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FAWSL January Transfer Window: Week Two Roundup

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We’re back with a roundup of week two of the FAWSL January 2021 transfer window. If you missed out on the biggest deals made during the first week of the window, catch them all here.

Here’s what FAWSL clubs have been up to in the meantime.

 

BIRMINGHAM CITY

Birmingham’s first piece of business saw them sign 23-year-old Veatriki Sarri from Championship side Sheffield United.

Sarri has played for Sheffiled United since 2018. When she first joined the club, she was managed by Birmingham’s current manager, Carla Ward. The pair reuniting will mean that Sarri already knows Ward’s preferred management style, and the expectations she has for players.

Birmingham currently sit 7th in the table, with nine points, a massive improvement on last season, where they finished the season in 11th place with seven points, a mere point above Liverpool who were relegated to the Championship.

Defensively, Birmingham are quite solid — they’ve only let in 13 goals this season, which puts them in fifth place for goals against after Chelsea (five), Arsenal (eight), Manchester United (nine), and Manchester City (nine). Despite being ahead of them in the table, both Reading and Everton have conceded more goals, 15 and 20 respectively.

Offensively however, Birmingham have only netted nine goals this season, which puts them in ninth place in terms of goals scored in the league. Sarri coming in gives them an extra offensive player that could turn close games into wins or draws, earning them a few extra points as they look to break into the top half of the fixture.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

So far, Tottenham Hotspur have made two signings, the first being Alanna Kennedy. Kennedy has already been at Tottenham since August of 2020, having decided to go on loan from the Orlando Pride due to the fact that the team couldn’t play because of COVID-19.

However, in November of 2020, Racing Louisville FC selected Kennedy during the NWSL expansion draft with their sixth overall pick. Because her contract with the NWSL expired in December of 2020, Kennedy was free to sign a permanent deal with Tottenham, making it unclear when, or if, she’ll return to America.

The second transfer window signing for Tottenham Hotspur was Shelina Zadorsky. Zadorsky’s situation is similar to Kennedy’s — she came to the UK after having not been able to play for Orlando due to COVID-19, and now has also signed a permanent deal with Tottenham.

Both Kennedy and Zadorsky have been crucial for Tottenham this season. Kennedy has featured in all nine of Tottenham’s league games as a starting defender, and Zadorsky has featured in eight. Both have been bright spots all season, even in the early days when Tottenham were struggling.

As mainstays on their respective national teams (Australia and Canada), Kennedy and Zadorsky bring in a wealth of experience that will continue to be crucial to Tottenham under the new management of Rehanne Skinner, especially after the recent departure of Alex Morgan.

WEST HAM UNITED

Tottenham were not the only side with plans to sign permanent deals to their loanee players, with West Ham also confirming that Emily van Egmond signed a permanent contract. A member of Australia’s national team, van Egmond joined Melbourne City on loan when the Orlando Pride were unable to continue with their season, winning two trophies in Australia before joining West Ham on loan.

In her nine league appearances with the club, she’s scored three goals, becoming a crucial part of West Ham’s midfield. The club signing her on a permanent deal will definitely bolster their hopes that they can improve on their current 10th place. While they are unlikely to be relegated (Bristol City only have two points!), they were very much in the relegation battle at the beginning of the season. Signings like Van Egmond will help them bolster their squad and allow them to be more competitive in following seasons.

The FAWSL is back this Sunday, with a critical match between Manchester United and Chelsea, the top two teams in the league. The transfer window likewise remains open, so stay tuned for next week’s roundup of the league’s biggest moves.

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."

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