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The weight of balancing soccer with systemic change – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo Copyright Rachael Kriger for The Equalizer

Soccer is supposed to be a safe place for players. For 90 minutes in a match, or for a couple hours at training, the everyday worries of the world can be put on pause. That is the utopian view, anyway.

All of that has been challenged recently in the National Women’s Soccer League and in the wider world of women’s soccer. At one point last week, new allegations of harassment dating back years or decades seemed to be brought to light by the hour, with players worldwide more willing to come forward in light of the bravery shown by Kaiya McCullough, Sinead Farrelly, and Mana Shim, among others in recent months.

At a human level, the horrendous developments regarding administrative behavior in the NWSL over the past few months is so striking because it challenges the very idea of soccer being a safe space. Coaches, general managers, team owners — right up to the commissioner of the league — have been complicit in creating a system in which players harbor concerns for their general wellbeing and safety while fearing retaliation should they raise those concerns.

Under those conditions, soccer does not matter. The game, as beautiful as it might be, is simply a game — a low priority in juxtaposition with human dignity. So, when should the soccer matter again? Not until significant change has occurred. In the interim, there are a few weeks left in the tightest, most bizarre season yet in the perennially chaotic NWSL. Talking, writing, or even caring about the actual soccer feels weird, and it will be up to the players to lead the conversation back to the field, however and whenever they please.

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Soccer

‘This is a democracy’ – Equalizer Soccer

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Photo Copyright Hannah di Lorenzo

FIFA’s technical advisory group for the future of women’s soccer was announced on Monday, and while the 21-person group comprised of current and former players, coaches and executives, have been meeting about the holistic future of the sport, the future of the World Cup remains the most pressing global topic.

FIFA is exploring the possibility of a biennial World Cup for the men’s and women’s competitions. On Tuesday, reports emerged that the world governing body informed federations that it will move forward with plans for a Men’s World Cup every two years, following 2026. The future of the women’s game is being handled separately, with two-time World Cup-winning coach Jill Ellis leading the group. FIFA president Gianni Infantino spoke in the group’s first meeting, according to United States forward Alex Morgan, who is one of the 21 members being led by Ellis, her former coach.

Ellis said on Monday that no decision has been made yet regarding the future of the World Cup, refuting the idea that a biennial event is a foregone conclusion.

“This has been an education process for me,” Ellis said. “I think I’ve really tried to take the position of listening to everybody and finding out solutions, but to reinforce, this is a democracy. This is going to go to a vote, ultimately.”

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Amanda Vandervort brings wealth of experience to USL Super League – Equalizer Soccer

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Amanda Vandervort knew what she needed to do from the first phone call. It was summer, and Jake Papadakis, the COO of the United Soccer League, was on the other end of the phone with news. The USL was starting a second-division women’s professional league, and they were interested in having Vandervort shape its future.

Vandervort, a longtime soccer executive across various leagues and roles, had recently departed her role as chief women’s football officer at global players’ association FIFPRO, and she was thinking about the next step in her career. She previously worked in MLS for nine years, eventually advancing to vice president of fan engagement. Last week, she was announced as the president of the USL Super League, a women’s professional league which is scheduled to begin play in 2023.

“I was in the women’s game for a long time, helped launch WPS [in 2009],” Vandervort told The Equalizer. “When I left that league and went to men’s soccer, I always knew — I kept working in the women’s game concurrently — but I always knew there was the opportunity to learn as much as I could in the men’s game and ultimately, I knew I would bring that back to the women’s game in my career.”

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Soccer

Three teams are in – Equalizer Soccer

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Washington Spirit players raise their arms in celebration after scoring a goal in North Carolina


Photo Copyright Lewis Gettier for The Equalizer

Claire Watkins and John Halloran break down where each team stands heading into the final games of the regular season. The Thorns have clinched the Shield, and will be joined in the playoffs by OL Reign and the Spirit. The Red Stars, Gotham FC, Dash, and Courage are fighting for the remaining three spots.

Listen to this pod on:  Apple  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts  |  Stitcher  |  Anchor  |  PodBean  |  Pocket Casts  |  Breaker  |  Overcast  |  RadioPublic

LISTEN NOW: The Equalizer has a second podcast vertical called “Kickin’ Back.” Jeff Kassouf hosts this interview-based podcast series which will feature casual conversations with some of the game’s biggest names, looking back at some of the biggest moments in their careers. Click here to subscribe on your favorite platform.

Subscribers: Click below for the ad-free version.

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