Join the journey of my first ever trip to the NWSL Championship Final. I made my way down to San Diego to represent Stumptown Footy in the finale of the 2023 NWSL season.
So. As of this morning there are fourteen working days to the expansion draft.
We still have no real idea 1) how close we are to new ownership, and 2) how prepared those new owners are to take control of the FO.
Obviously the “easy” solution would be to retain all or most of the Peregrine staff.
The problem with that is that neither KK nor Mike Norris has done enough to warrant being given a renewed license to fiddle with the roster. It’s easy, but risky, IMO.
But the only other option would be to have a full set of replacements, a “shadow FO” ready to move in. Is that in the works? No idea…except you’d think if it was someone around the shadow-GM or -HC would have hinted to someone else who in turn spills to Kassouf or Linehan or…so my guess is…maybe not?
Anyway…tick-tock. The clock is running, and every sunrise means less time for the buyers to have a plan and their people in place.
Looks like Beleza are back! My favorite team in Japanese club WoSo, once basically the Lyon or Barca of Japan (that is, overwhelmingly better than any other side), have not had everything their way since the restructure that created the very deeply-competitive WE League. They've finished in contention for the title, but haven't won since the restructure, nor have they lifted the Empress' Cup in a while. But after an excellent pre-season, they're off to a great start, undefeated in the first four matches with three wins and a draw. The draw was against Urawa, the defending champs, who are also undefeated but with one less match played (they had to postpone one because they're in the Asian Women's Club Cup). Beleza already have a +13 goal differential after clobbering MyNavi Sendai earlier today, 5-0 (brace for young star attacker Aoba Fujino). I watched the match (they're all on DAZN), and they looked really good in terms of coherency and "on-the-same-page-ness," especially for it still being early in the season.
More than any other Japanese club, Beleza gets picked over - mostly by rich men's-team-financed Euro sides, but also by NWSL sides on occasion. That's down in large part to their incredible academy, though...so the pipeline of players keeps them competitive. I can only imagine what they'd be like if they still had Yui Hasegawa, Jun Endo, Moeka Minami, etc... But whatever...I haz a happy right now. ;)
Apparently the trade window reopens today and doesn't close until the 12th just prior to the draft....so I guess we could still see some deals prior to the draft. Bring on thee chaos!
Btw very good friend of Janine Beckie, Ellie Roebuck, has just been dropped from the England Nats. Coach Wiegman has said it's because she's not getting minutes in club (at Man City.) Apparently she's been overtaken by a young keeper, so just sits. I don't really know too much about her skills, but does anyone else have an opinion? (She's a GK, for anyone wondering.) I know a club that could use a better #1...
Janine was just hanging out with her a few days ago...
Latest Tobin and Heath share her experience of the Louisville expansion draft and other things in her and Press' latest 13th episode of their re-cap episode.
Heath cries, I cried, maybe you will.
We have a college draft update from the league. Thorns currently have 6 picks this year. All 4 natural picks and the ACFC 2nd rounder as part of the Yazmeen Ryan trade and Houston's 3rd rounder we acquired when we traded the last pick of the 2023 draft for 10K and this 2024 3rd round pick.
With Utah/Bay City swapping 1st and 2nd place each round. The rest of the natural order is as below.
4 Kansas City
7 Washington DC
9 Los Angeles
10 North Carolina
12 San Diego
4 rounds 56 picks. 13 of them have currently changed hands. 4 already known trades in each the first 3 rounds and the very last pick of the draft has gone from Gotham to Orlando.
First 2 hours on ION. The entire draft will be on ION Plus. ION Plus seems like some sort of niche streaming service that steams for free on things like Samsung TV plus or watch Vizio. Have fun finding it if you want to slog through the draft.
Vasconcelos signed with Utah, surprising maybe one person... but probably no one at all.
So, protected list with no Sevecke?
9. Hubly? Beckie? Betfort? Bixby?
LeBlanc ways to screw it up?
1. Protect Beckie over someone who can contribute
2. Sign Sinclair real quick to a long-term contract and protect her
3. Announce signings of additional mediocre Canadians, and protect them.
16 players under contract:
Janine Beckie, Hannah Betfort, Bella Bixby, Sam Coffey, Izzy D’Aquila, Shelby Hogan, Kelli Hubly, Lauren Kozal, Emily Menges, Olivia Moultrie, Meaghan Nally, Reyna Reyes, Rocky Rodríguez, Sophia Smith, Hina Sugita and Morgan Weaver.
The team is currently in ongoing contract negotiations with Gabby Provenzano, who is out of contract.
Natalie Beckman is out of contract and has not been extended a bona fide offer. Beckman will be eligible for selection on the NWSL Re-Entry Wire. Additionally, Rikke Sevecke will not return to the club in 2024.
Michele Vasconcelos’s mutual option for the 2024 season has been declined and she is now an unrestricted free agent. Crystal Dunn, Meghan Klingenberg, Tegan McGrady, Becky Sauerbrunn and Christine Sinclair are all unrestricted free agents, while Natalia Kuikka and Taylor Porter are restricted free agents.
I guess Provenzano is depth. Will be interesting to see which of the UFA testing the water return.
Dunn is done. McGrady and Vasconcelos are likely to leave. I would think Kling & Sinclair are as good of locks as possible to stay. Sauerbrunn I think stays but could go.
Will be interesting to see what happens with Porter. Will coffee make the final 18 in Paris? Will Porter's experience with the team keep her here as cover for Coffey? I think Kuikka stays but I could of course be wrong.
Anyone with any insight into whether the league will eventually require the teams to post a waiver list and if not, why not? I see Washington finally published a roster update today (11/20) listing the three they waived, but AFAIK the league wide master list was supposed to drop 11/13. So..? Anybody?
Wow maybe my eyes aren’t quite working but did Dunn not get a national team callup?
Kelli Hubly on the move? Odd vague-tweet during trade window:
Hi currently looking for a travel agent if anyone has good recommendations
Rikki Sevecke shows up on (Chris Henderson's version of) the PTFC roster. Assuming this is correct, then she probably goes on the Thorns' protected list ahead of the expansion draft, no? A 27-yr-old 5'11" International-level CB: if she's good, she's exactly what the Thorns need, positionally.
Maybe this makes the Bixby/Betfort/Hubly protection moot?
Likely to go in expansion: Bixby, Betfort, Hubly
News on potential new owners, finally:
Congratulations on the trip and the experience. Quite right that NWSL treated you as media, you and Stumptown Footy do amazing work and *are* media 🎉