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Our team turned out well over 100 articles during the one-month Challenge Cup, from exclusive player interviews to in-depth tactical analysis and rare, on-site reporting from inside the bubble. If you are not yet a member of The Equalizer Extra community, you can start your free, 7-day trial now and get $20 OFF your first year of annual subscription using code “2020” at checkout.
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Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of our favorite articles from the tournament, those which highlight the high quality and vast range of our content:
Kristie Mewis rises again
Let’s start with our most-read player profile of the Challenge Cup,and the type of player-specific content our readers have told us they want more of: Dan Lauletta’s profile of Kristie Mewis, who, after years of being traded around the NWSL and after being dropped from the U.S. national team picture, played her best soccer yet this year. Mewis spoke about her mental and physical struggles throughout the process.
Houston Dash complete the fairy tale
Speaking of Houston, the Dash completed a fairy tale run to win the NWSL Challenge Cup. Sure, it was a short knockout tournament, but the result can’t be overstated when taking into account the historical struggles of the team on and off the field, and the fact that it had become a place players didn’t want to be. This influx of new players changed that narrative entirely. They played with a chip on their shoulders. Jeff Kassouf detailed the run and provided the necessary context:
The heroes behind the scenes
Hardly any reporters were actually at the games in Utah. Hannah Lichtenstein attended a few games for The Equalizer and produced some great content. This story, on Edgar Maldonado and his family cleaning business tasked with sanitizing the facilities used by the NWSL to protect players and staff from COVID-19, was told here exclusively.
Stories which inspired fans to act
Heard of the coffee truck and coffee angels? Jeff Kassouf first reported on the coffee truck that players had provided inside the NWSL bubble, and the small luxury that it was in an otherwise bizarre and stressful environment. After reading about the truck and players’ caffeine addictions, NWSL fans mobilized to pay for teams’ coffees for basically the entire rest of the tournament. Our most-read article from the tournament turned into a catalyst for further fan engagement, which is as cool as it gets and indicative of the incredible women’s soccer community.
First to cover the player stories you need
More player profiles, you said? We’ll keep bringing them. First, Bria Felicien brought you the story of Jennifer Cudjoe’s long journey from Ghana to the NWSL, by way of junior college and open tryouts. Cudjoe soon became an important piece of Sky Blue’s midfield on their run to the Challenge Cup semifinals.
Katelyn Best also had the exclusive first (and, to date, only) English-language story with Utah Royals loanee and French national team midfielder Aminata Diallo, bringing you the inside scoop on why Diallo came to Utah despite the pandemic. You can thank Katelyn’s fluent French for making this happen.
Covering Black Lives Matter
Before the tournament, we spoke with several of the NWSL’s Black players about what it was like to play in a predominantly white league. NWSL Players Association co-executive director Yael Averbuch also joined the Kickin’ Back podcast to discuss what the PA is doing to be more inclusive. During the tournament, Pardeep Cattry wrote about player-led efforts to bring awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement, and Claire Watkins spoke at length with Chicago Red Stars players Hannah Davison and Kayla Sharples about the team’s efforts in the local community.
The business side of things
Jeff Kassouf wrote extensively about how the NWSL had turned the pandemic into business opportunities by getting creative with signage and jersey sponsorships. Included in this story are exclusive, specific metrics at a team and league level:
Telling you the WHY
You want in-depth analysis? You got it. We brought you real-time, thoughtful analysis with the context you need from our vast experience covering the league and the sport. The Equalizer started in 2009. Our depth of knowledge and contacts runs deep. You can read all of our analysis here, and check out some particular examples below.
This series started with the story of how Seattle Reign FC was supposed to be called Seattle Sirens FC, until a perspective-shifting conversation changed that. There are more team-specific stories to come in this series, and this story behind the NWSL logo is one you won’t find anywhere else.
The Equalizer Podcast recorded analysis each and every match day of the Challenge Cup, with a variety of different voices. We also brought you several episodes of Kickin’ Back, from speaking with Shea Groom about her new role in Houston, with Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy joining to discuss their investment in the LA expansion team, with Lynn Williams and Sam Mewis having a fun conversation about puppies, Peloton and quarantine.
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