Also in this roundup, Kyah Simon departs Boston and Tasha Kai undergoes ankle surgery
In an interview with Donald McRae for The Guardian, Alex Morgan has confirmed that a strike by USWNT players is still very much a possibility.
“Our CBA ended last month, so right now we’re locked with the status quo. Neither U.S. Soccer nor us have submitted anything that says they’ll lock us out or that we will strike. We’re hoping to reach agreement—but there eventually needs to be pressure from one side to meeting in the middle,” she said.
The preexisting CBA expired on December 31, and just days prior, the USWNT Player’s Association announced they had parted ways with lawyer Rich Nichols. Now it appears that several of the key players involved in the fight for equal pay are no longer part of the negotiations, as Hope Solo’s contract with U.S. Soccer was terminated last summer and Carli Lloyd has reportedly “stepped back” from the ongoing CBA talks. Morgan, who said in the interview that she’s just as committed to the CBA negotiations as before despite her recent signing with Olympique Lyonnais, is also somewhat removed from the negotiations, even if only physically. Those changes may indicate setbacks for the team and the negotiations, and Morgan said drastic action may be necessary to speed things up.
Although the USWNT does not have a major tournament to use as leverage the way they did with the Olympics in 2016, Morgan says the impending SheBelieves Cup will hopefully serve as motivation for both sides to come to an agreement.
“We have an important tournament coming up. The SheBelieves Cup brings France, England and Germany to the U.S. Before we play those matches, we want to get a deal done so we can move on.”
As previously reported, either side would have to submit notice of a work stoppage with at least 60 days’ notice. That means that regardless of CBA negotiations, the SheBelieves Cup should not be affected by any strike. However, if negotiations are not met before that tournament and the team does decide to strike, that could affect not only any USWNT matches already scheduled for later in the year, but also the upcoming NWSL season.
Kyah Simon departs Boston ahead of 2017 season
Boston Breakers announced today that Australian-international Kyah Simon would not be returning to Boston or the NWSL in 2017. The forward, currently on loan with Sydney FC in the Australian W-League, cited person reasons in her decision to leave her NWSL club.
“I love the city, the club, my teammates and most importantly the fans, but for me I need to put my personal needs first and make 2017 a year to freshen up here in Australia, to get my mind and body back to 100 percent health and fitness, and be ready for the next season,” she said in a statement released by the Breakers.
Simon first joined the Breakers back in 2012 when she played in WPSL Elite, leading the team with 12 goals. Simon then played for Boston over three NWSL seasons—she missed the 2014 season after tearing her ACL—starting in 32 of 41 appearances for the team, during which she scored six goals and recorded four assists.
Despite Simon’s departure from the NWSL, Boston retains her rights for 2017.
Tasha Kai undergoes second off-season ankle surgery
Tasha Kai of Sky Blue FC has undergone her second ankle surgery of the off-season. Pictures posted on the Hawaii native’s Instagram account indicate the right-ankle surgery was done on or around January 9.
Kai also underwent ankle surgery, this time to her left ankle, on the first day of Sky Blue FC’s 2016 off-season back in September. That surgery was to clean up her ankle from the effects of multiple “nagging” injuries sustained throughout the season. Two hashtags Kai used in Instagram posts about that surgery, #longroadtorecovery and #decemberwillbemysecondsurgery, indicate that this month’s surgery was both planned and likely for the same reason, just on the other ankle.
Although Kai did not sustain any serious injuries throughout the season, she was involved in a number of collisions and hard tackles that left her down on the field for short periods of time. After being subbed off during Sky Blue’s May 29 road match against the Chicago Red Stars, Kai posted pictures to her social media account wearing a walking boot on her right leg.
Despite the number of times Kai seemed to go down with an injury, she played in all 20 matches for Sky Blue.