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NWSL, USL try to plan for eventual returns to play, and more: Freedom Kicks for 5/1/2020

Scheduling, Gresselmania, and CONCACAF playing at an amusement park

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Nikita Taparia

Good morning! I was going to make eggs, but I’ve only got one lonely egg left. This Friday is off to a roaring start. I’m tempted to throw a tantrum and just go back to bed until the situation resolves itself somehow, but instead I think I’ll just eat something else.

Let’s get to something that doesn’t require such difficult choices. D.C. United’s series of at-home workouts has been posted in full, with today being day 3. That means a core workout with Julian Gressel.

Speaking of Gresselmania, his second podcast is out today, and it includes Yamil Asad doing an interview in English for the first time, which is very cool:

Five-a-Side: Brillant’s French Team |
Frederic Brillant mostly went with guys who starred on the 1998 World Cup-winning side, which is hard to argue with, and then had the luxury of adding in Kylian Mbappe.

NWSL tells players to return, aims to reopen camps May 16 | Washington Post
Color me skeptical about whether this plan actually ends up being what happens, but the situation with every league is that players should plan on returning in accordance with whatever the last official moratorium end date is. For NWSL, the latest suspensions of all training and play due to coronavirus ends May 15.

There is a note in here about possibly clustering the league in the DMV early on, but given that the District, Maryland, and Virginia have all leaned towards a longer timeline in terms of stay-at-home orders, I think we’re still a long way away from anything like that. But who knows! We’re all still trying to sort out a completely unprecedented situation. We could end up seeing the Washington Spirit get something akin to home field advantage here, or we could see teams playing closed-door matches at local colleges, or we could end up delayed until August.

USL Extends Suspension for Championship, League One, Calls Off League Two Season | Sports Illustrated
USL League Two may have regional tournaments sometime later this year, but they’re not going to have an official season. The higher levels of USL are still barred from training until May 15, and Brian Straus has a note about a possible plan to play the U.S. Open Cup later in the fall (which, given how many games the leagues will want to fit into a very condensed timeline, seems pretty iffy at this point).

United Soccer League Provides Update on 2020 Seasons |
Here’s the official announcement from the USL.

We all live here. The Neighborhood Kit | Southside Trap
The Chicago Red Stars once again did a marvelous job with a new kit, both in terms of aesthetics and getting the details right.

20 years ago, Hershey had its shining moment in the international soccer spotlight | The Brotherly Game
In something that would never happen now, CONCACAF held its Olympic qualifying tournament in Hershey, PA. Did you know that Hershey Park has a stadium? Well, it does, and it hosted Ben Olsen, Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, and everyone that played in the tournament that year.

I remember wanting to go to this, but it was senior year of high school, and I wasn’t allowed to drive that far yet.

Here’s some very good news:

That’s John Harkes’ father-in-law, and Ian Harkes’ grandfather, getting released from the hospital after a long battle with Covid-19. We strongly approve.

‘Wild joy’: An oral history of Landon Donovan’s dramatic, World Cup-saving goal | The Athletic
I watched this game at home, alone, because I felt like the emotional stakes were too high to be out in public. I spent the last 10 minutes of the game pacing around and muttering, trying to convince myself that the USMNT was going to get a goal, that Algeria’s bizarre effort to play for a 0-0 in a game they also had to win would not be rewarded, that we wouldn’t have to stew over Maurice Edu’s goal being wrongly called back against Slovenia forever. When Donovan finished off this counter in stoppage time, I’m pretty sure I ran from the living room, did a lap in the kitchen, and then very sure that I hyperventilated for the only time in my life back in front of the TV.

United Soccer League Announces USL eCup: FIFA20 Edition |
Loudoun United will have 2 players and a member of the Loudoun Stampede representing them in this fairly sprawling FIFA tournament.

Meet Lionell Thompson, the boxer who has seen ‘The Equalizer’ almost 2,000 times | The Athletic
I’m saying this as someone who suffers badly from a tendency to watch a movie I liked rather than put on something new: This is too many times to watch a movie!

Alright, I’m done. Enjoy your Friday, and make sure you have enough eggs.