All Scores

NWSL Challenge Cup final: Preview, schedule, how to watch

(Scott Sewell/USA TODAY Sports)

The North Carolina Courage will host Racing Louisville at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday with the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup title on the line. Catch all the action on CBS.

While this year could mark the end of the Challenge Cup tournament as we know it, the prize pool stands at a hefty $1 million — including $10,000 per player to the winning team.

Racing Louisville secured their spot in the championship match with a 1-0 win over OL Reign, while the Courage got a 1-0 win of their own over the Kansas City Current to make their second consecutive Challenge Cup final.

What to know about Racing Louisville

  • This is their first Challenge Cup final. The No. 4 seed heading into the semifinals, the club finished in second place in its group but snuck into the knockout stage.
  • Savannah DeMelo leads Challenge Cup scoring for Louisville with three goals and one assist in the tournament through just four Challenge Cup games played. The midfielder missed several group-stage matches while playing for the U.S. women’s national team at the 2023 World Cup.
  • Racing Louisville were without captain Jaelin Howell and defender Carson Pickett for Wednesday’s semifinal but still managed a win by capitalizing on a turnover in the 28th minute. Kirsten Davis scored the game’s lone goal. “She has been taking one step forward,” head coach Kim Björkegren said of the development of Davis. “She has better control over everything: the ball and the target play. She can keep the ball for us much stronger.”
  • Katie Lund has been outstanding in net throughout the Challenge Cup, recording three clean sheets, which is tied for the league lead in the tournament.
  • This will be Racing’s third cup final but first in an NWSL competition. The club won the first-ever Women’s Cup in 2021 before losing last year’s Women’s Cup final. “It’s been such a ride,” Lund said of the team’s journey. “We’ve been up and we’ve been down. But I truly believe this is the best team we’ve ever had. The belief is there. The support that we have is incredible. And we felt that tonight. So, just the energy around this club right now is really positive and we hope we can move that to Saturday.”

What to know about North Carolina

  • This is North Carolina’s second-straight Challenge Cup final appearance, with the Courage having won their first title in 2022. “I said to them after the game, it was a moment. It was a moment that we’ll remember,” said Courage head coach Sean Nahas following the team’s semifinal. “It was a true test of character for our group. We knew we had it in us.”
  • Brianna Pinto scored the game winner in the semifinal, which proved to be the game’s only goal, in the 96th minute. “I think we did a really great job re-setting our culture,” Pinto said of the team’s overhaul in the last year in the wake of the scandal involving former coach Paul Riley. “Everyone has bought into it.”
  • Kerolin was named the MVP of the 2022 final, a 2-1 victory over the Washington Spirit. She has been quiet in this year’s campaign but has generated four shots on goal through four matches, which is tied for second on the squad.
  • Brittany Ratcliffe leads the team with three goals through six games played. Haley Hopkins and Olivia Wingate have the most points, with two goals and two assists each.
  • The Courage will play host in this year’s Challenge Cup final. “For us to have the opportunity to win a trophy on Saturday is massive, especially at home and especially for this young group,” Nahas said. “It’s a moment that’s only going to help us grow and improve and believe in ourselves.”

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."

Start your morning off right with Just Women’s Sports’ free, 5x-a-week newsletter.