All Scores

Christen Press Proving to Be a Key Piece for Manchester United

@ManUtdWomen

In what became a pandemic trend among US women’s national team players, Christen Press joined the American exodus this fall in electing to move to the FA Women’s Super League and join Manchester United alongside fellow national teamer Tobin Heath. Earlier, Manchester City signed Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis, another USWNT duo, shaking up the soccer world while also setting up an epic Manchester derby, which will finally kick off this Saturday.

“I’m really excited to be joining Manchester United this season,” Press said of her signing. “I’m grateful to have the opportunity to play for such an elite club and beyond ready to get back on the field. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to continue to strive to be my best and to compete for trophies this year.”

In an exclusive interview with Manchester United TV, Press indicated that her entrance into the Women’s Super League will offer a unique test of her skills. “It’s going to be a huge challenge. It always is when you’re changing culture. It’s not just the lifestyle culture, it’s the football culture, it’s the approach in training.”

Press is known for her lethality up top, boasting impressive stats in stints with the Chicago Red Stars, with whom she spent four seasons, the Utah Royals, with whom she spent two seasons, and the US women’s national team. Press has also spent time playing professionally in Sweden during her career.

While with the Red Stars, Press made 60 appearances, notching 35 goals and captaining the team in 2016 and 2017. She was then acquired by the Utah Royals in June of 2018, where she tallied 10 goals and 4 assists in 25 matches. Named to the NWSL Best XI in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019, Press certainly left her mark on the National Women’s Soccer League. Likewise stellar with the USWNT, Press is a two-time World Cup champion and has netted 58 goals and assisted 37 in 138 caps for her country.

Most recently, she was awarded the honorary Golden Ball at the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament and named to the tournament’s Best XI. Many believed this performance marked a turning point in Press’s career on the national team. Under new coach Vlatko Andonovski, she was given the chance to start after largely coming off the bench at the last World Cup under former coach Jill Ellis. And her CONCACAF performance provided all the evidence needed that she should likely keep that starting spot at next summer’s Olympics.

It was never a question of if Press would become an impact player for Manchester United, only a matter of when. Her speed, footwork, and goal-scoring abilities alone make Press an asset for any team fortunate enough to add her to their offense — a fact that is certainly not lost upon Manchester United manager Casey Stoney, who had high praise for the 31 year old.

“Christen is a world-class player and we are thrilled to have her on board at the club. She has a proven record and her stats speak for themselves; she’s a ruthless striker who scores so many different types of goals, and I know she can add some real quality to our squad,” said Stoney, “Christen is also hugely experienced and for me it’s fantastic to add another senior figure like her in the dressing room.”

Thus far, Press has made four appearances for Manchester United during the 2020/2021 season, opening her scoring account in her third match with the club to lift United to a 4-2 win over West Ham United. By chance, fellow USWNT star Tobin Heath scored her first United goal in the very same match. Most recently, Press was commended for her role in Manchester United’s win over “big three” squad Arsenal to take first place in WSL standings, in which she connected with Tobin Heath on two scoring opportunities and made her presence known to the Arsenal defense, leading the charge in the attacking third.

Since the addition of Press and Heath, it has been smooth sailing for Manchester United, who have scored 15 goals in six matches to hold onto a 5-1-0 record, remaining undefeated on the regular season with 16 points. But this is no time for United to catch their breath —still hot on their heels are Arsenal and Chelsea, who currently sit at second and third place in the league with 15 points and 13 points.

On the horizon is this weekend’s much-anticipated Manchester derby, in which Christen Press, Tobin Heath, and a talented Manchester United squad will take on the reigning FA Women’s Cup champion Manchester City, featuring national teammates Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle. It will be well worth getting up early to witness the showdown between these two Manchester units this Saturday, November 14th at 7:30 a.m. EST — set your alarm accordingly! And catch a livestream of the game at AtaFootball.com.

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE FA WSL:

 

November 14th 

Manchester United vs. Manchester City @ 7:30 a.m. EST

Aston Villa vs. Birmingham City @ 9:30 a.m. EST

Everton vs. Reading FC @ 11:30 a.m. EST

Bristol City vs. Tottenham @ 1:30 p.m. EST

November 15th

West Ham vs. Brighton & Hove Albion @ 7:30 a.m. EST

Arsenal vs. Chelsea @ 9:30 a.m. EST

Sofia Huerta signs contract extension with Seattle through 2027

(Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Oregon soccer players detail instances of verbal abuse from former USWNT assistant

(Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via Imagn Content Services)

Members of the Oregon women’s soccer team are saying they received harsh treatment and even verbal abuse from head coach and former USWNT assistant Graeme Abel. 

During the 2023 season, the team had zero wins, and upon its conclusion a total of 12 of the team’s 29 players departed the team. Former players told The Oregonian that Abel would verbally attack them, threaten to kick them off the team and at times would even throw objects.

"When I’d make a mistake at practice, it felt like he made it a job to embarrass you to the point where you just wanted to walk off the field,” one player said. “He’d stop the practice – and I know it’s college soccer, it’s very competitive — but he’d stop practice and just keep going nonstop on this one thing."

In total, the Oregonian spoke with 14 former players – including 12 who agreed to be interviewed in depth. All said that they experienced verbal abuse. Six of the players were among those who transferred following the season. 

One instance of Abel’s tirades included him throwing a water bottle that narrowly missed players’ heads. 

“He kicked all of our staff out of the locker room, kicked a trash can, threw a white board, sat on the trash can and started screaming,” one player recounted. “He wanted us to tell him what we thought went wrong in the game. Me and another player spoke up, and he said, ‘You’re just (expletive) wrong.’ And that if we didn’t want to be in this program, we could all quit, and he’d sign our release paperwork tomorrow.”

While Abel was not made available for an interview, he did say in a statement that “at no point have I used threatening statements or financial repercussions as a part of coaching.”

Instances of emotional distress stemming from Abel’s alleged harsh treatment date back to 2021 – his first full year leading the team following an abbreviated 2020 campaign.

Other former players contacted by The Oregonian detailed positive overall experiences, and described his style as “normal coaching.”

Others, like USWNT players Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey Horan, did not respond to requests for comment, although Sauerbrunn wrote in 2019 that she had a “great relationship” with Abel. 

Still, multiple players interviewed had similar stories, with one saying that girls would be “crying in the locker room” after practice because of what he would tell players. Attempts to speak with the administration about his behavior, players say, was “discouraging.”

“His office is like the scariest place,” one player said. “You’d have to sit there while he’d belittle you and say all these nasty things, and gaslight you into believing you’re not good enough. ... Our team fell apart because of the environment he created. We were just trying to get through the day. There was no way we could focus on soccer.”

Multiple players said they experienced suicidal ideation while playing at Oregon. In part of his statement, Abel wrote that “at no time do we put our student-athletes in any danger.”

Abel is currently in his fifth and final year of his contract at Oregon.

Gotham FC unveil Championship rings ahead of banner reveal

Gotham FC players celebrate Lynn Williams' goal in the first half of the 2023 NWSL Championship. (Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

Gotham FC has unveiled their 2023 NWSL championship rings — and safe to say, they deliver.

The reveal has led to a little bit of trash talk ahead of the team’s matchup with Kansas City this weekend, as both teams have NFL owners. While the Current are co-owned by Patrick and Brittany Mahomes, former Giants quarterback Eli Manning is a co-owner of Gotham. 

On Wednesday, Manning took to Sportscenter to give Mahomes a bit of a hard time.

“He may have one more Super Bowl ring than me, but he does not have a NWSL championship ring like I do,” Manning joked.

“Come Sunday night at Red Bull Arena, April 14th, we’re dropping the banner on Kansas City. We got the ring ceremony, the players get their rings and their championship afterwards. This is it, I’ve got something to talk a little trash to him about because I can’t do it about football anymore, I gotta find something else.”

The appearance came after Manning posted to social media, inviting Mahomes to “come see [the championship ring] up close this Sunday.”

Mahomes responded in kind, writing that “we’ll see y’all Sunday!”

Gotham takes on current league-leaders Kansas City on Sunday at 6pm ET. The game is available on NWSL+.

Oregon State hit by transfer portal again as Raegan Beers departs

ALBANY, NEW YORK - MARCH 31: Raegan Beers #15 of the Oregon State Beavers shoots a free throw during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 31, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Oregon State leading scorer and rebounder Raegan Beers announced on Thursday that she is entering the transfer portal. 

"Thank you for all of your endless love and support these past two years," she posted on social media. "I will never forget my time at OSU and I am thankful for the opportunity I had to meet and play with incredible people. My journey as a Beav was a special one and I am grateful for my teammates, coaches, fans, and friends who have changed my life throughout my time here."

A sophomore forward, Beers is a two-time All-Pac-12 selection who averaged 17.5 points per game last season while shooting 66.4 percent from the field. She also added 10.3 rebounds en route to earning third-team All-American honors from the AP. 

She’s the fourth Oregon State starter – and seventh player overall – to hit the portal this offseason. She joins Talia von Oelhoggen and Timea Gardiner in the transfer portal, as well as starting freshman Donovyn Hunter. 

Beers and Gardiner were both top-10 recruits in ESPN rankings coming out of high school. 

With the dissolution of the Pac-12, the program will join the WCC next season and no longer be a part of the Power 5.

Conference realignment is hitting the team hard, with coach Scott Rueck saying during the tournament that he knew it could seriously affect his team moving forward. 

"That's reality," Rueck said. "I can't control that, other than just keep doing what I'm doing. I think the opportunity within that for a leader provides a discipline that you'd better be on your A-game all the time. You'd better take care of people, and you'd better provide a great experience. That's the approach going forward and what happens, happens. We'll find a way."

Start your morning off right with Just Women’s Sports’ free, 5x-a-week newsletter.