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Beverly Yanez Talks Retirement

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Beverly Yanez joined Reign FC during the second season of the NWSL. She went on to play six seasons for the club, having previously played abroad for INAC Kobe Leonessa in Japan. After a decade of professional soccer, Yanez announced this week that she was retiring from the sport. She sat down with JWS to discuss her hopes for the future, why now is the time to step away, and how much the league has grown since she joined.

How have the last few days been since you announced your retirement?  

It’s been emotional, just seeing the outpouring of love. I’m very grateful for the amount of people that have reached out, whether it be on social media or to me personally. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster knowing that I’m finished doing something that I’ve done for so long, something that has brought me so much happiness and structure to my life. Soccer has been such a big part of my identity that it feels weird to ask what I’m going to do without it, because it’s all I’ve known since I was a kid. But I’m also very excited for the future.

Why is now the right time to step away? 

There was a lot of thinking that went into the decision. In part, I started to feel that, though I love the sport so so much, my body just isn’t recovering like it used to. I feel like I’m getting a little bit older. I’m also very excited at the thought of starting a family. And I knew that I wanted my career to end on a positive note. I wanted to walk away still loving the game, which I do. To step away is tough, but I’m incredibly grateful for everything that it’s brought to my life. And I’m thankful to be able to walk away on my own terms, having had such a positive experience and with so many good memories. I can honestly say in my heart of heart that I gave it everything I have.

What are you most looking forward to about retirement? 

I think it’s easy for people to overlook how much you have to sacrifice to consistently play at the highest level. Every single day of my career I woke up asking how I could be the best version of myself in order to help the team. Every single thing in my everyday life revolved around the fact that I needed to perform at my best. That meant I ate at a certain time every day, and I ate certain things the day before a game and the day of a game. It meant I couldn’t walk my dogs on game day because I could never be sure how long they’d want to go. I had to manage my body on a consistent basis and obsess over every little thing. I loved it, and that’s how I chose to live, but that kind of life can also be very, very draining after a long period of time. So I’m excited to now just get up and ask myself, like, what do I want to eat today? Do I want to walk the dogs twice today? Having that kind of daily flexibility is honestly what I’m most excited about. That and getting to spend more time with my husband, of course.

What was it like getting to play for Reign FC throughout your NWSL career? 

I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it a million more, but to be able to start and end my NWSL career with Reign FC has been a true honor. The club has just been so incredible during my entire time there. They take such good care of their players. They give them the maximum that they can, not just financially, but with whatever they can do to make sure players are comfortable and enjoying their experience. It’s a fun and competitive environment where athletes can thrive. They really care about you as a person, which was a huge reason why I stayed there for so long.

You’ve been in the league since almost the beginning. How has it changed in your time? 

I have seen the league grow immensely over the course of my career, which is one reason I’m so at peace walking away now. I’ve been able to witness and be a part of the growth, and now I step away with so much hope that it will continue to grow. The difference between how many boys and girls come up to ask us for autographs at airports now versus six years ago is just incredible, and it shows you that our efforts have made a real difference. Even in retirement, I’m still going to do what I can to give back to the younger players and use my knowledge and my experience to empower those who are fighting for more recognition and equality. What the national team did this past summer was beyond amazing, and I’m in complete support of them and all other women who are standing up for more equality across the board. I got to experience that fight firsthand and now I’m going to be able step away and continue to encourage those who are working to grow and improve the league.

Looking back, how are you different now than you were at the beginning of your career?

It’s been an incredible journey. The game has taught me things that I will carry with me the rest of my life. It’s taught me how to improve myself, how to be organized and healthy, how to be there for my teammates, how to come together and find commonalities with people I might have never talked to if I passed them on the street. It’s made me look at life differently, and I’m going to take that with me into my new everyday reality. I want to get to know people, I want to get to share my experiences with people. I want to hear about what other peoples’ lives are like. And that’s because soccer showed me how to be more outgoing, how to be more of an extrovert, how to open up and get to know people. It’s let me travel the world and meet the most amazing people who I will call friends for the rest of my life. There’s so many stories I hope to tell my kids someday about the people I met and the journey I had.

The Women’s Cup Finalizes 2024 Tournament With Chile’s Colo Colo

Patricia Padium (L) of Brazils Audax/Corinthians, vies for the ball with Claudia Soto of Chile's Colo Colo during the Women Copa Libertadores final match
The addition of the Chilean side rounds out the Cup's four-team field. (FAVIO FALCON/AFP via Getty Images)

The Women’s Cup field has been finalized, with Chilean club Colo Colo joining the four-team field. 

Colo Colo will join Racing Louisville of the NWSL along with Italy's Juventus and Brazil's Palmeiras at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville from August 9th through 13th. 

The tournament will have a $100,000 prize pool.

"We are honored to have Colo-Colo as the first Chilean Team to play in The Women’s Cup," said J.P. Reynal, CEO of The Women’s Cup, in yesterday's press release. "Women’s soccer has seen exponential growth in South America and having two of the best teams in the region participating in this year’s tournament is proof they can compete with the top teams from Europe and the United States."

"We are pleased to be considered in this important championship for women’s soccer and very proud that Colo-Colo is one of the most important exponents of this discipline in Chile," echoed Enzo Caszely, president of women’s football at Colo-Colo. "As a club, we have been pioneers in its professionalization at a national level, and this instance is proof of it."

Juventus and Colo-Colo will square off on Friday, August 9th at 5 PM ET followed by Racing Louisville and Palmeiras at 8 PM ET. Tickets can be purchased now via both The Women's Cup's and Racing Lousiville's websites.

This is Racing Louisville's third time featuring in the competition. The team won The Women's Cup's first iteration in 2021, beating German side FC Bayern in penalty kicks at Lynn Family Stadium. The Seattle Reign claimed The Women's Cup in 2022.

The Kansas City Current will also host a Women’s Cup tournament from August 14th through the 17th. The winners of each 2024 tournament will then face each other in the Global Series Finals, scheduled for February 2025.

PWHL Draft Spurs Controversy for League Champs Minnesota

pwhl draft first pick Sarah Fillier
PWHL New York kicked off the 2024 PWHL Draft by selecting Princeton's Sarah Fillier No. 1 overall. (PWHL)

The 2024 PWHL Draft took place on Tuesday, with Princeton and Canadian national team forward Sarah Fillier going first overall to PWHL New York. 

New York also added two defenders and a goaltender, as well as three forwards to make seven solid additions to next season's roster. 

But it was first-ever PWHL champions Minnesota that created the most buzz, with the draft happening just three days after they announced the abrupt departure of general manager Natalie Darwitz following a league review. 

With the 9th overall pick, PWHL Minnesota took Team USA forward Britta Curl. Fans immediately took to the internet to voice their concerns, citing Curl's social media activity. In the past, Curl had "liked" posts on X that targeted the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly transgender individuals. Her activity also showed support for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Wisconsin man who shot three unarmed people, two fatally, during a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest.

When asked about the pick — and whether or not he had consulted with any members of the LGBTQIA+ community prior to making the pick — PWHL Minnesota coach Ken Klee opted to defend Curl.

"Did I speak to anyone from the community? I talk with players, with coaches. That’s tough to answer for me," Klee said. "I spoke with a lot of different people. I mean, at the end of the day, I was told she’s a great teammate, a great person. She’s obviously a great player."

The team also had PWHL Minnesota assistant coach Mira Jalosuo, who is married to a woman, announce the pick.

"We have people in that community and obviously Mira making that selection for us, I think that speaks volumes for us," Klee added. "We were just trying to pick the best players available. I wouldn’t want anything to take away from any of those players' experience. It’s unfortunate a little bit at the beginning, but again, it’s okay. People are entitled to their opinion."

Washington Mystics Snap 12-Game Losing Streak

Brittney Sykes #20 of the Washington Mystics shoots the ball during the game against the Atlanta Dream during the 2024 WNBA Commissioner's Cup game on June 11, 2024
Washington guard Brittney Sykes returned from injury Tuesday night to post a game-high 18 points. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Washington Mystics snapped a team-record 12-game losing streak on Tuesday, taking home their first win of the season over the Atlanta Dream. 

Brittney Sykes returned from injury and made an immediate impact with game-high 18 points, four assists, and three rebounds. As a team, Washington shot over 50% from behind the arc.

"The feel is it's been coming," coach Eric Thibault said after the game. "I said the other night that we're turning into a good basketball team and we just haven't had the wins to show for it yet. We've been playing better basketball now for a while.

"We're obviously shooting well, but I think the quality of the shots we're getting is really good."

Still, the team’s slow start isn't exactly in the rearview mirror. With star forward Elena Delle Donne sitting this season out, the Mystics were always predicted to face an uphill climb in what has been described as a rebuilding year. 

But with a franchise-worst 0-12 record to kick off the 2024 season, the Mystics are likely on track for a lottery pick. However, Washington can point to positive performances from star draft pick Aaliyah Edwards and league newcomer Julie Vanloo.

Elsewhere in the WNBA, the Las Vegas Aces continued their skid with a surprising 100-86 upset courtesy of the Minnesota Lynx. The reigning WNBA champions were shorthanded this week, falling to 5-5 on the season despite MVP-level play from A'ja Wilson, who scored 28 points in Tuesday's loss.

Minnesota shot over 55% as a team, with Alanna Smith leading the team with 18 points. The game marked the Aces' first three-game losing streak since 2019.

"This is a long, long, long season," Wilson said in her postgame remarks. "I'm not going to press the panic button. I'm still going to bet on us. I know exactly what's in that locker room."

Aces stalwart Chelsea Gray has been out with injury since last year's WNBA Finals run. And while she told reporters on Tuesday that she's set to return before the Olympic break, the team can’t get her back soon enough as they continue to struggle with depth. 

"I don't want them thinking too much; then you get paralysis [by] analysis," coach Becky Hammon said. "We're just not being solid in our base. Just be solid defensively. We're not a very good team right now, that's just reality. But we know we can get better. I still have a lot of belief in this ball club."

USA Women’s Basketball Releases Olympic Roster, Explains Clark’s Omission

USA Women's Basketball's Diana Taurasi #12, Brittney Griner #15 and Sabrina Ionescu #6 at April's National Team Training Camp
All the players tapped for this year's Olympic roster have senior national team experience. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

USA Women's Basketball announced its official Olympic roster on Tuesday, with officials noting that Caitlin Clark’s lack of national team experience played a key role in her omission.

Selection committee chair Jen Rizzotti said that the committee evaluated players according to a set of on-court criteria they were given.

"When you base your decision on criteria, there were other players that were harder to cut because they checked a lot more boxes," she told reporters on Tuesday. "Then sometimes it comes down to position, style of play for [coach Cheryl Reeve] and then sometimes a vote."

Three first-time Olympians made the squad: Alyssa Thomas, Sabrina Ionescu, and Kahleah Copper. Additionally, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum will make the switch to the national 5-on-5 team after winning gold in the inaugural 3×3 competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Age, Rizzotti said, was "never brought up" in player selection discussions. It’s the first time in Olympic history that a USA Women’s Basketball 5-on-5 team will travel to the Games without a single player under 26 years old.

Rizzotti commented that all the players tapped for this year's Olympic roster have senior national team experience, something that Clark does not have.

"She's certainly going to continue to get better and better," USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley added. "Really hope that she's a big part of our future going forward."

Rizzotti said it would have been "irresponsible" to base roster decisions on anything outside of a basketball context. Marketing and popularity were not on the selection committee’s list of criteria. 

"It would be irresponsible for us to talk about her in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team," Rizzotti said. "Because it wasn't the purview of our committee to decide how many people would watch or how many people would root for the US. It was our purview to create the best team we could for Cheryl."

Clark expressed that she'll be using what some consider a snub as fuel for a run at the 2028 Olympic team. 

"I think it just gives you something to work for," Clark told media after practice Sunday. "It's a dream. Hopefully one day I can be there. I think it's just a little more motivation. You remember that. Hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there."

Watch more: "Were Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale snubbed?" on Expert Adjacent

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