Go home, 2020. You’re drunk.

As if this season hasn’t been weird enough, how about this:

“With uncertainty surrounding the future of Utah Royals FC, there is a potential new ownership group ready to step in — but they’re not in Utah. According to multiple sources, a bid is in the works to bring the team back to Kansas City, led by Angie and Chris Long.”

Meg Linehan and Paul Tenorio, The Athletic, 11/24/20

I hate to even think of what a mess this might be, between Utah’s loss and the struggle to find a venue, given that Sporting KC has been utterly unhelpful.

The Linehan/Tenorio piece offers their three-option speculation on how this might go:

  1. A savior might descend on the Wasatch Front and buy the club. This might be complicated if the buyer ONLY wants the Royals, because they will have to negotiate with whoever picks up “Utah Soccer Holdings” that owns Rio Tinto.
  2. The Longs could fly the club back to Kansas City before the players report February 1, 2021. That’s less than 70 days away. Or…
  3. The Royals might fold. There would need to be a dispersal draft in addition to whatever form the NCAA draft takes between now and February

Note that the authors do NOT postulate the league taking over the club, which is, sadly, entirely in line with the financials. The NWSL simply doesn’t have the pockets to run the club itself compared to MLS, which is contemplating taking over RSL if needs must.

Another potential issue is what happens if Hansen suddenly decides not to sell and forces the leagues to either accept him as-is, or force him out.

I know I keep harping on this, but to understand the NWSL you have to understand the WPS, because a lot of the people involved in the former are veterans of the latter, and the word “Borislow” causes a lot of fear and trembling among them. The possibility of another sort of legal fight that wrecked the WPS is going to keep some of them awake a long, long time.

Every time I keep thinking this damn year has stopped being horrific it grins “Here. Hold my non-alcoholic beer…”

Let’s hope for the best. This year, and this team, could use some good luck.

I’ve got to think for a bit, but we should reconvene here some time in December to ponder the past and look towards the future. Thoughts on topics to discuss?

John Lawes
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6 thoughts on “Go home, 2020. You’re drunk.

  1. Please just talk about the Thorns! Whatever floats yr boat – I am so thirsty for Thorns coverage. Some random thoughts of mine:
    1) should we have traded Purse for Rocky? Was it worth it?
    2) could we have saved Heath? What will happen there? Should we hate RSL for it?
    3) the RSL draft & related news (e.g., Drafted & Shafted article, shock of English coaches) highlights how nasty the NWSL can be to players. Can anything be done to protect them & give them rights?
    4) what will our lineup look like next year?
    5) tell us about Kuikka & why we selected her when we did.
    6) if there’s a Utah dispersal draft (hope not), who should we choose?
    7) think we’ll get any big international names next year?
    8) why do some players, e.g., Foord & Ononomu, flail as Thorns but succeed elsewhere?
    9) any thoughts on or news about college draft?
    10) Foord’s rights to RSL? WTF? If there’s any chance she’s returning to NWSL is there maybe a chance Raso will return (O! Oi! Oi!) ?

    1. Good list. Ditto on “thirsty for Thorns coverage.” Even the slightest tidbit can be the seed for a conversation.
      I think the scoreboard abbreviation for Racing is LOU.

      11) 2021 season framework: how will the longer season affect the number of internationals playing in NWSL? Is the Australian commute over?
      12) Is the Challenge Cup here to stay? Playoffs at both ends of the season? Timing to showcase younger players?
      13) When and how will we be back in the stands? Vaccination certificates required for admission?
      14) Covid-19 among the players? How is Lindsey?
      15) A CBA for the league players? Salary cap increase? Working condition standards and other labor issues?

    2. Roses: All good thoughts, and I’ll take some time over the holiday to think and write about them.

      I will tell you that I have no real idea what our starting XI will look like in April other than “probably some variation of what we saw in September”, but that glosses over a lot, so there might not be much on your #4.

      As far as the Australians go (and this covers Constant Weeder’s question, too…) my impression is that the Australian federation wants them playing in Europe. Which is not to say that it’s going to be impossible to see their players here, but that it’s going to be increasingly unlikely.

      And, about the Matildas but also about players just in general…one thing we should keep in mind is that while we think of these teams in terms of affection or lack of same, for the players these teams are jobs. It’s not nearly so much about “I love this team SOOOOOO much…” as “This is a great place to work…”, “This organization did a lot (or didn’t) for me…”, “That looks like a place I can do well.” They can no more be sentimental about their job than we can about ours; they need to find a place where they can do well and be seen to do well.

      So a player who was well liked here, while she is likely to have generally positive feelings about that, has a lot of other things to think about before deciding where she’s going to sign, and from our position as fans it can be hard for us to see all those things.

      So does Raso, say, really want to play here again? I haven’t the slightest idea, but she obviously didn’t when she jumped to Everton. I can see things changing so she ends up wanting to come back here…but I can also see them changing so it makes it less likely that she would want to return. Just because we loved her doesn’t mean she loves us back enough to disregard other, possibly more career-critical, issues.

      But more after the holiday.

  2. Re Utah, wouldn’t it make more sense, if it ends up they have to move, to simply hold off until then end of the coming season, then transfer their roster to Angel City, as opposed to having a dispersal draft followed by an expansion draft? Angel City might not like that option, but perhaps the league’s shadow government can step in again to force a move to LA for one or more of Morgan, Press, Heath or others who step up to demand playing in SoCal? Overall, that’d achieve the inevitable without affecting the entire league’s rosters.
    Otherwise, if Sacramento enters the league in 2023, then there’d be expansion drafts for three years in a row.!

  3. Thinking about our players that are gone and the possibility of them coming back. I would love to have Raso, Carpenter, Nadim, and Henry back. I loved Foord, but she didn’t do well here for whatever reason. But with seven games in the WSL, she has something like four goals and five assists. So she seems to have found a team and a league she thrives in.
    Raso is also doing really well in the WSL. She has found it more technical and more physical, but less athletic. I interpret that to mean, the WSL is rougher and slower (her speed is even more obvious than it was in the NWSL). Kerr also found the play rougher. Maybe that is why Mewis, a very physical player, is thriving and LaVelle is having a harder time.
    I just watched a replay of the PSG-Lyon game and unfortunately Nadim didn’t play, but Ellie did and she really held her own. Maybe Nadia was worn out she had scored seven goals in a previous game. Carpenter is noticeably faster than a lot of the players, but for some strange reason they weren’t finding her on offense. Bouhadi always seems to send the ball left.
    Henry, as usual, is great to watch, but I really can’t see her coming back and based on her play in that game her being left off the French National team should qualify as a reason to sack the coach.
    Lyon and PSG are really a couple of great teams and PSG seemed the better team in this one, but I wouldn’t bet against Lyon in the next game. Also, Endler(PSG) is a stud, she is a very good goal keeper!
    Like everybody else I don’t expect Tobin back, I think she has other priorities. She looked great against Man City and she seems fast in WSL which, again suggests, the players are a little slower. She picked off a bad pass from Lucy Bronze and scored the only goal.
    Here is hoping the vaccine roll-out is quick and effective and by April the players can be back on the field and then we can talk more about the players we have. I am really curious about Kuikka. I haven’t seen her play and all I know is she looks very sturdy. The ones I have seen make me feel like the Thorns should be a favorite this year.


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