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Jordan Dibiasi on Her First USWNT Call-Up

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Jordan DiBiasi is a midfielder for the Washington Spirit. The 3rd overall pick in the 2019 NWSL draft, DiBiasi played her college soccer at Stanford, where she helped the Cardinal win the 2017 College Cup. DiBiasi spoke with Just Women’s Sports from the national team’s camp in Florida, where the USWNT is training for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup.

How has your first national camp been? 

It’s been awesome. It’s been a really, really good experience, and I’m super thankful for it. This has always been a dream of mine, but I didn’t have any idea that it would happen now. I mean, on the first day, I came in and they were recapping qualifying games. And I’m like, oh my goodness, I was just watching those on TV at my house, and now we’re talking about the strategy they had going in. It’s also been cool to see everyone at this level because I’ve competed against them in the NWSL, and I trained with a lot of them in college. But to see them united and all together in person, day in and day out, on and off the field has been amazing.

You’ve played with a lot of these players before. What’s it like having so many familiar faces around? 

I think it just gives me a lot of confidence because there is this sense of familiarity, even if it is a totally new environment. And outside of the people I already knew, everyone’s been really cool to me. We had pick-up hours before training started, where we were playing on small goals, and my team was literally Andi [Sullivan], Tierna [Davidson], Lindsey [Horan], and Rose [Lavelle]. I was on cloud nine. It was so much fun. And off the field, they’re all very inclusive. I don’t really feel like I’m burdening them as much because I know them, and we’re friends [laughs].

Does it feel like a big jump from the NWSL or does it feel like you’ve been here before?

I feel like as you go up the ladder, it’s always a little faster. The biggest thing I’ve noticed here is that everyone’s on the same page, so the speed of play and the speed of thought is really, really fast. Everyone is being proactive in their runs. They’re all just so smart and efficient. Sometimes when you’re watching soccer, you think, “Oh, it’d be cool if someone did X, Y, then Z.” But now on the field, everyone’s so in sync and playing at such a high level, they’re actually executing it, which is amazing. They don’t even have to talk about it, they all just know what to do, and they do it all with one touch. They play it perfectly with the right pace and the right texture on the ball. It’s the little details and the slightest of things, but they’re expert at it and they do it very nonchalantly. A lot of times I’m like, oh, that was sweet. I would act way more excited if I did that [laughs].

How did you find out you’d been called up? 

I was in Colorado training in the off-season, and it was right before I went back to DC. And I got this message from my coach in DC, and he told me to call him after I talked to Vlatko. I was like, wait, what? It totally came out of left field. And then I got this email about SheBelieves and Vlatko called. He basically said he wanted to bring me into the environment and expose me to it and see how I did just so I could get comfortable. All I could think was, holy smokes.

Everyone dreams of playing with the USWNT. What was it like to have come true? 

Obviously I was super excited. You never know when you’re going to get these opportunities, and this was something I’d been dreaming about for a long time. When I first found out, I was just overwhelmed. I was just like, wow, and I called my parents, and they said, what? And I told them, I know, I know, I’m so excited. But I’ve also competed with a lot of these players before, and I always believed that if I worked hard, I could get to this level. I know I’m here for a reason, so now I just have to give it my best shot.

What was your mindset when you actually arrived at camp? 

I didn’t have any expectations. I told myself, you know, I’ve been training really hard. I’ve always really wanted this. I know I can compete, and I’m just going to give it my best. That was my thought process, and I think it’s paid off. It’s a different level, and I don’t really know the system and I’m still learning all the details. And because it’s been my dream for so long, obviously I’m a little nervous. But I’ve been able to take a step back and just enjoy it. I’m embracing it and trying to learn and grow as much as I can.

And getting called up once isn’t my be-all, end-all. I want to be on this team, so now the question is, what am I going to do with the information I get from this camp, and how am I going to better myself when I go away in order to give myself the opportunity to come back.

It sounds like there’s a bright future for you. 
Okay, so SheBelieves is this weekend. You were called into camp, but you won’t be on the roster. What will game day be like for you? 

I’m going to the game, and I get to sit in like a box or something. I’m not exactly sure what the set-up is, but I’m really excited. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to get to stay for the game, but now that I am, I’m just super excited to see what everyone is like before the match, what they do and how they handle it. Are they listening to music? Is it quiet? Like, what’s the vibe? And then to watch them play will obviously be really fun.

You’ve been in the ID camp, but this is like your first true call up. It ends in a couple days. What’s next for you? 

I have my process and I just want to keep working on that. This camp has been awesome, and the end goal is obviously to be consistently called in. I mean, that’s the angle. There’s a lot of steps I have to take to get there. And now that we’re starting the NWSL season, I’m taking what I learned from here, going back to my NWSL team, applying it, and working really hard. I’m totally invested in the Spirit, and I know that being the best version of myself is what’s going to help the team most, so I want to do whatever I can to bring my game to the next level.

This is only your second year in the league. What are some of your personal and team goals for the season? 

I’m super excited to not be a rookie anymore [laughs]. I made a lot of mistakes last year, so I’m excited to learn from them and grow. Our team obviously hasn’t met as a conjoined group yet because not everyone has been in DC. But without anything being said, we all want to win. Obviously that’s the end goal, but that’s everyone’s goal. So now we have to figure out how to make it happen. Last year, we didn’t make playoffs, so I think the first step is to do that. And then we’ll go from there.

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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