Retirements, protests and unruly autograph seekers overtake NWSL

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long ways equal payLately in the NWSL, it seems the focus has been on anything except the actual games. The controversy around the US Women’s National Team’s wages remains an issue, with small protests popping up at several games around the nation. However, the wage dispute isn’t the only thing happening. Here is the NWSL run-down:

Rapinoe Kneels

It’s not always meant as an affront. If done right, protests can be valid attempts to simply make people aware of issues and open up conversations on how to improve as a nation. Last night the Chicago Red Stars took on the Seattle Reign as both teams fought for playoff position.

It was during the anthem that Megan Rapinoe made her statement by quietly kneeling as it played. Media and fans alike missed the protest and the game continued without reaction. Post-game, there was only one question in reference to her actions. She made it clear that it was in solidarity with San Fransico 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has knelt through the anthem in several of his last games.

Kaepernick has been protesting the treatment of African Americans in the US and has publicly stated on several occasions that he does this in order to open up a conversation to make America better. In her statement Rapinoe echoed his sentiment:

“We need to have a more thoughtful, two sided conversation about race relations in this country. Being a gay American I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties.”

In her statement, Rapinoe also showed frustration toward the media’s treatment of Kaepernick and expressed her intention of continuing in solidarity.

“It’s just something small that I can do and I plan to keep on doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation.”

 

Awkward Pitch Invasion

Pitch invasions aren’t common, but it’s been known to happen. During a rough game for the Pride, who were down 3-0 and struggling to break through Houston’s defense, Morgan’s goal in the 80th minute was something to celebrate.

Too bad a Dynamo fan decided to put a damper on the moment by jumping onto the field and running to Alex Morgan for an autograph. Hampered by Morgan’s teammates (this is where you go to the 80th minute on the video and watch Samantha Witteman react when the man reaches the team’s celebration) the awkward man never got his autograph.

Although Pride coach Tom Sermanni also jumped from the bench, we learned you don’t mess with Witteman. Her and fellow teammates had it covered. Morgan completely ignored the invader and within five minutes the Pride had pulled another goal back.

 

Lauren Holiday To Undergo Brain Surgery

Last June, after piercing headaches, Lauren Holiday found out she has a benign tumor close to her orbital socket that needed to be removed.

The retired FCKC and USWNT player happens to also be pregnant, her first child due in October. The surgery is scheduled to take place after the birth.

Husband and NOLA basketball player Jrue Holiday is scheduled to take time off from basketball to take care of Holiday during her recovery. The soccer community wishes her well, with a speedy recovery.

Carli Lloyd Refuses Reporters

Some called it petulance, others unprofessional. In any case Carli Lloyd refused to answer post-game questions from media until Houston Chronicle reporter Corey Roepken left the pack.

Roepken had strong opinions on Lloyd and her extended absence from the Dash, after an early exit from the Olympic games; opinions that he published and that Lloyd did not appreciate.

The media has since blasted Lloyd reminding her that as a professional she must field questions. We know how well that worked with Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch.

Heather O’Reilly Retires From The National Team

After looking back at the last 15 years, O’Reilly decided it was time to leave the international stage.

“It’s been a tough decision, but felt like the right time. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. My career with the National Team is something I am very proud of.”

With three gold medals and a World Cup title O’Reilly talked about her time with the team.

“I’ve been able to experience a lot with my teammates and that is the reason this is so hard. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I literally grew up with this team. I came onto the team when I was a teenager and remember going to my first camp when I didn’t even have a credit card. My parents drove me to the airport. Now, 15 years later to see all that I’ve done on the field and off is really amazing.”

Her coach at FC Kansas City made note of O’Reilly’s impact on the game, off the field.

“She has fought tirelessly for the rights of the players to get where they are and she will keep fighting. Another thing is, she has been a great role model for any athlete – not just soccer. She is a true pro and an example of what a modern soccer player should look like. That is something that not many players can achieve. That’s why I think she is very important for this game and why it is very important that players like her stay involved in the game even after their playing careers.”

Heather hopes to be remembered as a good teammate, who worked hard for her team, which shouldn’t be hard according to fellow FCKC teammate and current USWNT member Becky Sauerbrun:

“Every single day she brought it and pushed us and made us better and never took a day off. To have someone like that on your team is rare and irreplaceable. I don’t know how we’re going to fill that. It’s astonishing to me what she was able to do for us and how she continued pushing us as an alternate at the Olympics. She was training so hard and doing so much. It’s contagious.”

Current FCKC keeper Nicole Barnhart is grateful that O’Reilly will remain with Kansas:

“She is a player that will give her all. She will run and cover every inch of the field by putting in her best effort for the team and doing what she does to help the team win. I think that sometimes goes unnoticed.”

While she’s leaving international play O’Reilly remains in the game.

“I love this game a lot. I said to (a reporter) the other day, there aren’t many places I’d rather be than on a soccer field. I find a lot of joy and still feel pretty fit and healthy. I’m going to focus on these last couple games of the season here with Kansas City and enjoy the international retirement. I’ll take some times before making any decisions from there.”

O'Reilly is leaving international soccer on good terms>br>Photo: Debby von Winckelmann

O’Reilly is leaving international soccer on good terms.

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