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Elizabeth Eddy: My Goal Is to Play For the USWNT


Elizabeth Eddy is a midfielder currently playing for Vittsjö GIK in Sweden on loan from Sky Blue FC of the NWSL. She spoke with Just Women’s Sports about her experience in the Challenge Cup, arranging a loan to Sweden, and the differences between the two countries’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Before you were loaned to Vittsjö GIK in Sweden, you played with Sky Blue in the Challenge Cup. What was that experience like for you? How was living in the bubble and playing without fans? 

Our understanding as athletes is that the goal is to play the sport, and we are willing to do whatever is necessary. And with coronavirus and how governments handled things, how the world handled things, we were forced to play in a bubble. And so it was to some degree a glorified jail, but I would say they made it a very enjoyable jail.

We enjoyed it as much as you can. You’re always in a group, and it was very scheduled, to the point where it’s like, here’s your breakfast slot, here’s your training slot. You’re like, “Oh, I have no free choice ever,” which I personally do not like but I’m aware that that’s the choice. If you want to play in this world with coronavirus, you have to be okay with giving up some freedom. I’m aware of the cost, and I’m willing to pay it, but I also am not a big fan of it.

But like I said, all things considered our leaders did a fantastic job of making it as enjoyable as possible, as professional as possible. And they did a very, very good job, so it was really fun. We had a game room where it was ping pong all the time. We had snack rooms. I will say the one huge blessing out of the whole thing is that you end up getting really close to some of your teammates because you live on the same floor of a hotel for however long you’re in the bubble. So you get to become really good friends and spend a lot of time together and getting social. I think that was a really cool portion of it.

You arrived in Sweden a week ago to play on loan through the fall. During the loan process, what was the communication like from the league and how did the opportunity come about? 

Before the bubble tournament started, one of my prior teammates from when I was at home texted me and was like “Hey, Liz, would you want to play in Sweden potentially? We need somebody that can play the position that you play.” I was like, “Yeah, what’s the information?”

 So she sent me her coach’s contact information and that’s how I found one of the coaches who is Swedish. The cool thing about Sweden, which I didn’t know, is that every single person in Sweden speaks English and they start at around age seven. So I talked with the coach and he was great. He told me: “I care a lot about the character of our players. And because Sabrina, who’s already with this team, vouches for you, that carries a lot of weight because the culture of the team is really important,” which I thought was really cool, because when you’re on a team where the culture is very good, people respect each other and they love each other and they have a lot of fun together. It’s just a really healthy environment that gives your team much higher chance of success.

So it ended up working out. The loan agreement stuff from the NWSL side was, I would say, pretty difficult. And I think the big reason why was because they were in the middle of the Challenge Cup and trying to rush that. But I had reached out to our GM, and we have a good relationship. I think I messaged her for like a month, probably every single day asking her what the next step was and what I needed to do. I told her that I negotiated with the Sweden team to get the contract all set up. Like, “Here it is. What else do you need from me?” And honestly I was hoping and praying it would work out because I wanted to continue to play. And you only get better at something by being able to practice, constantly practice. I’m super thankful to be here.

How has everything been with the virus there? I am assuming it is very different from the US.

Not a lot of people are wearing masks here. It seems like everything’s fine. I know that the virus is real, but how they handle it, it’s been very healthy in the sense of not being paranoid and really out of control. And I think also just the size of the country, and how the rest of the world tries to go to America all the time, and so you see a lot of opportunities for people to bring the virus. I think in Sweden there’s just less people coming through. So I think that is how they are allowed to have the freedom to choose to handle this one. But most of the people I asked them, I was like, “How did you guys handle it?” They’re like, “Well, when the government says to do something, most people just do it.” They don’t complain. They’re just like, “Oh, we trust our government,” where I’d say that’s a difference with America, where it’s harder to trust the leadership.

Are there any protocols while playing?

Well they didn’t have any fans at games for a while and I think the week before I got here was the first time they’ve had fans, and they capped at 50. They had 50 fans in the stands, and they’re really cool supporters, just hyped about the game. The town I am in is 1,800 people, so everybody knows you when you walk around.

This was obviously a crazy year. Assuming next year is different, what are your soccer goals for 2021?

My goals moving forward are to become the best soccer player I can, and one day to play for the USWNT. That’d be my biggest goal, and that’s what I’m aiming for. That’s the big reason I come here to play in games and continue to develop as a player.

Alyssa Naeher’s goalkeeper jersey sells out in less than three hours

uwnt goalie alyssa naeher wears jersey on the field with club team chicago red stars
USWNT star keeper Alyssa Naeher's new replica NWSL jersey was an instant success. (Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

For the first time in the NWSL's 12-year history, fans can now buy their own goalkeeper jerseys. And while replica goalkeeper jerseys representing all 14 NWSL teams hit the market on Wednesday, some didn't stick around for long. 

Fans across women's soccer have long vocalized their discontent over the position's lack of availability on social media, often comparing the shortcoming to the widespread availability of men’s goalkeeper jerseys. And as the NWSL has grown, so has demand — and not just from those in the stands. 

"To have goalkeeper kits available for fans in the women’s game as they have been for so long in the men’s game is not only a long-awaited move in the right direction, it’s just good business," said Washington Spirit goalie Aubrey Kingsbury in an team press release. "I can’t wait to see fans representing me, Barnie [Barnhart], and Lyza in the stands at Audi!"

Business does, in fact, appear to be booming. Alyssa Naeher’s Chicago Red Stars kit sold out less than three hours after the league's announcement. Jerseys for other keepers like DiDi Haračić, Abby Smith, Michelle Betos, Katelyn Rowland, and Bella Bixby aren’t currently available via the Official NWSL Shop, though blank goalkeeper jerseys can be customized through some individual team sites. Jerseys start at $110 each.

"This should be the benchmark," said Spirit Chief Operations Officer Theresa McDonnell. "The expectation is that all players’ jerseys are available to fans. Keepers are inspiring leaders and mentors with their own unique fan base who want to represent them... I can’t wait to see them all over the city."

Simone Biles talks Tokyo Olympics fallout in new interview

gymnast simone biles on a balance beam
Biles' candid interview shed light on the gymnast's internal struggle. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Decorated gymnast Simone Biles took to the popular Call Her Daddy podcast this week to open up about her experience at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, revealing she thought she was going to be "banned from America" for her performance.

After Biles botched her vault routine due to a bout of the "twisties," she withdrew from the team final as well as the all-around final in order to focus on her mental health. She later reentered the competition to win bronze in the individual balance beam final.

In her interview with podcast host Alex Cooper, Biles admitted to feeling like she let the entire country down by failing her vault attempt.

"As soon as I landed I was like 'Oh, America hates me. The world is going to hate me. I can only see what they’re saying on Twitter right now,'" she recalled thinking. "I was like, ‘Holy s---, what are they gonna say about me?'"

"I thought I was going to be banned from America," she continued. "That’s what they tell you: Don’t come back if not gold. Gold or bust. Don’t come back."

Widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time, Biles has hinted at a desire to join her third Olympic team in Paris, though her participation won't be confirmed until after the gymnastics trials in late June. She holds over 30 medals from the Olympic Games and World Artistic Gymnastics Championships combined, and if qualified, would be a sure favorite heading into this summer’s games.

Caitlin Clark reportedly nearing $20 million+ Nike deal

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever poses for a portrait at Gainbridge Fieldhouse during her introductory press conference
WNBA-bound Caitlin Clark is said to be closing in on a monumental NIke deal. (Photo by Matt Kryger/NBAE via Getty Images)

Caitlin Clark is reportedly close to cementing a hefty endorsement deal with Nike.

The Athletic was the first to break the news Wednesday evening, commenting that the deal would be worth "eight figures" and include her own signature shoe. On Thursday afternoon, the publication tweeted that the deal would top $20 million, according to lead NBA Insider Shams Charania. Both Under Armour and Adidas are said to have also made sizable offers to the college phenom and expected future WNBA star.

The new agreement comes after Clark's previous Nike partnership ended with the conclusion of the college basketball season. She was one of five NCAA athletes to sign an NIL deal with the brand back in October, 2022. 

Considering Clark's overwhelming popularity and Nike's deep pockets, the signing's purported value doesn't exactly come as a shock. New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu’s deal with the brand is reportedly worth $24 million, while NBA rookie and No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama’s deal is rumored to weigh in at $100 million. And in 2003, LeBron James famously earned $90 million off his own Nike deal. 

Clark’s star power continues to skyrocket, with the NCAA championship averaging 18.9 million viewers and the 2024 WNBA Draft more than doubling its previous viewership record. Following the draft, Fanatics stated that Clark's Indiana Fever jersey — which sold out within an hour — was the top seller for any draft night pick in the company’s history, with droves of unlucky fans now being forced to wait until August to get their hands on some official No. 22 gear.

In Wednesday's Indiana Fever introductory press conference, the unfailingly cool, calm, and collected Clark said that turning pro hasn’t made a huge impact on how she’s conducting her deals.

"If I’m being completely honest, I feel like it doesn’t change a ton from how I lived my life over the course of the last year," she said. "Sponsorships stay the same. The people around me, agents and whatnot, have been able to help me and guide me through the course of the last year. I don’t know if I would be in this moment if it wasn’t for a lot of them."

Star slugger Jocelyn Alo joins Athletes Unlimited AUX league

softball star jocelyn alo rounds the bases at an oklahoma sooners game
Former Oklahoma star Jocelyn Alo has signed with Athletes Unlimited. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Former Oklahoma slugger Jocelyn Alo has signed on with Athletes Unlimited and will compete in the AU Pro Softball AUX this June.

The NCAA record holder in career home runs (122), total bases (761), and slugging percentage (.987), Alo was originally drafted by the league in 2022 but opted instead to join the newly debuted Women’s Professional Fastpitch

Alo currently plays for independent pro softball team Oklahoma City Spark, with team owner Tina Floyd reportedly on board with her recent AUX signing. AUX games are scheduled for June 10-25, while the Spark's season will kick off June 19th. Alo will play for both. 

Among those joining Alo on the AUX roster are former James Madison ace pitcher Odicci Alexander and former Wichita State standout middle infielder Sydney McKinney.

According to Alo, the decision to play in the Athletes Unlimited league was fueled by her desire to propel women's sports forward as well as provide more exposure to a sport that's given her "so many opportunities."

"Not only to challenge myself more, but just for the growth of the game," Alo said, explaining her reasoning to The Oklahoman. "I genuinely believe that professional softball can be a career for girls."

Joining AUX is also one more step in her plan toward representing Team USA at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

"I’m constantly thinking about how can I do these little things right in these four years to prepare me for the biggest stage of softball," she told The Oklahoman. "I definitely want to play in the Olympics, for sure."

Alo further expressed enthusiasm in the hope that the rise of other women’s sports, like women’s basketball and the NWSL, will push softball’s professional viability even higher.

"We’re seeing the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) get their stuff going, I see the WNBA starting to get hot," she continued. "I feel like the softball community is like, 'All right, it’s our turn and it’s our turn to just demand more.'"

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