Tag Archives: USWNT

Personal Reasons

Abigail Gerken - USWNT/mlsfemale
Official USWNT Reporter

By Abigail Gerken @abigailgerken22

June 2017, The USWNT is preparing for games against Norway and Sweden. These matches are important, as they are set to play two prominent teams. They are also celebrating LGBTQ pride month by wearing jerseys with the pride flag inspired, rainbow numbers.

The USWNT has members of the team who are openly a part of the LGBTQ community like captain Megan Rapinoe and coach Jill Ellis. Additionally, multiple players also use their platform to speak about political issues (as was apparent this summer with Megan Rapinoe).

Jaelene Hinkle, who plays left-back for the North Carolina Courage, was invited to play in these games. However, she declined the invitation to participate. When asked by the media her reason behind declining to represent her country, Hinkle simply stated ‘personal reasons’.

Later on, Hinkle started opening up about her faith and her decision to decline the invite. “I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” Hinkle, told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s (CBN) “The 700 Club” in a June 2018 interview. “I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what [God] was asking me to do in this situation.”

This did not sit over well with many women’s soccer fans. The women’s soccer fanbase is infamously an accepting and inviting community, especially for the LGBTQ community. There are multiple open couples on NWSL teams, such as Kristie Mewis (Sam Mewis’s older sister) and Rachel Daly (England NT) for the Houston Dash, and two-time World Cup champions Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger for the Orlando Pride.

After Hinkle did not attend the World Cup with her former teammates, writer Obianuju Ekeocha tweeted a clip of Hinkle’s 2018 CBN interview, and implied that the USWNT is not a welcoming place for Christians.

Immediately, the women’s soccer community fired back, claiming that it was false and that there are multiple outspoken Christians on the team such as stars Tobin Heath and Julie Ertz. 

In a July 15th tweet, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, 33, wrote:

I asked women’s soccer fan @janecampbell for a statement about Hinkle’s comments and how it impacts the fan culture of the NWSL: 

“…Her blind intolerance of the LBGTQ community is just so outdated in a league that is relatively progressive that it’s almost kind of funny. A lot of fans I know are members of the LGBTQ community, some are Christian, and some are both, so her intolerance is just rooted in hate, not religion, as she claims. Which brings me to a concern of mine, is that she doesn’t realize the gravity of her words. She has a decent amount of fame, so her words reach people and as peacefully as she tries to act when she speaks intolerance of the LGBTQ community, her words are dangerous…” 

Many NWSL fans decided to rally together and show their support for the LGBTQ community and their distaste for Hinkle’s comments through the power of two-poles. The idea started with a fan who decided to make a two-pole containing the phrase “personal reasons” in the pride flag colors, with the background showing the color of their local club. On Twitter, this movement spread to other clubs. In this Chicago Red Stars supporter group tweet, you see that there are also two-poles based in Portland, Orlando, and Chicago. 

The intent of this movement to show their solidarity with the LGBTQ community and to make it so Hinkle has to play in a stadium with the two-poles every game, reminding her of the impact she has on the culture of the NWSL. 

Hinkle stays true to her word and rooted in her faith. The pinned tweet on her Twitter account includes the quote “ If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection”. 

Featured image: @ChicagoLocal134

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USWNT Recap – 2 games vs Chile and Press 100

Abigail Gerken - USWNT/mlsfemale
Official USWNT Reporter

By Abigail Gerken @abigailgerken22

On August 31st the US Women’s National Team defeated Chile 3-0 at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles, California. The highlight of the night was the celebration for Christen Press reaching 100 caps for the national team. Over her 6-year international career, Press has scored 45 goals in 104 caps, including a goal to seal the 3-0 lead on her celebratory night. She also has won an Olympic Gold Medal and a World Cup Championship.

In this first game against Chile on the March to World Cup Qualifying, the USWNT cruised past Chile 3-0. In addition to an own goal (off a Julie Ertz header) and Christen Press’s tap-in at the far post,  19-year-old Tierna Davidson scored her first USWNT goal from a header off of a goal kick.

There was controversy surrounding a PK that Christen Press took and scored- as it was disallowed because a Chile player and Crystal Dunn both encroached on the penalty kick – since both of them encroached fans and players argued that it should have been retaken.

On September 4th the USWNT played Chile again in San Jose, California for their final game before World Cup Qualifying begins.

Earlier in the day, the WCQ groups for CONCACAF were decided. The USWNT will play Mexico on October 4th, Panama on October 7th, and Trinidad and Tobago on October 10th all in Cary, North Carolina.

Alex Morgan captained the game, earlier it was reported that Carli Lloyd will retire following the 2019 WWC in France next summer, many supporters anticipate that Alex Morgan will be passed the torch. When Carli Lloyd came into the game, she was given the captain’s armband.

An early injury for McCall Zebroni after an unfortunate landing led to a 5th-minute sub, Morgan Brian subbed in for McCall Zebroni. Later it was reported that she has a fractured elbow. North Carolina Courage may lose their strong No. 6 for the 2018 NWSL playoffs starting in the coming weeks.

In the 33rd minute Mallory Pugh went down in the box, Alex Morgan stepped up and after missing the left-footed attempt, Tobin Heath rebounded and dished in a cross and Mallory Pugh scored her 12th international goal.

It didn’t take long for the USA to double their lead. In the 38th minute the USWNT earned a free kick in a dangerous position, Tierna Davidson gets the flick on header and Tobin Heath slots it away.

Just after halftime, in the 47th minute, Carli Lloyd scores a header off of a Tobin Heath free kick in her first touch of the game.

Shortly after, Alex Morgan would get her goal off of a Tobin Heath cross, however, it was ruled offside.

In the 90+3rd minute, Carli Lloyd sprinted up the wing, dribbled around Chilean defenders and slotted it away.

This 4-0 victory expanded the USWNT’s unbeaten streak to 21 games (18-0-3), they’re in good form heading into World Cup Qualifying.

The next US Soccer game is tomorrow. The USMNT take on Brazil with a young squad looking to secure their places within the depth chart.

Featured image: Sports Illustrated

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Hat Trick Hero: USWNT 4, Japan 2

Araceli Villanueva - LAFC/mlsfemale
Key Contributor, USWNT

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

The U.S. Women’s National Team made a winning start to their 2018 Tournament of Nations campaign on Thursday, defeating Japan 4-2 before a sellout crowd at Children’s Mercy Park.

The long-standing rivals spent the first few minutes going back-and-forth, with both sides creating a few chances to break through.

In the 18th minute, the USWNT found the opening goal, with a brilliant play between Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan. Japan, however, responded quickly two minutes later when Mina Tanaka snuck in behind the defense and chipped a ball over goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher leveling the match.

It was Morgan again who found herself in the right spot after receiving a pass from Emily Sonnett – who brought it down off a cross from Crystal Dunn – and headed home her second goal giving the USWNT the lead again with 2-1.

Shortly after the restart, second-half substitute Tobin Heath became a real magician in the 56th minute; when she got around Japan’s defense down the right side and sent a cross into the middle. The ball bounced directly to Morgan who brought the ball down with her left knee and then smashed her shot into the roof of the net with her left foot completing her fourth-career hat trick.

Ten minutes later, Megan Rapinoe initially sends the ball to Rose Lavelle, who immediately returned the pass. It ricochets off a Japan player and bounces in Rapinoe’s path. Running unchallenged, Rapinoe blasts the ball into the back of the net making the score 4-1.

The final minutes saw Japan desperately trying to add another goal – if not tie up the match; after successfully scoring their second goal in the 76th minute. Fortunately, the USWNT would preserve the 4-2 victory until the final whistle.

The 2018 Tournament of Nations now moves to the East Coast, as the teams travel to East Hartford, Connecticut for the second set of games on Sunday, July 29.

Featured image of Alex Morgan: @ussoccer_wnt

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NWSL: League-leading awards updates

Abigail Gerken - USWNT/mlsfemale
Official USWNT Reporter

By Abigail Gerken @abigailgerken22

At MLSFemale we have decided that we need to help promote our amazing female athletes in the sport we love. I am excited to start reporting about the National Women’s Soccer League and the US Women’s National Team, hopefully, to draw more attention to the growing league and national team. What better way to kick it off than an NWSL recap and awards check-in?

The first place to discuss is the standings.

NWSL standings as of July 20th, 2018:

Team Points Matches played Record
North Carolina Courage* 46 19 14-1-4
Seattle Reign 29 17 8-4-5
Orlando Pride 28 18 8-6-4
Chicago Red Stars 28 18 7-4-7
Portland Thorns FC 26 17 7-5-5
Utah Royals 22 18 5-6-7
Houston Dash 20 17 5-7-5
Washington Spirit 10 17 2-11-4
Sky Blue FC 3 15 0-12-3

*Clinched 2018 NWSL Playoff spot

The North Carolina Courage stand out on these standings because of the giant gap of 17 points that they have set between themselves and the next closest team. They lead the league in team goals with 41 (next closest is Portland with 27). This has led them to already clinch a spot in the 2018 NWSL playoffs, and are on track to win their 2nd NWSL Shield (would be tied with the Seattle Reign for most Shields).

Although the Shield race seems to be locked up, there is a tight race for the Golden Boot Award. Lindsey Horan of the Portland Thorns and Sam Kerr of the Chicago Red Stars are tied for first place with 9 goals apiece, Lynn Williams of the North Carolina Courage is right behind them with 8. Megan Rapinoe, Crystal Dunn, and Christine Sinclair are not far behind with 7 goals each.

As for Goalkeeper of the Year, one stat that could help determine who is the most valuable keeper this season is in the saves category. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit) leads the league in saves with 84. Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue) comes in second with 60 saves. In addition to saves, Alyssa Naeher has broken out as, to what is seeming to be, her role and the USWNT new number one keeper after Hope Solo’s terminated contract in 2016. This could help place her as the Goalkeeper of the Year.

At the ESPYS, Megan Rapinoe came out on top as the best NWSL player this year. The Seattle Reign veteran has 7 goals for the year and 4 assists and is leading her team towards the top of the table. Australian forward Sam Kerr won the best international women’s soccer player. She has 9 goals this year for her club Chicago Red Stars and 24 goals in 67 caps with the Australian national team.

At the 2018 Kids Choice Sports awards Alex Morgan took home Favorite Female Athlete award because of her continued success at both the club and international level.

Which NWSL players do you think will win these awards? Chat with me on twitter @abigailgerken22 and let me know.

Featured image of Lindsey Horan: American Soccer Now

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I Live Soccer

Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter
Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter

By Christina Casas @nkstar9

Originally from Southern California, I grew up watching Cobi Jones and the LA Galaxy.  I also attended the 1999 Women’s World Cup final where our USWNT brought back the CUP to the US.

Playing soccer is not simply a hobby. I live soccer, dream about soccer, and the days that I get to play soccer are the best days of the week.

After moving to Vancouver, BC, I quickly found myself rooting for the Vancouver Whitecaps and becoming swept up in the passion of the community built around this soulful team.

Come chat with me on twitter: @nkstar9