sure, they lost 3-0. But they learned a lot, and the crowds keep coming out to see them even when they’re not seeing a bunch of celebrities crushing some hapless, unfunded national team just happy to be staying in a nice hotel.
Go ahead and rip me on Twitter. I won’t be responding. At least until Easter, when all bets are off.
My analysis, quotes and words of comfort from what’s probably my last appearance in the RFK pressbox …
Reminder: I’m off Twitter for a while aside from automated stuff like this. And the next one. And the next one. So if you want to chat with me about this story, why not chat here?
And this one has a bit of a back story, anyway. I’ve been working on this for months. One reason it took so much time is the staggering number of documents I read — financial reports, transcripts from annual general meetings (“Alabama … here … Alaska … here … OK, now the adult associations … Alabama … Alabama … Alaska … here …”) and so on.
Another reason might surprise you: A lot of people weren’t interested in talking. But I didn’t sense that they felt intimidated. They simply didn’t know anything.
I’m grateful that they admitted it. They’re not the Twitter pundits who think they have all the answers on reforming U.S. Soccer but have never even peeked at any of the information the federation puts online. A couple of people had nothing to add to this story but were looking forward to seeing it published.
So there’s a “put up or shut up” element to this story. Sure. If you really want to see some new people in charge, speak up now and over the next four years, because a lot of people may soon be term-limited off the board.
But I also hope it gives people a bit of a peek behind the curtain. Sure, anyone can read the same documents I did and maybe even talk to some of the same people I did, but it takes some time. If you understand U.S. Soccer a little better after reading this, I’ve done my job.
And if you have anything to add now, please do.
It’s an exciting time for soccer. The sport’s profile in this country has completely changed in the past 15 years. So what’s next?
I broke down the USA’s medal chances and found this: If the medal count is going over 30, count on athletes who are over 30.
Yeah, I should’ve used a NewsRadio clip in this update on the U.S. women’s soccer labor situation, which is in an advanced state of limbo while the women replace their union leadership. Enjoy:
In which I take the 1977 New York Cosmos roster, come up with modern analogues for each player and calculate the transfer fees required to assemble that team today.
Bottom line: No one can afford it.
Full spreadsheet: Google Sheets