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Jaedyn Shaw and fellow USWNT youngsters ‘seized opportunities’

Alyssa Thompson chases Jaedyn Shaw after assisting on Shaw’s first USWNT goal on Oct. 29. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The youth contingent of the U.S. women’s national team is having its moment.

Both Jaedyn Shaw, 18, and Mia Fishel, 22, scored their first international goals in Sunday’s 3-0 win against Colombia. Meanwhile, players such as Alyssa Thompson, 18, and Naomi Girma, 23, have established themselves as mainstays for the national team.

And while interim head coach Twila Kilgore has preached patience while integrating younger players into the U.S. system, that doesn’t mean the coaches are not impressed with what they’ve seen.

“We’re really, really pleased with both of them,” Kilgore said of Fishel and Shaw. “We’ve introduced them to the environment with little pressure. They’ve been dressed, had an opportunity to learn specific things and then got their first caps and then got extended point in time and made the most of it. We’re really, really pleased with how they’ve seized those opportunities.”

Both players entered the game at halftime as substitutes for Sophia Smith and Alex Morgan, and they established an easy connection in just their second career appearances for the USWNT.

“We never played together before. Since our first camp, we came in kind of together,” Fishel said. “She was my buddy from day one. Off the field just an amazing person. I think it showed on the field our connection off the field.”

Fishel scored the first goal of the match for the USWNT, and Shaw iced the win with her goal off an assist from Thompson. Shaw’s goal coming at at San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium made it even more special for the Wave forward.

“It’s hard to believe that it even happened,” she said. “I saw Alyssa get the ball, I took off and she played the best ball ever. I did what I could to tap it in. I’m so so happy to have it here in San Diego and I’m so honored to be here.”

The patience shown by Shaw and Fishel as they acclimate to the national team environment has also been impressive, Kilgore said. She also noted that they are both “really solid” and “very talented” players.

“Whether you’re a young player of you’re a veteran player, the key is that you never know if you’re gonna get invited back,” Kilgore continued. “You have to compete daily for the minutes that you get. … You’ve got to be able to show that you can play at the international level and that your quality translates to this.

“Today was a really, really good day for them in terms of proving that they can execute. … Nothing’s promised to anybody. And I think that the path that we took with them proved that it’s good to take things slow and their futures are very bright.”

Girma, who already has become a staple on the USWNT backline, also was impressed by Shaw, she said after Sunday’s victory.

“I’m so happy for her. Only her second cap and getting a goal,” Girma said. “Just being so confident on the ball and really impacting the game in a positive way when she came in. It’s so impressive and she’s so young so I think the future’s so bright for her.”

Athing Mu Falls at Trials, Will Not Defend 800-Meter Olympic Title

Athing Mu competes in the women's 800 meter final on Day Four of the 2024 US Olympic Team Track & Field Trials
Mu won the 800-meter final at the Tokyo Olympics, crossing the line in 1:55.21 to break the American record. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Reigning Olympic Track & Field champion Athing Mu will not have the opportunity to defend her 800-meter title in Paris after falling during the event's US Track & Field Trials final on Monday. 

About 200 meters into the race, Mu uncharacteristically got tangled up in the middle of the track and lost her footing. Coming to her defense, her coach Bobby Kersee said that she had been spiked, suffered track burns, and hurt her ankle. The 22-year-old filed an appeal that saw USA Track and Field officials sorting through replays, but it was later denied. 

As a result, Mu did not qualify to run the 800-meter at the 2024 Summer Games, as the US has a standing rule that only the top three Trials finishers make the official Olympic-bound roster. 

At her first-ever Olympics in 2021, Mu took home the gold at the 800-meter final, crossing the line in 1:55.21 to break the American record.

"I’ve coached it, I’ve preached it, I’ve watched it," Kersee told The Associated Press after Mu's appeal was rejected. "And here’s another indication that regardless of how good we are, we can leave some better athletes home than other countries have. It’s part of our American way."

Mu finished more than 22 seconds behind eventual winner Nia Akins, but could still make the Olympic team as part of the US relay pool. Mu was a key part of the Team USA's 4x400-meter gold medal win three years ago in Tokyo.

Dearica Hamby Tapped to Replace Cameron Brink on 3×3 Olympic Team

Dearica Hamby playing for Team USA in 2023
Dearica Hamby is no stranger to Team USA's 3×3 lineup. (Lance King/Getty Images)

Dearica Hamby has been named to USA Basketball's official 3×3 Olympic roster, replacing an injured Cameron Brink.

The Los Angeles Sparks forward has extensive experience with the 3×3 team, including taking home both a gold medal and MVP honors at the 2023 FIBA AmeriCup

Brink originally made the roster in early June, but suffered a season-ending ACL injury during Los Angeles’s June 18th loss to Connecticut. 

"It is an honor to announce Dearica Hamby's addition to the USA 3×3 women's national team and we look forward to getting to work as a squad very soon," USA Basketball 3×3 national team director Jay Demings said in a statement. "USA Basketball continues to keep Cameron Brink in our thoughts as she focuses on her recovery."

Hamby will join 2023 FIBA 3×3 World Cup champions Hailey Van Lith (TCU), CIerra Burdick, and Rhyne Howard (Atlanta Dream) in Paris.

San Diego Wave Parts Ways With Head Coach Casey Stoney

ex-wave fc head coach casey stoney in 2023
Casey Stoney joined Wave FC in 2022 from the WSL's Manchester United. (Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images)

San Diego Wave FC announced on Monday that the organization has parted ways with head coach Casey Stoney. 

The announcement comes amid a seven-game winless streak for the Wave. Stoney joined San Diego from WSL side Manchester United a few months before their inaugural season, winning the 2022 NWSL Coach of the Year Award that same year. She went on to lead the expansion team to two trophies in three years. 

Just this past January, the club agreed to a multi-year contract extension that kept Stoney with the club through 2027, with a mutual option for 2028. 

Despite their prior success, San Diego currently sits ninth in the NWSL standings, one point out of playoff contention. Their last win came on May 8th, having most recently played to a scoreless draw against Houston over the weekend to cap off a three-game road trip. 

"We are immensely grateful to Casey for her commitment to our club and the positive impact she has had both on and off the pitch,” Wave president and former USWNT manager Jill Ellis said in an official team statement. "Over the past seasons, Casey has guided us to significant milestones, and her contributions have been instrumental in laying a strong foundation on which to build.

"The decision to part ways was very hard and not made in haste, but given the ambition of this club, and where we are in our season, we felt a change was necessary at this time."

The staffing change comes a little less than two weeks after the Wave brought on former Kansas City Current general manager Camille Ashton. Ashton resigned from her position with Kansas City in May of this year.

On Tuesday, Ellis commented that Stoney is "self aware" and called her a "complete professional."

"I don’t think you have to have a conversation when it comes to know where they are, she knew,” she said. “I think Casey knew results matter. Casey’s ambitious. And was she happy with where we were? Of course not.

"I think a coach also understands that sometimes this is the nature of the beast of coaching. It’s tough and hard at times."

Kansas City, Orlando Raise the NWSL Bar With Weekend Wins

NWSL Orlando Pride forward Barbra Banda in action during a NWSL match against Seattle Reign
Banda registered a brace on Sunday, bringing her NWSL total to 10 goals in just 10 games. (Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Pride star Barbra Banda continued on her historic NWSL trajectory this weekend, scoring twice in Orlando’s 6-0 win over Utah on Friday. 

She’s the first NWSL player to register 10 goals in their first 10 league appearances. It was also her fourth brace this season, and marked her first goals in two games after her first multi-game scoring drought.

"For me when I have an opportunity and a chance, I have to take it wisely," Banda said in her postgame remarks. "When I get a chance, I have to put the ball in the back of the net. If any game I didn’t score, I just have to go to my drawing board and work hard so that in the next game so I can find a goal."

Meanwhile, Kansas City also kept up their winning ways, beating Portland 4-1 behind a brace from midfielder Lo'eau Labonta on Sunday.

Later that day, the Washington Spirit, who sit just a point behind KC in third place, topped fourth-place Gotham FC in a decisive 2-0 victory.

And after drawing with Seattle, eighth-place Louisville has 16 points on the season — representing a growing gap between the league’s top and bottom teams. Bringing up the bottom of the ladder, both Seattle and Utah have yet to surpass 10 points this year.

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