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Mark Parsons, Netherlands part ways following disappointing Euros

(Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Mark Parsons is no longer manager of the Netherlands women’s national team after the two sides agreed to part ways.

The Dutch Football Association (KNVB) confirmed Parsons’ departure Wednesday in a statement. The news comes after the squad was eliminated in the quarterfinals at the UEFA Women’s Euro in July. The Netherlands had entered the tournament as the defending champion.

According to the KNVB, the two sides came to the joint decision after a review of Parsons’ performance revealed there wasn’t enough confidence in the coach.

“In the run-up to and at the European Championship, both the games shown and the results were disappointing and we cannot afford that,” KNVB board member Jan Dirk van der Zee said. “The bar is high.

“The Netherlands was defending champion and also a finalist at the last World Cup, we want to participate for the prizes… The group came from an incredibly strong period and supplemented with young players, the team had to lay the foundation for new successes. Mark has managed to scout new talents and give them a chance in this interim phase and we are grateful to him for that. We wish him every success in his further career.”

After finishing second in Group C behind Sweden, the team lost to France in the quarterfinals. That game marked the return of star forward Vivianne Miedema, who had been out due to COVID-19 protocol. In a recent column for AD Sport, Miedema detailed how difficult the Euros were for her.

“It was a very difficult European Championship for me. I still haven’t processed everything. My expectations were high, I felt good, but then I got corona,” wrote Miedema, detailing how she laid in bed with a fever for nine days.

“I played 120 minutes against France, I have no idea how I did that,” she continued. “I was going to be substituted, but then we were 1-0 behind and we had to score.”

While recognizing that the tournament was a disappointment for the defending champions, she also highlighted the play of those like Daphne Domselaar, who stepped in when Sari van Veenendaal went down with an injury. The team was also missing Lieke Martens due to injury.

The issues with Parsons, though, seemingly run deeper than the Euros run. When Danielle van de Donk was asked after the Euros loss what she had learned with Parsons at the helm, she said she would “think about that.”

Parsons was announced as the successor to Sarina Wiegman in May 2021 after she departed to manage England. Wiegman led the Lionesses to the Euros title at this year’s tournament. Parsons joined the Netherlands from the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, where he had coached for five years.

He also spent time with the Washington Spirit, D.C. United and Chelsea Reserves.

Parsons released a statement Wednesday saying that it was a “privilege” to coach the Netherlands.

“I want you to know that I always worked with one goal in mind and that is to help this team move forward,” he added. “I truly wish to have achieved better results for you.

“This has been a very challenging 12 months but I remain honored I have had the chance to work with these players and KNVB. I wish you all the best and good luck for September’s qualifier. I will be cheering you all on from afar.”

The Netherlands sits atop Group C in UEFA World Cup qualifying with a two-point lead over Iceland. The two will meet in a match on Sept. 6, and Netherlands could secure a World Cup spot with a win.

WNBA All-Star Voting Stars on June 13th

Phoenix Mercury mascot Scorch waving a 2024 WNBA All-Star flag at a 2023 home game.
Phoenix Mercury will host the 20th-annual All-Star Game on July 20th, 2024. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Voting for the 2024 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game opened at 2 PM ET today and runs through June 29th.

All active WNBA players are eligible to make the All-Star Game, set for July 20th in Phoenix. Unlike previous formats that featured two voted-in All-Star squads, this year’s contest pits a single All-Star team against the already-decided Olympic-bound USA Women’s National Team.

Fans can submit a daily ballot nominating up to 10 athletes via WNBA.com or the WNBA App.

Fan-submitted ballots account for 50% of vote, with the other 50% split equally between current WNBA players and members of the media. The top 10 athletes will automatically make the All-Star Game, with league coaches then voting from a pool of the next 36 to complete Team WNBA’s 12-player roster. The final lineup will be announced on July 2nd.

This year's All-Star Game format presents an opportunity for fans to vote for players they might consider Olympic snubs. Indiana rookie Caitlin Clark and Dallas’s Arike Ogunbawole seem like shoo-ins given the discussion surrounding their Olympic omissions, while Connecticut stars Brionna Jones and DeWanna Bonner are also expected to snag All-Star nods.

And after a career-high 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in last night’s 83-75 loss to the Sun, Chicago rookie Angel Reese could also secure a spot.

Regardless, it won't necessarily be smooth sailing for Team USA, as history has tended to favor the underdog. 

The first USA vs. All-Stars matchup took place in 2021, with the league’s squad humbling the Tokyo Olympians 93-85. With 26 points, Ogunbawole was named All-Star Game MVP after barely missing the Olympic cut. Could she and Clark turn the tables on Team USA this year?

Watch more: "Were Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale snubbed?" by Expert Adjacent

San Diego Wave Hires Ex-KC Current GM Camille Ashton

San Diego Wave FC new General Manager Camille Levin Ashton visits the training grounds and front office during her introductory tour on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 in Del Mar, California.
New Wave GM Camille Ashton toured San Diego's training grounds on Tuesday. (San Diego Wave)

The San Diego Wave introduced Camille Ashton as their new general manager and sporting director yesterday, three weeks after Ashton resigned from her position as GM of the Kansas City Current.

The 34-year-old former NWSL pro will manage San Diego’s coaching staff and on-field budget, as well as lead player scouting and acquisitions. Ashton joins Wave FC president Jill Ellis and head coach Casey Stoney in an effort to lead the team back to their 2023 NWSL Shield-winning success.

"I’ve known Cami from back in her playing days, and her impressive track record and deep understanding as both a General Manager and former player, combined with her passion and energy make her an exceptional fit with this club," Ellis said in a team statement.

Ashton left a Kansas City team that remains undefeated this season — a significant leap from last year’s 11th-place finish. While at the Current, Ashton inked top offseason free agent Debinha followed by international forwards Temwa Chawinga (Malawi) and Bia Zaneratto (Brazil).

However, not all of Ashton’s roster moves were as well received. High-profile players like Lynn WilliamsCece Kizer, and Alex Loera posted about the mishandling of their abrupt trades, while the parent of a waived 2023 NWSL draftee claimed her daughter was mistreated by Ashton and the club (a subsequent investigation did not result in any public consequences).

When asked about the criticism surrounding the trades, Ashton commented, "There could be a lot of debate… but at the end of the day, that’s the mechanism that we work with right now in the league." 

A Southern California native, Ashton will make the transition to the Wave in the coming weeks.

Riot Fest Forces Red Stars to Move Scheduled NWSL Game

Apr 27, 2024; Bridgeview, Illinois, USA; at SeatGeek Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Red Stars are scrambling to find a solution for a September 21st home game after it was revealed that a music festival would be taking over the team's usual stadium. 

Riot Fest announced on Wednesday that SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois will host the three-day concert event from September 20th through the 22nd. The Red Stars — who were scheduled to play the San Diego Wave on September 21st — have played at SeatGeek since 2016, and recently set an all-time NWSL attendance record during a one-off game at Wrigley Field

As for solutions, those hoping for a return to Wrigley could be out of luck: The Chicago Cubs are set to play the Washington Nationals at home on September 21st.

"It is unfair and unfortunate to have our club put in this situation, shining a light on the vast discrepancies in the treatment of women's professional sports versus men's sports," Red Stars president Karen Leetzow said in tweeted response to the double-booking.

"We are committed to ensuring our players and fans have a first-rate experience on and off pitch, and we are working diligently to find a solution that will ensure our September 21st game is a success."

Since purchasing the Red Stars last year, majority owner Laura Ricketts — a co-owner of the Cubs — has been vocal about finding a more appropriate long-term home for the team. 

"We knew right from the beginning — like, rewind back almost a year and a half ago when we started considering acquiring the Red Stars — we knew that the current [stadium] situation was not the ultimate long-term solution," Ricketts told ESPN in February. "And really, the key to unlocking the door for this organization would be to solve that."

More broadly, Ricketts has been pushing for increased public funding for sports stadiums around Chicago, with both the NFL’s Bears and MLB’s White Sox looking to build new facilities. 

The situation in Bridgeview is the most recent scheduling mishap for the NWSL. Angel City had to reschedule their 2024 season opener weeks before it was to be played due to an "unforeseen scheduling conflict." Additionally, San Diego's new MLS team will reportedly have priority over NWSL side San Diego Wave FC when it comes to scheduling home games at the shared Snapdragon Stadium. 

"It frustrates me again that we’re the established team in the market and a men’s team comes in and gets first picks on the schedule," Wave coach Casey Stoney said last October. "Shame that it continues to happen."

Watch more: "Chicago Forced to Move Match Due to Music Festival" on TikTok

Sam Kerr Announces New Chelsea Contract in Prank Videos

Sam Kerr celebrates a Chelsea win with a backflip
Sam Kerr first signed with Chelsea in 2019. (Eddie Keogh/The FA via Getty Images)

Sam Kerr has signed a new two-year contract with Chelsea. 

The Australian forward teased fans in the announcement, after speculation regarding her future with the club had been swirling for months — particularly with the departure of head coach Emma Hayes. 

In a video posted Thursday morning, Kerr thanked fans for the memories before saying she will "always be Chelsea" in a tone that suggested she was leaving the London club. But 20 minutes later, the team took to social media to announce the striker had actually signed a new two-year deal. 

"Did you guys really think I was gonna end on 99 goals?" asked Kerr in a followup video.

BBC Sport reported that the contract extension fake-out was Kerr’s idea.

"It’s really exciting and a very proud moment for me," Kerr said in a statement. "Having the opportunity to stay at a club like Chelsea means a lot to me. I’m really excited to continue to push and to try to win trophies."

The 30-year-old is currently recovering from an ACL tear sustained in January. The injury will keep her out of the Paris Olympics

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