Beverly Yanez is Racing Louisville’s next head coach, having been elevated from her position as an assistant coach during the 2023 season.

Back in October, the club parted ways with head coach Kim Björkegren, announcing that he was returning home to Europe “to pursue other opportunities.” The 41-year-old from Sweden had joined the club in December 2021, with his contract set to expire this year.

Yanez joined the club as an assistant coach ahead of the 2023 season after two seasons with Gotham FC in the same role. She retired from professional soccer in February 2020, after a career that included stops with the Western New York Flash and OL Reign.

As an assistant coach, Yanez has received high praise from several Racing players, including Paige Monaghan, who joined Louisville from Gotham FC in free agency. Yanez helped bring in Monaghan, and the forward became a key part of the team’s attack this year, recording a career-high four goals and two assists.

“I was just blown away by her,” Monaghan said of Yanez. “She treats everyone so well and just cares so much about every single person: whether you play 90 minutes, whether you’re playing five minutes, whether you’re not rostered, whether you’re hurt.

“She brings the best out of every single player. So, I think Louisville hiring someone like that and bringing her in on staff says a lot about the direction.”

Racing Louisville joined the NWSL as an expansion team in 2021 and has yet to make the playoffs in three seasons, finishing in ninth place in 2022 and 2023. Yanez is the third head coach in the club’s history.

Manaka Matsukubo made history during the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup – in more ways than one.

Matsukubo, 19, a midfielder for the North Carolina Courage, became the youngest player to start in a game in the tournament. And then, on Saturday, after the Courage’s 2-0 win over Racing Louisville in the final, she was named Challenge Cup MVP.

After the game, Matsukubo was asked through a translator how she felt. But instead of waiting for the translation, Matsukubo beamed and offered her answer: “I’m so happy.” Her teammates erupted in joy around her.

The midfielder scored in the 54th minute of the final, icing the win after Kerolin found the back of the net in the 28th minute.

Matsukubo scored on an assist from teammate Tess Boade, who broke through the line and sent a through ball to Manaka. Manaka one-timed the reception and chipped the ball into the top right corner of the net, becoming the youngest player ever to score in the Challenge Cup.

The Courage acquired Matsukubo on loan from Mynavi Sendai of the Japanese WE League for a fee. She had scored four goals and added an assist during the 2022-23 WE League season.

“We are very excited to add another young talent to the team. Manaka is one of the young up and coming talents in world football. A player with a simple approach to the game and ability to unlock opposition through the thirds,” Courage head coach Sean Nahas said in a press release announcing her acquisition.

The group stage of the NWSL Challenge Cup is complete, and only four teams remain.

The two finalists will be determined Sept. 6, when the Kansas City Current play the North Carolina Courage and OL Reign face Racing Louisville in the semifinals.

Teams will ideally have their international players back from the World Cup for the Challenge Cup knockout rounds. The World Cup final takes place on Sunday, Aug. 20, two days after the NWSL regular season resumes and two and a half weeks before the Challenge Cup semifinals.

Here is a guide to the NWSL knockout games.

Kansas City Current vs. North Carolina Courage

Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)

Kansas City shut out Racing Louisville 3-0 in their final match in the group stage to clinch the Challenge Cup Central Division title for the second straight year, with a record of 4-1-1.

North Carolina, meanwhile, won the East Division with a 3-1-2 record despite falling to Gotham FC 2-0 in their final match of group play.

OL Reign vs. Racing Louisville FC

Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)

The Reign became the first team in tournament history to not allow a single goal in group play. The team went 4-0-2 in the group stage to win the West Division.

Louisville secured the most points (12) among second-place finishing teams in the group stage, finishing 4-2.

Challenge Cup Final

Sept. 9 at 12:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

The winners of each semifinal game will meet in the championship three days later. The Courage are the reigning Challenge Cup champions, while the other semifinalists have never before hoisted the trophy.