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Why Sam Mewis is (or will soon be) the best in the world

Sam Mewis
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We know, we know—no one will ever agree on who the best player in the world is. But Sam Mewis is making the case that she has to be included whenever we have the conversation.

Players like Marta and Christine Sinclair are legends of the game, and at one point, they both had a claim to be the best in the world. But while both are still performing at a high level, they’re no longer at their peak. 

Over the last couple of years, several players have vied to assume their title of the best in the world. 

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin are the most successful club team of the past decade. It’s hard to argue that players such as Wendie Renard, Amandine Henry, and Dzsenifer Marozsán aren’t in contention for the best in the world as long as they continue to dominate for Lyon. 

In the FAWSL, Chelsea’s Pernille Harder and Sam Kerr and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema have consistently made cases for themselves, as well as Manchester City stars such as Lucy Bronze and Steph Houghton, who have been integral for England as well. 

However, a fantastic 2019 and an even better 2020 has seen Mewis skyrocket into the conversation. On the second episode of JWS’ The Soccer Show, David Copeland-Smith described her ascension:

Looking ahead to 2021, the 28-year-old is just entering her prime, and she will likely make a case for herself as one of the best by the end of the year. According to ESPN, she’s already there:

Mewis’ skillset is what has propelled her to stardom; there simply aren’t many players like her around. 

In the modern game, multi-dimensional players are far more important than in decades prior. Gone are the days where the ten outfield players had one specific role on the pitch. Now, players are expected to be as versatile as possible. The more diverse set of skills a player has, the more valuable they become. 

The evolution of the midfielders’ role is an example of this. A box-to-box midfielder often has the duties of both an attacking midfielder and a defensive one. In possession, they’ll be high up the pitch supporting the forward players, and out of possession, they’ll be situated in front of the defensive line. 

A box-to-box midfielder gives a manager and their team the best of both worlds. And that’s what Mewis is: an excellent box-to-box midfielder, whose goals and assists are only an added bonus. She can defend well, head the ball away from danger, create chances, and dribble out of tight spaces.

As such an all-around player, it was almost too easy for her when she left North Carolina Courage to go to Manchester City. New country, new league, but no problem for Mewis. 

She adapted to her new club’s playing style as quick as ever, and has shown her worth with big performances in both the FAWSL and the Champions League. Early in the season, her goals in both the semi-final and the final of the FA Cup helped secure the trophy for Man City. 

Coming off of the FIFA Women’s World Cup win, a win which Mewis was integral to, she played in eight out of nine matches for the USWNT in 2020. Her performances in these 8 matches led to her being named the U.S Soccer Female Player of the Year for 2020. Her great form continued in 2021 with her first ever hat trick in a win against Columbia.

Mewis’ Manchester City are currently second in the league, with a possible title decider coming up against Chelsea on April 25th. The club have also made it through to the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League. They’re currently down 0-3 to Barcelona after the first leg on March 24th. City have to hope that Mewis is in top form if they have any chance of a comeback. 

For the USWNT, the next major tournament is the upcoming Olympics, and barring any injuries, Mewis will likely be one of the first on Vlatko Andonovski’s list. 

Should Mewis continue her fantastic performances (there is no current evidence to suggest she’s slowing down) and add some more trophies to her collection, the “best in the world” title could become glued to her name. 

Caitlin Clark stuns in surprise SNL appearance

(Julia Hansen/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Caitlin Clark made a surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend, which quickly went viral.

The Iowa star showed up on the show’s Weekend Update segment to playfully call out Michael Che’s history of making jabs at women’s sports. It started when Che joked that Iowa should replace Clark’s retired No. 22 “with an apron.” 

When Clark entered, Che said that he was a fan. But Clark wasn’t convinced – especially not when co-host Colin Jost brought the receipts of Che’s jabs.

“Really, Michael? Because I heard that little apron joke you did,” she said, before making him read some jokes of her own in retaliation and shouting out the WNBA greats that came before her. She then got in one final dig – bringing him a signed apron as a souvenir. 

When Che promised to give it to his girlfriend, Clark delivered her best line of the night.

“You don’t have a girlfriend, Michael,” she said.

Afterward, SNL castmember Bowen Yang told People that the 22-year-old and teammates Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin and Jada Gyamfi – who joined her at Studio 8H – “were so cool.”

“She's so charming and witty,” Yang said. “They were just the most stunning, noble people.

“Athletes just have this air about them. They know they're amazing. I mean, these are people who have numeric attachments and values to their performance. That's something that comedians never have.”

Portland Thorns start NWSL season winless, in uncharted territory

Portland has started the season winless through four games for the first time. (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)

The Portland Thorns continue to struggle to start the season, falling 2-0 to the North Carolina Courage and remaining winless through its first four games. 

It’s uncharted territory for Portland, who has never started the NWSL regular season without a win in four games before. Following the loss, defender Becky Sauerbrunn voiced her frustrations with the start. 

“It’s hard to find a lot of encouraging things, but what I find encouraging is that people are frustrated,” she said. “People are pissed off that we’re not doing well. We care, and I think that’s really important.” 

She also added that while the team will reflect individually, “there’s going to be no finger pointing.”

“We’re going to look at ourselves and figure out what we should have done, or I should have done better,” she said. “There is a list of things that I could have done better, and I’m going to make sure I know every single thing and watch this game back.”

The Thorns currently sit at the bottom of the league table with just one point, having allowed 10 goals – tied for the worst in the league. They’ve yet to lead in a match. And as questions grow, answers need to be had from head coach Mike Norris. 

Norris is in his second year as head coach of the club after leading the team to a second-place finish in the regular season last year. When asked about the possibility of pressure growing after the unprecedented start, Norris said that the pressure has been there “from day one.”

“I cannot be driven by my day-to-day and the longer vision of the pressure of the job,” he said. “We’ve got a belief in how we want to play, how we operate. We’ve got to stick with the process of that. While we do it, we have to review and see what is working, what’s not working.

“I’ll be showing up for the team and being there for what they need from me as we approach getting back together as a group next week.”

Maria Sanchez reportedly requests trade from Houston Dash

Mar 23, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Dash forward Maria Sanchez (7) warms up before the match between Racing Louisville and Houston Dash at Shell Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Maria Sanchez, who signed one of the biggest deals in NWSL history just four months ago, has reportedly requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

ESPN was the first to report the news, which was confirmed by multiple sources.

In a statement to ESPN, the team said: “​​Maria Sanchez is under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the Dash worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. At the time, it was the largest contract in NWSL history – something that was eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

The winger was a restricted free agent in the offseason, meaning that Houston could match any offer from another team and retain her rights. Should the team trade Sanchez, her contract would remain as it has been signed with the league. That limits the number of teams that could take on her contract. 

In three starts with the Dash this season, Sanchez has zero goals and an assist. The Dash are 1-2-1 through four games and have allowed a league-worst 10 goals.

The team hired a new coach, Fran Alonso, in December. Earlier this year, former goalkeeper coach Matt Lampson was fired for violating the league’s Coach Code of Conduct and Anti-Fraternization policy. 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close at midnight ET on Friday.

Canada beats U.S. Hockey 6-5 in thrilling World Championship win

UTICA, NEW YORK - APRIL 14: Team Canada raises the Championship Trophy after winning The Gold by defeating The United States in OT during the 2024 IIHF Women's World Championship Gold Medal game at Adirondack Bank Center on April 14, 2024 in Utica, New York. (Photo by Troy Parla/Getty Images)

Canada got its revenge on Sunday, winning the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship and taking down the U.S. in a 6-5 overtime classic.

Marie-Philip Poulin, a longtime star for Canada, got her first two goals of the tournament, while Danielle Serdachny had the game-winner. 

"I hate to say you're not trying to rely on it, expect it, but I know I've grown to expect it," Canada coach Troy Ryan said of Philip-Poulin. "Tonight was just a whole other level. I could see in her eyes every time we called her name that she was ready to go. It's just special."

The win came after Canada lost 1-0 to the U.S. in the group stage of the tournament. On Sunday, the two teams met for the 22nd time in 23 tournaments in the gold medal game – and the action between the two teams delivered. 

Among those scoring for the U.S. were Megan Keller, Alex Carpenter, Hilary Knight, Laila Edwards and Caroline Harvey. Julia Gosling, Emily Clark and Erin Ambrose had the other three goals for Canada, giving them their 13th World title after falling to the U.S. in last year’s title game in Toronto. 

This year’s game was held in New York, and it was the second-highest scoring final between the two teams. The U.S. won a world championship 7-5 in 2015. 

"Oh man, that feels good to win it on U.S. soil," Canada goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens said after the game. "We owed it to them and owed it to ourselves to win that one."

Canada also denied Knight a record 10th World Championship win, although she did become the most decorated player in women’s world championship history with 14 medals. After the game, Poulin gave Knight a hug on the ice. 

"We just said 'that was unbelievable,'" Poulin said.

U.S. coach John Wroblewski echoed the sentiment that it was an outstanding game after being asked about ending the game on a power-play after leaving too many players on the ice. 

"Instead of talking about the isolated events of tonight's game, I think that normally that's an interesting storyline,” he said. “But I think the entity of an amazing 6-5 game is an amazing hockey game that took place."

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