Monday Roundup: Nike features Rapinoe in “Equality” ad

The Equalizer Staff February 13, 2017 40

Also in today’s roundup, Boston Breakers re-sign Natasha Dowie, Morgan Brian’s high school retires her jersey and Lisa De Vanna faces disciplinary committee hearing

Megan Rapinoe took kneeling for the National Anthem into the women's soccer world.

Megan Rapinoe took kneeling for the National Anthem into the women’s soccer world.

Nike features Megan Rapinoe in “Equality” ad

Megan Rapinoe was one of several athletes featured in a new commercial by Nike promoting equality in sports. The commercial shows athletes of various sports and different races, genders and sexual orientations—including Lebron James, Serena Williams, Victor Cruz and Gabby Douglass—redrawing the lines of their sports while a voice over extols the virtue of sports as a place where equality can, and should, thrive.

“Equality should have no boundaries. The bond between payers should exist between people. Opportunity should be indiscriminate. Worth should outshine color. The ball should bounce the same for everyone. If we can be equals here, we can be equals everywhere,” the narrator says.

The black-and-white commercial shows Rapinoe squatting in front of a group of women playing soccer in the background. Her inclusion and posture in the ad is no doubt a reference to her making national headlines after kneeling during the playing of the national anthem first with her club, Seattle Reign FC, and then with the United States women’s national team.

When asked about the action after kneeling before the Reign’s September 4 road match against the Chicago Red Stars, Rapinoe said it was a “nod to [Colin] Kaepernick,” referencing the San Francisco 49er quarterback who knelt during the national anthem in protest of the racial injustice and inequalities of African Americans in the United States.

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” she told reporters. “It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t’ need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”

Rapinoe faced backlash for kneeling before national team matches since she was representing her country, and her recent omission from the 2017 SheBelieves Cup camp roster had some fans speculating it had more to do with her recent off-field political statements than with anything on the field. However, USWNT head coach Jill Ellis has refuted those rumors, telling Julie Foudy that Rapinoe’s recovery from ACL surgery and resulting match fitness were the reasons.

Boston Breakers re-sign Natasha Dowie

The Boston Breakers announced on Monday that they have re-signed English international Natasha Dowie pending receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.

Dowie, 28, first joined the Breakers following the 2016 Olympic window and immediately began making an impact for the struggling club, scoring the game-winning goal in her debut, a 1-0 win over the Orlando Pride on July 31. She started in all seven matches in which she appeared, logging 605 minutes and leading the team in goals scored with three.

“I’m delighted to be joining back up with the Boston Breakers,” Dowie said. “I really enjoyed my short spell there at the end of last season. There has (sic) been some strong additions to the squad, and I can’t wait for training to start.”

The forward is coming off her season with Melbourne Victory of the Westfield W-League in Australia, where she set a franchise record of nine goals scored in a season. She was named to the PFA Jetts W-League Team of the Season for her accomplishments.

{MORE: U.S. Soccer to honor Rampone | Melbourne City repeats as W-League Champions}

“It was important to tie Natasha down after her impact she made last season on a struggling team” Breakers head coach Matt Beard said. “One thing I know she will do is score goals. I’m excited to see how she links up with the attacking players we have signed this offseason.”

Beard previously coached Dowie at Liverpool Ladies FC, where she played for three seasons (2012-2015). There, she scored 45 goasl in 42 games. She was named to the FA Players Player of the Year in 2013 after leading Liverpool to its first FA Women’s Super League title.Dowie also has 14 caps with England’s women’s national team after debuting at the international level in 2009.

Frederica Academy retires Morgan Brian’s jersey

Frederica Academy honored alumna Morgan Brian on Friday, February 10 by retiring her no. 2 jersey in a ceremony at the school. The St. Simons Island native is the first athlete to ever have her jersey retired at the school and was surprised by the honor, telling the Golden Isles News that she simply thought she was going to be one of four people getting inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.

“To have a jersey retired is a special moment,” Brian said at the ceremony. “I think I will remember this for the rest of my life just because St. Simons is such an important place and holds a special place in my heart. Now I think it will be even more special knowing that my jersey was retired. This is a school who made me who I am.”

While at Frederica Academy, Brian was a two-time Gatorade Georgia Soccer Player of the Year, the Gatorade National Female Athlete of the Year (2011, the first soccer player ever to receive the honor), the Gatorade National Player of the Year (2011), the Parade National Player of the Year (2010) and the NSCAA Youth Player of the Year (2010), among other awards. She had 186 goals, 95 assists and led her team to four state titles.

De Vanna faces disciplinary hearing for semifinal incident

Lisa De Vanna faces a disciplinary hearing following an incident in Canberra United's semifinal loss. (photo courtesy FFA)

Lisa De Vanna faces a disciplinary hearing following an incident in Canberra United’s semifinal loss. (photo courtesy FFA)

Matilda and Canberra United forward Lisa De Vanna has been cited by Football Federation Australia (FFA) under the Westfield W-League Disciplinary Rules and National Disciplinary Regulations for an incident that occurred during Canberra United’s semifinal match against reigning W-League champions, Melbourne City.

In around the 109th minute of the match, De Vanna ran up behind City player-coach Jess Fishlock and shouldered the midfielder, knocking Fishlock to the ground. Although the referee did not see the foul committed, the matter has since been referred to the independent Disciplinary and Ethics Committee for a hearing. The hearing will decide if any offense was committed and, if so, what sanction should be imposed.

De Vanna has earned a reputation as a troublemaker on and off the field throughout her career. In 2014, she was left at home while the Washington Spirit traveled to Seattle to take on the Reign in the NWSL semifinals.

“She’s a fiery player, everyone in the game knows that. She wants to win,” Mark Parsons, then head coach of the Washington Spirit, said of his decision to not allow De Vanna to travel with the team. “Unfortunately we made a decision that we won’t include her. Those reasons are making the best decision for the team, for this game, and the rest of the playoffs.” The Spirit lost that match, 2-1.

Similar behavior at the international level have gone so far as to cause her to be expelled from Australia WNT training camp before the 2011 World Cup. Despite previous incidents with the team, she has since been named co-captain of the Matildas and was just named to the team’s 2017 Algarve Cup camp roster.

  • Lorehead

    Not good for the NWSL that the biggest stars on the USWNT are, like Persephone, spending their winters on the other side of the world and coming home in the summer. US Soccer might have to give the stars a raise if it wants to keep them here.

    • Lindsey

      “US Soccer might have to give the stars a raise if it wants to keep them here.” Or, ya know, a contract to begin with.

      • Lorehead

        That’d be step one, yeah.

      • rkmid71

        Many US stars are playing in NWSL. Heath (US Soccer Player of the Year), Brian, Press, Mewis, Horan, Sauerbrunn, Johnston and most of the team. If you’re referring specifically to Morgan and Lloyd, Lloyd played 7 out of 20 games for Houston last year. How is Houston and the NWSL gong to be damaged if Lloyd isn’t there? Morgan will be back mid year. I believe Orlando has Krieger, Harris to hold down the fort. I wouldn’t be catering anything to the “biggest” stars, one of which is 34 years old. Wambach was a biggest star and chose not to even play in the NWSL pre WC. Did it really matter to the NWSL that year?

        • Rdalford

          with (currently) only half a dozen or so wealthy teams in Europe paying the high $$$ salaries and most of those teams also limited by league rules restricting number of non-UEFA players just not that many high $$$ roster spots open in Europe.
          so only some (not all) of the USWNT “star” players will be offered and tempted by the $$$ salaries.

          as you point out, a larger number of the USWNT players are likely to continue to play in NWSL

          • Steglitz49

            It seems that you are putting a good face on a potentially disastrous situation.

            Not all European leagues apply a limit for non-EU WoSo players and for those that the ceiling is 3. Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Lyon, PSG, Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg, Frankfurt + potentially Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen, Barcelona, Atletico and Bilbao — make 11+2

            That converts to 33 or 39 potential players and we have not included either Scotland (Savannah Jordan), the Nordic countries or the NL.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Remember Bilbao has that “locals or ethnically relations” rule- so they don’t count.

            Don’t forget Italy.

            ACF Brescia has a Russian:
            https://youtu.be/IVvnP6ypmJE

            UPC Tavagnacco has Scot:
            https://youtu.be/hKXiCS3MrYM

            Even though their team is all Italian, ACF Fiorentina is in a good position to pick up foreign talent:
            http://canada2015mykits.tumblr.com/post/157114745165/serie-a-femminile-agsm-verona-vs-acf-fiorentina

            And Res Roma is also in good position, whether they can take advantage of it is another case:
            http://canada2015mykits.tumblr.com/post/157114399405/serie-a-femminile-acf-brescia-vs-res-roma

          • MrTemecula

            But that is a waste of resource for European teams. Why overpay for American players when you can probably get the same performance from European players? They would not, and that is why, at most, only 10-15 players from America deserve the coveted non-EU slots and extra monies. Unless there is a severe lack of quality in women European soccer, then, sure, the top 40 American players would migrate and thus severely damage the NWSL.

            As for the profitability of the NWSL, it matters only to the extent that it takes away from the value of the team. A team may not be profitable, but still increase in value. This is why the Marlins of baseball, one the worst managed team in the league and the least profitable, is on the brink of being sold for $1.6 BILLION. I feel the NWSL is well on its way to becoming a successful league.

          • Steglitz49

            Clubs like Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Lyon, Man City, PSG and a few others are not short of a bob or two. They can manage the financials.

            Whether they want to waste a rare non-EU player slot on an American in stead of say someone from Cameroon, Ivory Coast or Japan, is a fair point. If you are paranoid, yes, because it helps them spay the NWSL.

          • guest

            the ussf can simply mandate all uswnt players are required to play in the nwsl every year in the new deal. the us has the deepest player pool to pick from.

          • Steglitz49

            Restraint of trade?

          • rkmid71

            Why? Players would still free to play anywhere they want.
            They would have to choose though if they were offered and wanted a USSF contract. .As Mockmook said elsewhere, it’s not unreasonable for USSF to expect players it contracts to support and play in the domestic league. I do think you’re right though that there will be more Savannah Jordan’s in the future amongst college seniors and NWSL players who are not under contract with USSF. Especially if the USWNT continues to be managed like it has been, not merit based, CBA restricts competition, NWSL and college players ignored for 16 yr olds, etc. Oth — I do think USWNT player going overseas to play, where they have to earn their playing time and role and USSF is not in such a powerful position to dictate to the clubs about position, playing time, etc. actually might help those players get better as opposed to having something handed to them. I’d hate to be a NWSL coach in that environment. If I was coach, a USWNT not performing in NWSL would be riding the pine. You can’t treat them differently.

          • #1Fan

            i think a key point needs to be made. the issue is not a players age, its how good they are. If the 16yr olds had lit up the WC and were too good for the ECNL/DA whatever, then fair enough. Its not an age thing to me.

          • rkmid71

            You would have to be Marta.or Mia Hamm. Surely we would know.

          • #1Fan

            I dont agree as such. I dont think the Full NT is for grooming potential which is why I said how good she is – as in today. There are youth teams on which we can nurture potential. I assume that a full team call up means the player is ready to contribute at that level.

          • #1Fan

            i should clarify by saying you would not necessarily know and you dont have to be at that level. Pugh isnt , nor is Sanchez.

          • rkmid71

            Marta was 21 in 2007 WC. That was year Brazil beat USA 4-0 in semi-final. Marta scored twice. She was winner of both Golden Ball and the Golden Boot. Earlier that year, after PanAm games, Marta had imprint of her feet recorded in cement at the Maracana, the first woman. Pelé with skirts. I expect someone to be at that level to play on USWNT at 16 yrs old. I think Marta was 17 when she got her first cap. But a B2B midfielder?

          • ARED

            Maybe not quite Marta, since she was (arguably?) the greatest individual talent WoSo has ever seen, but I agree it would have to be a special talent, not just another promising player.

            I’m not sure we will ever see a 21 year old being so clearly the best player like that again. Perhaps, but I think the growth or WoSo and the specialness of Marta may make it a long time before we see that again.

          • ARED

            I agree, but I think it drew extra notice and criticism because a group of players seemed to be ignored for 3-4 years in favor of the the 30+ crowd, and then when some changes did start coming some of that same group suddenly seemed to be skipped over for some 17-21 year-olds,

            It’s reasonable and almost expected for me that at a given time 1-2 players will deserve consideration at a much younger age, but the influx should most likely be more constant, and if the Ohai’s of the world had ever gotten even a token chance to play, we would see less opposition to players like Pugh or others coming in. Perception is reality for many, though I would argue the reality is just that Ellis does what she wants (or is obligated to do), and any assumption of fairness or consistency in policy is naive at this point.

            I think another odd situation will occur if/when some of the current 26-32 year-olds are included in the WC19 roster, and many will cite the past as evidence for cutting them all (and in fact already are). Certainly they should not be kept based on legacy, but I find it much more likely that any of that group will deserve a spot than Boxx/Chalupny/etc did. Agism goes both ways, and generally is silly. But silly might be synonymous with the USWNT…..

          • #1Fan

            Fair points, but I did not want it to be assumed that my issues were based on age. I dont think seh is anywhere near good enough at this point to contribute. She may be in time. I feel IF she was , we would have seen it at the WC

          • ARED

            Now I feel silly b/c I’m not sure which player you are speaking of -Ohai? (I’m reading above to see if I missed something…).

          • guest

            the ussf pay the uswnt players the highest national team guaranteed salaries in the world. these uswnt players aren’t just getting pay to play bonuses per game played. thus the ussf is certainly within their right and reason to want them to work where they want. and the players have the right to not play with the uswnt and play in europe if they so choose.

          • guest

            ideally, the ussf will drop guaranteed salaries for pay to play bonuses for the uswnt players. then the players can earn a salary from whatever club in the world they want.

          • Steglitz49

            How do you factor players like Pugh and Pinto into that equation? Or a player who moves abroad because her partner’s occupation takes them there?

            One solution is for players to be payed by their clubs and the USSF reimbursing the clubs for their time.

          • guest2

            No real reason to require them to play in the NWSL, because their star power is probably over-rated anyway. There may be exceptions, of course, like Alex Morgan, but even in her case, when she left Portland, there was no drop-off in support for the Thorns. If you look at Carly Lloyd, there was a bump in attendance following the US WC victory, but was that attributable to her star power, or the US victory? I think fans just wanted to bask in the glory of the US victory, and once that wore off, attendance resumed normal levels. The point is, the real draw for fans is the USWNT, not the individual stars, so they’re all replaceable, which means we should widen the player pool to increase competition and base call ups on merit, not what’s written in the CBA.

          • ARED

            I agree that if difference is 4,700 fans instead of 4,500 this probably does not pay a huge quantitative dividend, especially in the short run.

            But even though the USWNT is the real star, I don’t think you can make a “new Alex Morgan” overnight, and I do think there is something to be said for the perception of the league being effected even in a the short term if you do not have Morgan/Heath/Rapinoe/Solo/etc. We saw for example with MLS the effect that a single player Donovan gave for years, and then another single player magnified in Beckham. No doubt these two single players helped prop and then propel the image of the league for both fans and players. The NWSL’s problem is that it is already viewed as simply a “minor” league, and WoSo shows much less growth potential than MLS, so these are two very real concerns which make one wonder if the league is sturdy enough to bear any slips at all (in image or actual quality).

            If NWSL stagnates or slips in the next two years, it will need a WC boost just to get back to the shaky ground it now stands on, when you’d hope this cycle would be the one that pushes them from obscurity into solvency as a league that can stand on its own. I think in the past two years they have already missed a lot of opportunity to convert USA success into NWSL interest, and losing these stars isn’t going to help change that trend.

        • Steglitz49

          It depends on how you define a star.

          You would do well to remember that Heath spent the first half of the inaugural NWSL season at PSG where she learnt to take freekicks which stood portland in good stead in the Championship final. Pinoe played in Lyon.

          I would not count on Morgan being back in mid-year and certainly not neither Dunn nor HAO.

          The dollar is still high. If you want your WoSo experience in 2017 you could:
          — fly to London and go to the FA women’s Cup final at Wembley; or/&
          — fly to London and travel to Cardiff on the fast train and watch the ladies Champions League final; or/&
          — fly to Amsterdam and watch some of the Euro-17 matches.

        • ARED

          I get and agree with much of your point, but Wambach’s decision did matter I believe. It certainly lowered my opinion of the league and American WoSo (not that my opinion matters much…).

          But I always felt the 2015 WC and 2016 Olympics were huge chances for NWSL to try to gain real traction as a league instead of a propped up US Soccer subsidy, and I feel both the perception and the reality of how they played out were not very good, and in some ways even damaging to the “cause”. Poor planning and communication most of all, but Wambach sitting, yet still being gifted a starting role she was proven not to deserve (I believe), was a pretty glaring issue to begin that key period.

        • Lindsey

          Unless a CBA is signed before the opening day of the 2017 season then none of those stars that you mentioned are going to be playing in the NWSL. They’re not going to play in the league for free, obviously, when they could go elsewhere and play for a paycheck. With no CBA there is nothing that would stop them from doing so. I never said anything about the league or individual teams being damaged due to high profile players leaving. I’m specifically talking about players playing out of contract.

          • rkmid71

            I had assumed that the old CBA/MOU was still in effect until a new one was signed. Neither party has given 60 day notice of termination. Also, maybe it was Lorehead that said “not good for the NWSL”

    • Rdalford

      Due perhaps to 2017 schedule for USWNT having no critical matches (i.e. no qualification matches and no WC or OG) as well as USSF still negotiating CBA it does appears that US Soccer (or at least USWNT coach) have given ok for (some?) USWNT players to play in Europe etc – at least for 2017.

      Once the new CBA is agreed/signed (and assuming some woso reporters dig out and report CBA details) will be interesting to see how USSF addressed USWNT players in NWSL from both CBA terms re NWSL and CBA financials (allocated/federation players salaries etc).

      Some of the player salaries being reported for wealthy teams in Europe (and now apparently also perhaps in China) are not financially practical (i.e. not supported by attendance/ticket revenue and/or TV or other sponsorship $$). Even MLS backed NWSL teams with outstanding (almost 17K avg) attendance like Portland would lose money trying to compete for players with wealthy teams that to not appear to be constrained (for now) by losing money.

      NWSL may have to recognize that absent CBA rules financially encouraging (requiring?) USWNT players participation in NWSL, then some USWNT players will head overseas for bigger $$$ – at least in off years like 2017.
      My guess would be that USSF uses CBA terms/financial incentives to encourage USWNT players to play in NWSL at least for WC qualification/WC & OG years, but that USSF does not try to just out bid the wealthy (don’t care if losing money) teams

      imo, might be better for NWSL owners to keep striving to demonstrate that woso can be run as a valid (moderately profitable) business. MLS (and most other pro leagues in USA) still use various salary cap rules to maintain some league parity and to maintain some financial discipline. My expectations are that NWSL will gradually raise salary cap amounts to better compete for top players. However deep pocket international club teams that do not mind losing money would always have ability to outbid NWSL (or any team that is trying to operate as profitable business).

      • Lorehead

        Technically, the old CBA is rolling forward, and its clause requiring players to play in the NWSL for two of the past four years has expired.

        • Rdalford

          yes, my point re “interesting to see how USSF addressed USWNT players in NWSL from both CBA terms re NWSL and CBA financials ” was that new CBA may (or may not) have similar clauses & financial incentives like old CBA that required (or depending on one’s reading of CBA/MOU terms strongly financially incentivized ) players to play at least 2 years in NWSL. There has been almost no leaked info about what CBA terms USSF has proposed so difficult to do anything other than speculate re what new CBA terms re NWSL will be

          • Steglitz49

            The new CBA must make the USWNT merit based.

            The 2 year rule will hardly help in the medium term.

            This is because to practical purposes (almost) all positions in the USWNT are filled. JE is even filling up some lots with underage lasses. Instead, Savannah Jordan is the model for the future and where Savannah trod this January, others will in years to come follow even unto China.

            Canada, meanwhile, has taken a leaf out of Japan’s book and are encouraging their players to take the foreign shilling because thereby they can allocate more players to the NWSL or pay those they allocate more.

      • Steglitz49

        If the US can show the ROW how to run pro-WoSo profitably, much will be achieved for WoSo the world over.

        At the same time it seems that the rich federations and men’s clubs in Europe want to control WoSo like they own BroSo. By selectively encouraging certain north-American players to play in Europe, it seems that they are spaying the NWSL. The lure is money and silverware.

        Australian WoSo are the main benefiters from the NWSL. The short Australian WoSo season has come to an end. All those foreign, mainly US and NWSL, players will now return home and play in the NWSL. A sort of US-AUS-axis has developed — except the top US players either stay in the US or play for top dollar in Europe or now also China.

    • Steglitz49

      I suspect that it is more complex than just money.

      In the NWSL you can win the Championship. Fine. Last time 8,255 tickets were sold and the year before it was 13,000. Mustn’t grumble.

      Man City can still do the quadruple. They are the holders of the Conti cup and can retain it in the fall. Both Arsenal and Chelsea can still do the treble. Arsenal are the holders of the ladies FA Cup while Chelsea won it the season before — those two finals were watched by 30,000 and 33,000 and broadcast live on the BBC. Glasgow City are the top team in Scotland.

      Lyon and PSG can both do the treble as can Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg and Barcelona, and probably also Rosengård and Hjörring though they are much the two outsiders.

      Players love to win and in the European theatre there are lots of trophies to be won. The English FA even has a Development Cup!

    • TsovLoj

      That or make some kind of more formal, large-scale arrangement with the Australian league.

      • ARED

        That could be interesting, and mutually beneficial….although the players seem to be enjoying the chance to pursue the global market as of late….

  • guest

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    much less cluttered appearance

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