All Scores

Julie Foudy: USWNT is in ‘rebuild’ ahead of 2023 World Cup

Andi Sullivan, Kristie Mewis, Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh enter Red Bull Arena before the USWNT’s match against Germany on Nov. 13. (Erin Chang/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The men’s World Cup in Qatar brought attention to the progress the U.S. women’s national team has made off the pitch in the form of its equal pay deal. But on the pitch, its roster is dealing with growing pains, U.S. soccer legend Julie Foudy tells Just Women’s Sports.

As the men’s national team made its World Cup run, the USWNT made headlines, as for the first time under their new CBAs, the teams are sharing their FIFA prize money equally. The USMNT advanced to the knockout round, which put both squads in line to receive $5.85 million each — but for Foudy, the change is about more than the bottom line.

“The U.S. Soccer logo and mantra has always been ‘one nation, one team,’ right? But now it really feels like that,” Foudy says. “They always did support each other, but it just feels very different now.

“It feels the way it should be, and I’m glad we finally got to that because that’s really how it should be. We should all be rowing in the same boat together.”

Yet as attention turns from the USMNT and the 2022 tournament to the USWNT and the 2023 World Cup, there has been an uptick in concern about the women’s readiness.

For the first time since 1993, the team lost three games in a row, falling to England, Spain and Germany late this year. While the U.S. managed to avoid a fourth straight loss, ending their 2022 schedule with a win over Germany, questions remain.

Foudy sees the losses as part of the process for a developing roster.

“You’re playing against three of the best teams in the world who could easily win this next World Cup. And that’s what you want to see at that level,” she said. “And they’re still so young. I mean, that’s the thing we often forget when people start to panic about what is happening with this team.

“This is a rebuild. That’s going to take some time.”

Foudy pointed to forwards Mallory Pugh and Sophia Smith as bright spots for the squad.

“The power of those two young gunners is incredible to see,” she said, noting that their ability to open up space for Alex Morgan in the No. 9 spot makes it hard for teams to handle the USWNT attack.

“The challenge, of course, is that you can’t just rely on those two to be carrying the team, which is what a lot of that looked like in those four games,” she added.

Still, the USWNT great sees potential in the front five, including Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan. Catarina Macario should also make her return from an ACL tear in early 2023.

While the team has dealt with a plethora of injuries, there has been “too much discussion” about the team’s missing players from both the media and U.S. Soccer staff, Foudy said.

“Guess what? That’s part of soccer,” she said. “Yes, the U.S. has a ton of injuries right now. But that’s part of it. It’s the next person up.”

Other national teams have players missing, Foudy noted. Spain’s Alexia Putellas is sidelined with a torn ACL, while England’s Beth Mead recently tore her ACL and could miss next summer’s World Cup.

“It happens for every team, every country. It is not just with this national team,” Foudy said. “And so do they miss Macario? Yes. Do they miss maybe a [Christen] Press if she was able to go? Yes. Tobin Heath is injured. I mean, Sam Mewis? Julie Ertz?

“The reality is, they may not have them [next summer]. And so you, you just deal with the hand you’re dealt.”

The USWNT must rely on its depth as they move into 2023 and continue to prepare for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“When I hear anything coming from some of the staff at U.S. Soccer, like, enough,” Foudy said. “We know about the people who are injured. Let’s focus on what you have.”

Another World Cup discussion, though, has been fun for Foudy: The debate over whether the beautiful game should be called football or soccer.

Foudy, alongside Brandi Chastain and Mia Hamm, participated in a Frito-Lay ad campaign about the debate, which gave her the chance to work with legendary director Michael Bay.

“He was amazing and, of course, hysterical,” Foudy said.

While she came in knowing the script for the commercial, she and Chastain were allowed to riff off of one another at the direction of Bay.

“That’s the beauty of Michael, too, is you can kind of pivot while he’s [directing],” she added. “He’s seen things and he’s reacting to stuff. He was great.”

The campaign was headlined by David Beckham and Peyton Manning, two of the best in their respective sports. Also joining the star-studded cast were Javier “Chicarito” Hernández and Tim Howard.

“It was just so fun to see it come together,” Foudy said. “When you’re hearing about where their shoots were, how they were doing and to watch the different iterations of it.”

Working alongside Chastain was not new to Foudy — after all, they were teammates for the entirety of their national team careers. The two-time World Cup winner admits that whenever the two hang out for long periods of time, “trouble ensues.”

“In a good way, good dribble,” she assured. “It was really fun.”

The commercial, which has run throughout the men’s World Cup, elicits “healthy debate,” which Foudy loves.

“The thing I hear from people who’ve watched it, and so many people have responded to it, is they just love it, right?” she said. “They love that it’s fun, it’s bringing people together, they’re debating it in a healthy way. The world needs a lot more healthy debate, in a way. Which is essentially what the World Cup does, which is what the commercial does.”

USWNT to face Costa Rica in final Olympic send-off

uswnt sophia smith and tierna davidson celebrate at shebeilves cup 2024
The USWNT will play their final pre-Olympic friendly against Costa Rica on July 16th. (Photo by Greg Bartram/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that the USWNT will play their last home game on July 16th in the lead-up to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

The 2024 Send-Off Match against Costa Rica will take place at Washington, DC’s Audi Field — home to both the Washington Spirit and DC United — at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 16th. The friendly rounds out a four-game Olympic run-up campaign under incoming head coach Emma Hayes’ side, with the last two set to feature the finalized 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team roster.

Hayes will appear on the USWNT sideline for the first time this June, helming the team as they embark on a two-game series against Korea Republic hosted by Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on June 1st followed by Allianz Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 4th. 

The team is then scheduled to meet a talented Mexico squad on July 13th at Gotham FC’s Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, where the Olympic-bound lineup will attempt to rewrite February’s shocking 2-0 loss to El Tri Femenil in the group stages of this year’s Concacaf W Gold Cup. And while clear roster favorites have emerged from both of this year’s Gold Cup and SheBelives Cup rosters, a spate of recent and recurring injuries means making it to the Olympics is still largely anyone’s game.

Broadcast and streaming channels for the USWNT's final July 16th friendly at Audi Field include TNT, truTV, Universo, Max, and Peacock.

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA start to serve as 2024 Olympic tryout

Clark of the Indiana Fever poses for a photo with Lin Dunn and Christie Sides during her introductory press conference on April 17, 2024
The talented Fever rookie is still in the running for a ticket to this summer's Paris Olympics. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The USA Basketball Women's National Team is still considering Caitlin Clark for a spot on the Paris Olympics squad, says selection committee chair Jennifer Rizzotti. 

On Monday, Rizzotti told the AP that the committee will be evaluating the college phenom’s Olympic prospects by keeping a close eye on her first few weeks of WNBA play with Indiana.

The move is somewhat unconventional. While Clark was invited to participate in the 14-player national team training camp held earlier this month — the last camp before Team USA’s roster drops — she was unable to attend due to it coinciding with Iowa’s trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Judging by the immense talent spread throughout the league in what might be their most hyped season to date, competition for a piece of the Olympic pie could be fiercer than ever before.

"You always want to introduce new players into the pool whether it's for now or the future," said Rizzotti. "We stick to our principles of talent, obviously, positional fit, loyalty and experience. It's got to be a combination of an entire body of work. It's still not going to be fair to some people."

Of course, Clark isn’t the first rookie the committee has made exceptions for. Coming off an exceptional college season that saw her averaging 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for UConn, Breanna Stewart was tapped to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil less than two weeks after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm. Eight years prior, fellow No. 1 pick Candace Parker punched her ticket to the 2008 Games in Beijing just two weeks after making her first appearance for the L.A. Sparks.

In the lead-up to Paris’ Opening Ceremony on July 26th, USA Basketball Women’s National Team is scheduled to play a pair of exhibition games. They'll first go up against the WNBA's finest at the July 20th WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix before facing Germany in London on July 23rd.

While an official roster announcement date hasn’t yet been issued, players won’t find out if they’ve made this year’s Olympic cut until at least June 1st.

WNBA teams make history with 2024 season ticket sell-outs

Arike Ogunbowale on the wnba court for the dallas wings
The Dallas Wings are now the third team to sell out their entire season ticket allotment in WNBA history. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

For the first time in history, three different WNBA teams have completely sold out of season ticket plans well before the league's May 14th kick-off.

Call it the Caitlin Clark effect, attribute it to this year’s tenacious rookie class, or look to the skyrocketing visibility of veteran players across the board. But no matter the cause, facts are facts: Tickets to the 2024 WNBA season are selling like never before. 

On Monday, the Dallas Wings became the third team to sell out of season ticket memberships in the league’s 27-year history. The announcement from Arlington came shortly after the Atlanta Dream issued their own season ticket sell-out statement, also on Monday, and almost seven weeks after the back-to-back WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces made headlines by becoming the first-ever WNBA team to sell out their season ticket allotment.   

According to the Wings, season ticket memberships will fill nearly 40% of the 6,251 seats inside their home arena, College Park Center. The club also said that their overall ticket revenue has ballooned to the tune of 220% this year, spanning not just season tickets but also a 1,200% increase in single ticket sales. There’s currently a waitlist to become a Dallas season ticket holder, a status that comes with extra incentives like playoff presale access and discounts on additional single-game tickets. 

In Atlanta, season tickets aren't the only thing flying off the shelves. The Dream also announced that they broke their own record for single-game ticket sales during a recent limited presale campaign. Sunday was reportedly their most lucrative day, with five different games totally selling out Gateway Center Arena. Individual tickets for all upcoming matchups will hit the market this Thursday at 8 a.m., while a waitlist for season ticket memberships will open up next Tuesday at 10 a.m.

"Excitement around women's sports, particularly basketball, is at an all-time high and nowhere is that felt more than here in Atlanta," Dream president and COO Morgan Shaw Parker said in the team’s statement. "We’ve continued a record-setting growth trajectory over the past three years under new ownership — both on and off the court — and 2024 is shaping up to be our best season yet."

As of Tuesday, season ticket sales revenue for Caitlin Clark’s hotly anticipated Indiana Fever debut haven’t yet been announced by the club. But if these numbers are any indication — not to mention the explosive demand for Fever away games felt by teams around the country — it won’t be long before we see some scale-tipping figures coming out of Indianapolis.

Nelly Korda ties LPGA record with fifth-straight tournament win

Nelly Korda of the United States celebrates with the trophy after winning The Chevron Championship
Nelly Korda poses with her trophy after acing her fifth-straight tour title at The Chevron Championship on Sunday. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

25-year-old American pro golfer Nelly Korda secured her spot in LPGA history on Sunday, notching her fifth-straight title at this weekend's Chevron Championship in The Woodlands, Texas.

Ranked No. 1 in the world by Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Korda joins Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sörenstam (2005) as just the third LPGA player to rack up five consecutive tour wins. She is also the third No. 1-ranked player to capture The Chevron Championship victory since the rankings debuted in 2006, accompanied by Lorena Ochoa and Lydia Ko.

The Florida native shot three-under 69 in Sunday's final, besting Sweden's Maja Stark despite Stark's valiant come-from-behind attempt in the 18th. Korda finished with a four-day total of 13-under 275, celebrating her two-stroke win by cannonballing into Poppie's Pond, much to the crowd's delight. She left The Club at Carlton Woods with $1.2 million from an overall purse of $7.9 million.

It wasn't long ago that the two-time major champion's current winning streak seemed unimaginable. After maintaining her No. 1 position for 29 weeks, Korda underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from her left arm in 2022. She returned to the course not long after, but failed to win a single tournament in 2023 before seeing a surge in form during the first four months of 2024. As of today, she hasn't lost a tournament since January.

Korda will attempt a record sixth-straight win at next week's JM Eagle LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, where she'll vie for a cut of the $3.75 million purse.

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