I’ll be contributing to a new women’s sports newsletter, The IX. Learn a bit more about our vision from Annie Peterson below. For the full entry, click here. To guarantee you’ll get my women’s hockey entry, subscribe here.
Finally, our SAWEET Twitter profile picture is an original sketch by Mirabelle Megdal.
Hello! Welcome to the inaugural edition of The IX!
My name is Annie Peterson and I’ll be providing some insight — or not — on women’s soccer each Monday. Howard Megdal is going to be your source on women’s basketball on Wednesdays, while Erica Ayala will be taking a look at women’s hockey every Friday. We’ll share our opinions, point you in the direction of some good content and we’ll also share quick “Five Questions” interviews with a few newsmakers.
I get to go first! I’ve been a reporter for The Associated Press for 30 years. I’ve covered everything from wiffle ball (really) to NFL football. I’m the AP’s sports writer in Oregon, so I cover the Trail Blazers, a couple of Pac-12 programs and of course the Timbers and the Thorns.
Since 2014 I have also been the AP’s women’s soccer writer. I covered the sport both at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
But enough about me.
This past week has been eventful for women’s soccer, with the conclusion of the SheBelieves Cup and the start of World Cup preparation in earnest. Honestly, I appreciate the post-tournament analysis but I think it’s too early to see how the U.S. is going to look until we get all the parts — namely Becky Sauerbrunn and Tobin Heath. And I’m not sure Jill Ellis would tip her hand about what she’s thinking anyway.
Other brief thoughts: The pressure is on Steffi Jones after disappointing showing for Germany. England is loaded with talent and I’m not sure their play had anything to do with Phil Neville. And coach Corinne Diacre can certainly light a fire for France, who responded to her criticism after the team’s 4-1 opening loss to England.
I was prepared to go on about the SheBelieves Cup and what it all meant, but then Christen Press happened. Corey Roepken of the Houston Chronicle broke the story Friday.
The league has yet to announce anything official, and even the Dash’s latest press release Saturday makes no mention of Press. The team is currently here in Portland for a preseason tournament — without Press. I caught up with Vera Pauw for a story (catch the link below!).
Here’s what we know: Christen Press is not playing this season for the Dash. That’s pretty much it. Not much else seems concrete and sources are giving differing accounts. There have been reports that Press never signed her contract with the Dash after the trade from Chicago and never intended to play in Houston. The Dash still retain her rights, so she can’t play elsewhere in the NWSL. But there are options for her overseas.
My take? She can do whatever she wants. I appreciate that there are some who feel she has some kind of obligation to the league and the Houston fans. And likewise I get that in other professional leagues players aren’t always happy about where they’re sent, but they go.
She could just sit out the season rather than go to a city she doesn’t want to go to and play for a team she doesn’t want to play for. Again, her choice.
But my guess is she has a plan.
This is a key juncture for Press’ career. World Cup qualifying will be upon her soon, and after that the actual World Cup. Competition for spots on the team is only going to get more intense. And we saw from SheBelieves that there are numerous options at her position.
My feeling is that she ends up Sweden, where she has played very well, scoring 21 goals with Kopparbergs/Göteborg in 2012, and 23 goals with Tyreso the next year.
She’s 29 (Thanks Jen Cooper!). If she feels she needs to go elsewhere to get better, she should. She doesn’t owe anyone anything. And we should celebrate that a player in her position has more choices than ever.