With everything going on, which in the world of soccer doesn’t feel like much, I’ve been surprised by the amount of news. Obviously, there aren’t matches being played or results-related news, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff that gets my attention. I will let you know that there’s very little directly related to the coronavirus, which is nice. However, there is still news due to the ramifications of the shutdown.
I know that it sounds weird that it is a good thing the 2020 Summer Olympics were postponed, but it might be a positive for the Orlando Pride and women’s soccer in general. As we discussed on The Mane Land PawedCast, the Orlando Pride schedule was categorically bad. Now, assuming that the National Women’s Soccer League plays the 2020 season, things have gotten a lot better for the Pride. They may end up missing some international players next season, but not this one. On the United States Women’s National Team front, the delay gives Vlatko Andonovski extra time to get to know his players and for them to get to know him. It might also give plenty of newer faces a chance at the Olympics, and not just for the U.S.
The United States Soccer Federation is ending the Development Academies for both the boys and girls sides. This affects 200 clubs, from the U-12 to U-17/18 levels and all current Major League Soccer teams. The MLS clubs have introduced a new elite youth competition platform, but in its current format it seems to only be for the boys, with the promise of something in the future for the girls. I anticipate that someone has a plan for that, but to not have that part of the system in place at the launch speaks to U.S. Soccer’s lack of vision for the future of women’s soccer in this country. The girls teams were already migrating to the ECNL recently, so perhaps this won’t be as big a deal as it seems.
A little while back there was a conference call between President Donald Trump and the heads of every professional league regarding when those leagues might restart. The one league not on the call was the NWSL. There was a lot of speculation about why that was, which at this point doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird stated that if there is a call like that in the future, the NWSL will be represented. The fact that any of this happened is ugly. Fortunately, Baird’s cooler head prevailed and the NWSL is in a better place than ever before. Attendance was up, and once things get going again, the pent up desire to watch soccer might make a big difference going forward.
I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below. Plus, let all of us here at The Mane Land know what we can do to give you the coverage you want while you’re cooped up in the house.