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Golfer Morgan Pressel discusses life atop her sport

Golf player thinking about their next move/ JWS
Golf player thinking about their next move/ JWS

Morgan Pressel is a professional golf player. At age 18, she became the youngest-ever winner of a LPGA major championship when she won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship (now known as the ANA Inspiration). Earlier in her career, she became the youngest player to ever qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open as a 12-year-old. She has five professional wins and a career-high ranking of fourth in the world. 

Pressel spoke to Just Women’s Sports about her partnership with Wasserman and Orreco, which seeks to provide information on the impact of menstrual cycles on athletic performance. 

(To read an overview of the partnership, click here.) 

I’m sure you first heard about the Orreco partnership from your agent, but I wanted to hear from your perspective how that came about and what was your initial reaction when you heard about it?

For a lot of women, and a lot of female athletes in general, the question of “how can I improve performance by better managing my menstrual cycle” is not something that they think about often. Those words never came out of my mouth before. I was like, Wow! That makes a lot of sense. Why have I never thought of that? I think that women just kind of go about it. They deal with it. It’s a very personal thing in that respect, and not something that’s talked about.

For me personally, I didn’t have any massive debilitating symptoms, but I would know that every month my back would get quite tight and get hard to turn. That’s hard. My timing would go off. I never thought that there would be things that I could actually physically do to help minimize those symptoms and improve my performance. I was very uneducated on it. I think so many women, especially female athletes, are uneducated on what they can do about it.

What is the biggest insight that you’ve learned so far while partnering with Orreco?

The whole idea was so surprising, but it shouldn’t be surprising. It should make 100% sense, but people don’t think about it. It’s understanding exactly what happens in your body through the hormonal changes of your menstrual cycle. And then from there, to be able to understand: Why do we have PMS? What causes that? How do we do our best to mitigate that? For me, a lot of it is eating anti-inflammatory foods. That’s been a really big help for me. I think what’s really great about what Orreco has put together with this FitrWoman app is that it’s all free. Yes, I have worked personally with them to develop a program specifically for me, and it’s still a work in progress every month. But they want to give all women access to this information, which has not been talked about very much before.

Do you think that having more of these conversations would help make discussion about the menstrual cycle’s effect on athletic performance more mainstream? 

Obviously everybody’s different on what they want to talk about, what they want to share, and what they consider to be very personal information. There are parts of the child-bearing process that we like to talk about and some that we don’t. I think the more education that’s out there and the more people are aware of that, especially from the female athletes’ side, the more that can be done to improve your performance around your cycle.

I think it’s going to take time to really get the education out there, because it needs to not be taboo to talk about.

You mentioned eating anti-inflammatory foods around your cycle to help with recovery. Is there anything else in addition to that that you’ve been doing or something that you’ve changed that has directly impacted not only your training, but your recovery as well?

Before I listened to my body, I kind of pushed it away and just kind of pushed through it. But I would say to people—listen to your body more, and take the time when you need it. Make adjustments, because nothing is set in stone. In my career, I’m always traveling to different places, and there’s nothing that is black and white or exactly the same every time. It’s constantly changing and adapting. I have to continually tweak little bits of my preparation.

What does the rest of the year look like for you? In terms of upcoming tournaments and training?

We have about three or four tournaments left for the rest of the year. There will be an off season that’s shorter than usual. Hopefully, next year at some point there will be a little bit more of a return to normalcy. We’re in full training practice mode now. When it comes to the off season, I’ll probably take a little bit of time off especially around the holidays, and then get back to work.

Is there anything else that you wanted to discuss about the Orreco partnership that I didn’t mention?

I think education about it is so important and helpful. It’s really helpful to those who want to be the best, and that’s the majority of female athletes out there. When you’re at the top level, every little bit makes a difference.

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.

One former player 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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