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Manchester City Needs to Play Rose Lavelle in Her Actual Position


To say that Rose Lavelle shone in 2019 would be an understatement. The breakout star of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup not only won the tournament along with the rest of U.S. women’s national team, but she scored a scintillating goal in the final to seal the USWNT’s win against the Netherlands.

Lavelle’s efforts in the final, as well as in the other five matches she started in the tournament, led to her being awarded the Bronze Ball as the third-most outstanding player in the tournament. Later in the year, she was named the sixth-best player in the world at The Best FIFA Football Awards and was also named as part of the starting eleven in the 2019 FIFA FIFPro World XI.

At only 25, Lavelle is expected to be one of the faces of the USWNT for years to come, specifically when some of the older players of this Golden Generation start to bow out of international duty.

So it’s no wonder that her fall signing with Manchester City, along with USWNT teammate Sam Mewis, generated as much excitement as it did. City, and in turn, the entire FAWSL, was getting two superstars.

But with excitement comes expectations. Mewis has hit the ground running at Manchester City. Lavelle has not.

It’s not entirely or even mostly the young USWNT star’s fault. A few months into her Man City stint, it’s clear that coach Gareth Taylor does not know how to utilize Lavelle on his team. Not only has this diminished Lavelle’s playing time and impact, but it’s hurt City’s chances as a team.

The biggest problem stems from Taylor playing Lavelle out of position during her limited chances. Lavelle primarily plays as an advanced central midfielder in the #10 role. In theory, Lavelle’s job is to provide an attacking drive from midfield against the opposition’s backline, which will then often lead to one of two scenarios: she is either able to use her linkup play to create a chance for a teammate or give herself a shot on goal (as she did in the World Cup final).

Taylor, however, seems adamant on playing Lavelle elsewhere. She has played on the left quite a bit, whether as a left midfielder or as a left winger, and Taylor has also shoehorned her in as a centre-forward this season. Playing out of position has handicapped Lavelle. And because she hasn’t been able to show her true potential, she’s been benched. Against Manchester United, she didn’t even step foot on the field.

It’s a frustrating cycle to witness. And what’s even more frustrating is that Manchester City could really use someone like Lavelle.

City are known as one of the FAWSL’s ‘Big Three’ along with Arsenal and Chelsea. The three have been interchangeable at the top of the league since 2014.

Things might change this season with both Manchester United and Everton starting off strong. Both are ahead of City, who sit in fifth place right now. City’s rocky start has come down to inconsistent performances. They either blow teams away or are stagnant in their attack.

A pivotal moment for City was the recent Manchester Derby. It was a chance to advance higher than fifth in the table and to take off points from their league-leading rival. City was cruising by halftime, up two goals thanks to Chloe Kelly and Laura Coombs, but United mounted a comeback, and by the seventy-fifth minute, the match was tied 2-2. City had over 15 minutes to push for a late winner, but Lavelle, a player whose specialty is unlocking tight defenses, remained on the bench as an unused substitute while her teammates struggled against United’s robust defensive line.

The match ended with both teams getting a point a piece, and the question still standing: Why is Lavelle not playing?

City remains in fifth now, and while it is still only halfway through the season, there is a good chance that they do not finish in the top three and are unable to qualify for a Champions League spot, something that has become somewhat of a standard for Manchester City.

It is unclear as to why Lavelle is being mismanaged by Taylor. The good news is that the answer to City’s problems is sitting on their bench. Fans need to hope that Taylor understands that. He’ll have a chance to show he does when Manchester City and Manchester United collide once more in Thursday’s Conti Cup match.

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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