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Washington Spirit kit drop, NWSL Challenge Cup, and Liverpool wins the Premier League: Freedom Kicks for 6/26/2020

The new shirt arrives just in time for the Spirit’s 2020 debut

Courtesy of Washington Spirit

Good morning! Yesterday was about six days for me, because we’re getting closer and closer to actual soccer to cover. That meant recording two podcasts, jumping on a conference call, hammering away at a massive preview of the Washington Spirit’s preliminary round opponents, doing other prep for covering the Challenge Cup, and we got a kit drop to talk about on top of all of that. Somewhere in there, I managed to go to the grocery store? It feels fake though, like there wasn’t enough time for that to have happened.

Today’s gonna be pretty much the same thing, so let’s get rolling right now! D.C. United’s Critical Conversations series continued yesterday with this look at gender and sexual orientation that includes some familiar faces. I’m glad to see the team continuing to have these discussions. Listen in right here:

Who’s the greatest MLS team of all-time? Extratime poll will help to decide |
The voters biffed it, but given the huge recency bias around MLS these days, I’m glad the 1998 version of United got this far in Extratime’s bracket. For a lot of fans around the league, and even for newer fans here, it’s a history lesson.

Washington Spirit release new kit for 2020 | Black and Red United
The Spirit did, in fact, drop their new home kit (and announce CVS Health as their main jersey sponsor) yesterday. I think as a complete kit it’s very good, with the red shorts setting it off, and the jersey itself is growing on me every time I give it another look.

Washington Spirit unveil new 2020 Home Kit |
More on the thoughts behind the new kit, as well as info on how to get one for yourself.

NWSL Challenge Cup opens this weekend, making women’s soccer first U.S. team sport back | Washington Post
Steve Goff got some quotes from Richie Burke and Tori Huster as part of his preview of the Challenge Cup as a whole.

The Spirit Squadron is in a friendly competition with supporters groups around NWSL to raise money for a great cause:

Literally the first thing I’m doing when I get up this probably brushing my teeth. But after that, I’ll be getting the first episode of Plex Weather (a brand new Spirit podcast by me and Kim McCauley) uploaded to our hosting service. Hope y’all enjoy it! And yell at me if it gets to be the afternoon and it’s not out yet! (Update: it’s out!)

NWSL Challenge Cup Power Rankings: Why every team in Utah is chasing North Carolina Courage | CBS Sports
CBS has the broadcast rights for the Challenge Cup, and they’re building out their content beyond just showing some games.

Need more woso? Kim’s been even busier than I am, taking charge of All For XI’s new newsletter:

Yesterday’s kit drops weren’t limited to the Spirit. Sky Blue FC went with a black/neon blue combo with a bold lightning pattern for their new home uniform:

OL Reign, meanwhile, unsurprisingly revealed that their 2020 kits are both very similar to Olympique Lyon’s kits:

The white with red trim is the home, and the blue on blue is the away.

Australia and New Zealand will host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup | All For XI
The overwhelming favorites to host the 2023 World Cup were hit with some last-minute intrigue that actually had plenty of people thinking that maybe Colombia had pulled off a big upset, but in the end the USWNT will (assuming they qualify, and that society as a whole doesn’t collapse) be defending their title in Australia and New Zealand. Better start socking away money now, because a) it’s gonna be great, and b) it’s gonna cost a mint to get down there and back.

Inter Miami CF Signs Versatile Veteran Brek Shea |
The MLS is Back Tournament is weird as hell, so of course Brek Shea is going to participate. It couldn’t be any other way.

Official: Liverpool Are Your 2019-20 Premier League Champions | Liverpool Offside
Congrats to all you Liverpool fans out there. Chelsea’s win over Man City (which involved another Christian Pulisic goal) was enough to seal the title for the Reds.

Allie Long spent lockdown becoming a celebrity gamer | Associated Press
As the cursed creator of the NWSL Most Online Player award, I’m duty bound to share this piece about Allie Long’s emergence as a Twitch gamer. I think last year’s defending champ Yuki Nagasato has built a strong lead this year, but Long is a perennially underrated poster who is expanding her repertoire.

After three years, a month and a day, Bruno Soriano is a footballer again | The Guardian
I’ll wrap up with this outstanding piece from Sid Lowe on Villarreal midfielder Bruno Soriano, who due to injury went over 1,000 days between appearances for the only club he’s ever played for.

Alright, that’s plenty for today. We have a game to cover tomorrow!