What an exciting year ahead. The new National Women’s Soccer League season is upon us. The 2023 World Cup starts in four months.
The Equalizer is the best place to keep up with all the daily news around the NWSL and the United States women’s national team. Our coverage is increasingly global and we will have loads of content around the World Cup, the fourth one that we’ll cover as a collective media outlet. We regularly produce exclusive content, from breaking news via our deep network of sources, to analysis you can’t get anywhere else. Storytelling is at our core, and I feel strongly that we do that as well as anyone in the space.
That might mean bringing you inside the mind of a player, like Bekki Morgan did recently in her interview with Racing Louisville defender Carson Pickett. Or, it could mean we dive deeper into the player-safety reforms taking place league-wide and what it means for players, as Jenna Tonelli did earlier this month. It could play out as a blend of exclusive reporting and deeper context you won’t get anywhere else, like my recent stories on the NWSL’s internal dialogue around its calendar problems. You’ll get the long version of how the Utah Royals saved the NWSL, abruptly folded, then were reborn, plus first access to insight from NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman. Blair Newman will keep providing exquisite tactical analysis on topics like OL Reign’s defensive shape, or why Naomi Girma might be the most important player for the United States at the World Cup.
If you subscribe to The Equalizer Extra, you already know this and hopefully you’ve read those stories among the many we produce regularly and exclusively for subscribers. If you don’t subscribe, we’re currently offering a first year of annual subscription at $23 — over 60% off our base price — to invite you to join. Sign up and you will get our entire season of NWSL coverage, with experts scattered throughout the U.S., plus our best-in-class U.S. women’s national team coverage. We’ll have boots on the ground at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer.
Regardless of which category you fall into, I think it’s important to be transparent about who we are and what we will do, and to get feedback from you all.
We began this journey in 2009 as a small website dedicated to women’s soccer news. For a long time, we aggregated and chased all news because literally nobody else did. The landscape has changed for the better, and basic information is easier to find. Now, we leverage our experience of cumulative decades covering the game at various outlets to bring you context and insight you can’t get elsewhere. That shift began in earnest in 2018, when we moved to a freemium subscription model.
If you can afford to subscribe, you help us keep so much of our content free for everyone, including new fans discovering the sport (and yes, you still get the best content exclusively as a subscriber). Plenty of our base-level reporting is free. Subscriptions are the reason we exist as a site of a dozen-plus regular, paid contributors, and they allow us to go out and do the work to bring you these stories. So much of that you never see: phone calls to chase sources and get interviews, research, travel. Sometimes you will see it, like this weekend, when I’ll be in San Diego and Los Angeles on back-to-back nights for NWSL opening weekend, bringing you content from on the ground (with bigger stories to come from the trip in the coming months).
With all that said, and to be explicit, we are not strictly a “news site.” We cover news and we break a whole lot of it still, but we also aim to bring you the why and how, to answer the question: What does this mean?
So, some housekeeping notes as you follow along with us this season. We will adapt and improve as we always do, so things can certainly change, but here’s the brief version of what you can expect from us.
What’s coming each week?
In short, plenty. NWSL coverage that dives into pressing topics at a league level, teams that are struggling, players that are thriving. Real, independent coverage. Our goal is to vary that in form and make sure we have a national footprint in that coverage. Inherently, some teams will demand more of the conversation than others, but you can expect regular coverage of every team. Again, that isn’t a team ‘beat’ that updates every piece of news, but it means keeping you informed on the big picture and trends for each team, and providing you with reading material you didn’t know you needed. These will consist of multiple items daily in addition to the regular rotation below. We’re quality over quantity, but we deliver plenty of both.
What that looks like on a guaranteed basis:
· I’ll be writing a weekly column that thinks critically about a pressing topic in the women’s game. I’ve covered this league since inception, founded this site 14 years ago, and have covered the past two World Cups on the ground from start to finish. I’ve written for ESPN, SI, NBC, Fox, and managed a newsroom at FourFourTwo (in addition to building this site). I’ll bring you real-time analysis with that experience as my foundation.
· Every Tuesday and Friday morning, you’ll get our 4.8-star-reviewed podcast in your ears with a small rotation of our EQZ experts, including myself.
· Blair Newman has a professional scouting background and provides some of the best, regular analysis on the women’s game out there and publishes roughly twice per week at EQZ.
· Twice per week, we’ll email you a high-level roundup of our best stories.
Our comments section has long been an issue with a select few people who sometimes created hostile environments. I will personally take ownership that we have not come up with a better solution than Disqus, and the automated moderation that didn’t really work. We’re still a small staff (I am our lone, full-time member) and we can’t see everything, but yes, we should have done more.
As of this week, we’ve turned off comments on future articles until we find a better solution. We have viable options, but they too require moderation levels that we are not yet positive we can commit to, and until we can, we don’t want to start something half-hearted.
Some people will not like that comments are gone. I’ve seen remarks through the years that The Equalizer’s comments section is what made the site great in the early years. That is a gross misunderstanding of the work we’ve put in above the fold to bring 14 years worth of news and analysis to this sport. Yes, we once had a day where there were 500 comments on an article. That does not mean those were better days, or better articles. Our content today remains incredibly valuable to anyone new to the space or following along closely.
In 2019, we organized a unique trip that has not been replicated, partnering with a travel agency to give you access to us and some familiar faces around the women’s game while watching soccer and seeing a new country. We did it in France, and we’ll do it again in New Zealand and Australia this summer. Those of you who subscribe already got access to the discounts on your trips, and we’re looking forward to seeing you there. If you’re interested in going, there’s still time to get involved.
There’s much more to come. Our record of storytelling and reporting speaks for itself in terms of quality, and our mission is to continue setting that standard in the present and future. This letter is probably longer than intended already, and it only really scratches the surface.
If you’re ready to subscribe, I personally invite you to do so at our discounted, $23 annual rate (for your first year) and join us on this journey. We’ll only be offering this rate for roughly another week, to mark the start of the NWSL season.
Please contact us at info [at] equalizersoccer [dot] com if you have questions or feedback and we’ll do our best to read and answer as much as we can.
If you go to just about any NWSL stadium this season, you’ll see one of us there along the way. The header photo for this article is my colleague, Dan Lauletta, and I talking to Berman in Philadelphia in January, ahead of the 2023 draft. You’ll see us at U.S. women’s national team games, in New Zealand and Australia for the World Cup, and online.
Wherever we go, we are there because of you, our subscribers.
Founder, The Equalizer