Anson Dorrance on an extraordinary Women's World Cup, the 'iconic' Megan Rapinoe, and the case for college soccer

The USA's championship in France marked its fourth Women's World Cup title since the Anson Dorrance-coached U.S. team won the inaugural tournament in 1991. As always, the U.S. team included several alums from Dorrance's University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

Five members of the USA's 2019 World Cup squad played for Anson Dorrance at UNC -- Crystal Dunn, Ashlyn Harris, Tobin Heath, Allie Long, Jessica McDonald -- as did England's Lucy Bronze, New Zealand's Katie Bowen, and Netherlands’ coach Sarina Wiegman. (Photos by Jeffrey A. Camarati courtesy of UNC SID)

SOCCER AMERICA: Your overall impression of the 2019 Women’s World Cup?

ANSON DORRANCE: It was absolutely extraordinary. I've obviously watched them all, and in my opinion this was the best World Cup from every perspective of any World Cup that I've ever watched. I absolutely loved it.

Not just because we won, but because so many things are getting better.

SA: Such as?

ANSON DORRANCE: Everything was done so well, from the game coverage to the overall coverage and the investment Fox made. The quality of people they hired to do the color commentating and play-by-play -- but also the Rob Stone, Alexi Lalas, Heather O'Reilly group. They were absolutely fantastic.

And the amount of great conversation that was developed in those platforms. I had the chance, because obviously I'm not working as much in the summer, to watch almost every second. Not just of every game, but also the coverage. And the Fox coverage was just remarkable. And all the different things that spun off it.

SA: Before we get to the USA’s performance, what did you find remarkable about the competition?

ANSON DORRANCE: This World Cup was the emergence of Europe. Right now, it's Europe and the United States because Europe has eclipsed Asia, eclipsed South America, and it's not just like one or two teams in Europe. A whole group has moved ahead.

And that's a credit to the infrastructure, leadership, investment and commitment of all the different bodies in those countries who decided to make their women's soccer teams more of a priority. And that will be a wonderful message for Asia and Africa and South America to look up and say, you know what, maybe we need to make a comparable investment.

SA: What about the overall level of play?

ANSON DORRANCE: There was also a jump in the level of the game itself.

That run that the U.S. team went on to go through those collection of very good teams was formidable. Obviously, it starts out with a relatively soft group with Thailand and Chile. But the run from beating Sweden, to beating Spain, to beating France, to beating England, and winning the whole thing against Holland, that was an extraordinary crucible of games.

I think in every respect, the players, the coaching staff, everyone associated with the U.S. women's national team should be given full credit. Because that was a blistering and difficult run for them to make.

I think Jill Ellis pushed all the right buttons, made all the right decisions, and she should get full credit.

The other thing I absolutely loved was the emergence of Megan Rapinoe as an iconic figure.

SA: Megan Rapinoe won the Golden Ball (MVP) and Golden Boot (leading scorer) …

ANSON DORRANCE: I think she joins the very small group of iconic players – from Mia Hamm back in the day to Brandi Chastain and her iconic moment in 1999 – in galvanizing the women's game at the highest level. And not just for her playing performance.

In fact, I would say even more for the way she governed the press conference, and the things she said, and the way she said it. And the things she talked about were extraordinary, done in the right way, a perfect balance, a little bit of bite and a lot of humor. And she was magnificent.

I think you could design a communication course at a university all around Megan Rapinoe at this World Cup. She did so many things so well, including obviously her social justice platform, which was expressed in the most positive way.

One of my favorite quotes of the event was when she said, “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team. It’s never been done before, ever. That’s science, right there.”

And she's doing it with a smile on her face, causing everyone in the room to laugh.

Because you know what she's doing? She's calling us all on the carpet for not embracing the culture that she's a part of and who she is. But she's doing it with the right spirit, with no ire or condescension -- but with pride. And she did it in a wonderful way. She was joyful while she was sharing all this.

And for those of us who sit in academic environments and have to address ivory tower issues about the value of athletics -- oh my gosh is she a champion now for it. She's established athletics as something extraordinarily valuable for the culture of girls and women. Because she's emerged from her athletic experience with this amazing confidence and joy of life, well-spoken and very expressive about the value of women athletics.

And her soccer … Oh my gosh, did Rapinoe step up under pressure.

SA: What does the USA winning two straight World Cups and four out of the eight mean for you?

ANSON DORRANCE: The United States women's national team has to be written about right now as dynastic because this is hard to do.

The other thing that's cool, is this is the world's game that we're dominating, and that's an additional statement. I think it’s a statement certainly about the liberation of women in the United States. I think it's a very positive statement about Title IX. I think it's an incredible statement about the wonderful things that athletics can do when we give our girls and young women a chance to participate.

SA: We’ve been hearing for a long time that the rest of the world is catching up to the USA in women’s soccer. But I thought the USA was significantly better than the competition in France. Even in the final, it never looked like the Dutch had much of a chance and I also thought U.S. players were generally better technically. What do you think?

ANSON DORRANCE: I think you're absolutely correct. When we talk about the rest of the world catching up, I don't think we address enough that we're also getting better, and we are.

The thing that was most impressive about our team is our depth. You couldn't take any other team in that World Cup, have them lose their best player, and not miss them in the least. How can you lose your Golden Ball, Golden Boot player and not miss a beat when Christen Press replaced Rapinoe?

Not only was our first team extraordinary but the people off bench were pretty extraordinary too. It’s not just the first team that was good and effective and competitive and technical and tactical – and of course ruthless in the attacking third -- it was the players on the entire roster.

So for me it was a validation that, yeah, the rest of the world is getting better, but guess what, we're not sitting on our palms. We're getting better too. We are better technically than where we were even after the 2015 championship. We are better tactically than when we were as 2015 champions.

Yes, the world is getting better, but we're getting better as well.

SA: Going to something we touched on in our pre-World Cup interview: U.S. Soccer steering girls and women’s soccer in the USA toward a European model. Being the best women’s soccer nation in the world for so long, it seems odd that our Federation is looking abroad for a model.

ANSON DORRANCE: I've always said the men's game is the university for the women's game and I still believe that. But I still think the platforms we have for women's development are still going to be a little bit different than the men's-slash-European model.

What we all have to accept is that there a thousand ways we can continue to improve. Let's never lose sight of that. Let's never develop an arrogance that what we're doing is always going to be absolutely the best. But you're right, right now, when you look at the record, it has been the best.

Yes, let's continue looking for ways to make us better. Yes, the Europeans have huge edge when a 16-year-old girl can now play in a professional environment with the top players in the Champions League in England or in the top divisions in Sweden or Germany and in Spain. Yes, in Italy we can certainly see their huge improvement.

There are advantages in that. But let's not lose sight of our own advantages. Let's figure out solutions to help our 16-year-old girls play up. Because right now we have so many rules preventing girls from playing up or playing with or against boys at that level. So let's solve these problems in our own way, let's not completely jump yet to that European model until it demonstrates it completely destroys us. Because as of right now, you and I both agree it hasn't.

And I don't want us to lose what the collegiate platform gives us.

SA: What did you see at this World Cup that demonstrated the attributes of the American college game?

ANSON DORRANCE: When England played the Swedes, its starting center back had to sit out because of a double-yellow suspension.

So, they had to bring in another center back. What was interesting, even a very good team like England, that has a fantastic pro league in the Women’s Super League, when they sub, it was like falling off the edge of a cliff in terms of the quality between some of their first-line players and their second. That shows the enormous differences and what’s so good about the American model.

What's really good about the American model is the number of kids who are fighting to play in college and get college scholarships, and the quality of so many college coaches, and the quality of their facilities and support systems.

Obviously, the support system thing I'm more conscious of now because more of my kids are coming back now and telling me horror stories, that God forbid if they injured in a foreign country. The treatment they get is nowhere near the treatment they got at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Of course, sometimes we take for granted the infrastructure that surrounds our wonderful universities, like our facilities, but also like our sports medicine departments and our trainers and orthopedic surgeons and the whole structure around trying to keep our girls healthy and playing.

SA: For whatever growth there may be in women’s pro soccer, it’s very hard for me to imagine an American system that doesn’t need to be complemented by the college game …

ANSON DORRANCE: Let's not throw away the most positive parts of our system right now. Are there things that we can do that we can steal from Europe and the men's model, to make us even better? Yes, there are. But let's not throw away what we have. And what we have are 320 Division I teams with, in effect, professional coaches. They do this for a living. They're continuing to study and work on their craft and getting better and better.

If you multiply that by 30, you can see the extraordinary number of players we’re training on a consistent level from the ages of 17 to 22, who now have an opportunity with this background and training and very good competitive level to now jump into a league [NWSL] that's very good top to bottom relative to [foreign pro] leagues. Because most leagues, the teams at the top are extraordinary and the teams at the bottom they beat like a drum. That's not the case in the NWSL. Across the board, the NWSL is a much more competitive league, top to bottom.

I want to give Sunil Gulati full credit for that. I don't want us to forget that after two failed leagues he came up with a model that made all the difference in the world and that has helped our players. I think Sunil Gulati has his fingerprints all over that world championship. So, we have to give credit to our soccer leadership and we should certainly give him credit.

SA: In my interview with Mirelle van Rijbroek, U.S. Soccer's Director of Talent Identification-Girls, in which she said, “to play and compete on the elite international level the college program is not enough anymore,” she cited the collegiate season as being too short, with too many games.

ANSON DORRANCE: Her criticism is a legitimate one. That's why the men are fighting for a [split] fall and spring season, and why the women have to jump in with the men and we have to convince our college leadership to have that as a model. And I think that will correct one of the issues and points that she made that I thought were excellent.

But even with this hybrid, this not entirely positive model of the collegiate level, it's shocking how many elite players we prepare who are sent into the national team and are ready to play at an international level.

We can go through the history of all these great players, who while they were playing in college, were also playing for the United States winning gold medals, winning world championships. Let's not throw away that model yet.

Let's make it an even better model and add some additional pieces.

SA: The detractors of the women’s college game continually cite the limits of the “three-month season.” But elite women’s college players don’t just play three months of soccer, do they?

ANSON DORRANCE: No, but that's the straw man that someone will set up when they're trying to basically criticize the collegiate platform.

Our kids play year-round. We have a fall season, which obviously is packed with games, but we also have a spring season.

Heck, this last spring season, we tied the Washington Spirit. So how bad can our spring be when a college team drives up to Northern Virginia and ties the Washington Spirit, which is in the top half of the NWSL standings?

The spring season for me is a wonderful season. Do we have as many games in the spring as in the fall season? No, but you cannot completely dismiss what we do in the spring. In my opinion, our kids improve the most technically and tactically in the spring because that's all we work on. We don't have that many matches, so we're not always tapering into games.

The spring season is legitimate player development. A practice environment where you get maximum touches with wonderful ideas on what we’re going to do to improve technically and, also tactically.

So let’s not dismiss even the current model, which is not a perfect model, because we work very hard to make sure our winter and spring is a very effective player development model. Ask these pro teams we play against. We scrimmage the Carolina Courage, the team that beat Lyon.

The college season format is not ideal, but it’s more than a three-month season.

SA: And the very elite college players also spend time in U-20, U-23 and women’s national team camps, and play international games, right?

ANSON DORRANCE: Correct. And in the summer, you're allowed five kids on a professional roster, so what we do with our five best players is they train with the Courage. And if one of our kids is near the Washington Spirit, she trains with the Spirit.

SA: Do you have an example of a piece that would be beneficial to add to the American soccer model?

ANSON DORRANCE: The piece I would like to add immediately is futsal. The United States is built for futsal. Every elementary school, every middle school, every high school has a gymnasium.

I'm working a soccer team camp, and I'm out there this morning, looking at this team scrimmaging. I think holy cow do they have an amazing polish. I walked over to the coach. I was really impressed. What are you doing in training? And he described all the different things he's doing. And he says, by the way, we have a volunteer day on Monday where they play pickup futsal after a little technical work. And I say, that’s it.

And I'm seeing so many of my top recruits right now with a futsal background.

So there are additional things we can add to an already very good player development model, and I think futsal is another piece we should adopt. And the facilities have already been built. Not just the gymnasiums. The tennis court is another wonderful futsal facility and there are empty tennis courts all over this country where you could develop a futsal environment.

All of us should have a combination 11-v-11 plus futsal model for our youth, but we have always done it in college.

Ask Mia. Ask Kristine Lilly. Ask Cindy Parlow. They all played futsal with us basically all winter and spring and I think it’s fabulous piece we can add to our landscape to stay on top of the world.

SA: Back to the World Cup, anything else significant about the USA’s success?

ANSON DORRANCE: The U.S. support system around their team is so professional and the quality of people is so extraordinary. People like Dawn Scott, a hidden name around the U.S. national team structure. There's an absolutely brilliant woman who works behind the scenes, will never really get any fame for the service she does, but ask the players about her. She's doing their fitness platform. She's helping them come back from injury.

Another thing I saw, and obviously you'd have to be in the inner circle to get a better description of this, because I'm trying to look at this through the screen and watching the reaction of the players. But the chemistry was amazing. They did play for each other. It's clear they loved each other. And it was clear they supported each other. As all of us know, that's another very important alchemy if you want to have a successful run.

46 comments about "Anson Dorrance on an extraordinary Women's World Cup, the 'iconic' Megan Rapinoe, and the case for college soccer".
  1. Randy Vogt, July 15, 2019 at 9:20 a.m.

    Mike, another excellent interview. I would like to disagree with Anson Dorrance on just one point and it's regarding Megan Rapinoe. If any college communicaton course is designed around her, I hope that it points out that when you curse, whether you are male or female, you are going to lose people like myself who find cursing to be offensive. She cursed on more than one occasion and you express yourself much better without resorting to cursing. 

  2. Alan Blackledge replied, July 15, 2019 at 10:46 a.m.

    Totally agree Randy, BIG trunoff for me when the F-word is needed to express yourself...

  3. Ginger Peeler replied, July 15, 2019 at 12:58 p.m.

    Randy and Alan...back in the 70s, my stepmother-in-law, who was a teacher, said swearing was something the lazy and poorly educated resorted to because they didn’t have the vocabulary to properly express themselves. When I was growing up, men did not swear in the presence of women. Or they apologized profoundly if they uttered an offensive word in “mixed company”. 
    Almost 50 years later, our culture has changed drastically and now you hear expletives even as you’re walking in a hallway at your local mall. Or if a group has gotten together for a meeting of some sort, many younger men in their 20s and early 30s pop off four letter words without hesitation. And, sometimes (not as often) young women do, too. The problem, for us, you and I, is that we find swearing to be offensive or embarrassing.  Yet, most of the young people around us think it’s no big deal. I’ve noticed that they use those words so often in everyday conversation, that they tend to slip out even when the kids are trying to censor themselves. However, just because Rapinoe is guilty of swearing in public, surely that doesn’t negate the powerful point of the message she was espousing? That’s the equivalent of throwing the baby out with the bath water. 

  4. Randy Vogt replied, July 15, 2019 at 1:24 p.m.

    Ginger, my answer would be cursing certainly detracts her message as it's a huge turn-off for myself and others. Players cannot do it on the field, especially toward the ref or an opponent as they should be sent off. So please express yourself without resorting to cursing.

  5. Alan Blackledge replied, July 15, 2019 at 1:35 p.m.

    Ginger, again, agree with Randy...imagine how much more powerful her message could have a coach and teacher I don't accept this language from my students or players (at practice and games, and they would miss the next game if caught at practice or sent off during a game) and believe your stepmother-in-law and my parents had it right...

  6. Peter Bechtold replied, July 15, 2019 at 4:22 p.m.

    Agree with questions about M.R.being "iconic" according to Anson Dorrance. She certainly has been the most hyped figure in the American media and I wonder why ? Yes, she won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball, but I would have to add an asterix to both. The majority of goals were penalties and one questionable free-kick followed by a laughable howler from the French keeper.
    This does not distract from her soccer ability,but was she really the best player in France ? For me, she was not even the best player on the US team. (I would have put J.Ertz, A.Morgan, and Rose Lavelle higher, inter al.,FWIW).
    But A> Dorrance singled out her comments about "gays being necessary for every championship; it's science" as her most worthy comment. Really ?? What agenda is being pushed here, among all the other actually worthwhile comments she made?
    I have followed MR since she played in my hometown Portland, and she has been a good to very good player, but "iconic" ? Is this similar to Brandi Chastain who became famous for ripping off her jersey, when she was the last of 5 women to convert in 1999. The acclaim should have gone to our keeper who made the save that led to winning the cup.

  7. Ginger Peeler replied, July 15, 2019 at 5:16 p.m.

    Hey, guys, I’m on your side!  I watched the ticker tape parade and the giving of the keys to the city and the speeches live on tv. I was so pleased with Rapinoe right up to that last sentence. Then I was wondering if she really had just said what I thought I heard and that the tv failed to block.  I mentioned being embarrassed in my previous post?  Well, that was MY embarrassment for her getting all the way to the end of a really good speech and then throwing in an expletive, to top it off. If my stepmother was still alive, she would have said “that girl’s momma didn’t raise her right”. But, you KNOW there were lots of younger people out there thrusting fists in the air (yelling yeah!!!, or it’s equivalent) and celebrating ALL aspects of her speech. In our culture, Rapinoe was wrong while our younger folks see no fault whatsoever. 

  8. Bob Ashpole replied, July 15, 2019 at 5:38 p.m.

    I am not sure what you are referring to as cursing. The clips are now all censored, but if I recall she used a 4-letter Anglo-Saxon verb, that today is consider vulgar. Being vulgar is not swearing or cursing. In Victorian it was considered vulgar to menation body parts. Language is simply generally accepted conventions that constantly change.

  9. Ginger Peeler replied, July 15, 2019 at 5:57 p.m.

    Randy, I do have a question for you. When my daughter played in the early 80s, our coach told the iteam that the use of any expletives on the field would result in the offending player being red carded and sent off the field and being held out of the following week’s game. Yet, I have seen obvious expletives expressed by many men in many leagues and on many teams over the years. You don’t have to be a lip reader to recognize exactly what they’re yelling. But I’ve never seen ANY player, in all of those years, carded and sent off.  So, is it only condideref an offence when directed at the referee or opposing players? That certainly meshes with what Ive seen. Like, spitting on the field is okay but spitting on the opposition or the ref is an absolute no/no?

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, July 15, 2019 at 6:45 p.m.

    Just for the record spitting on a synthetic turf field is prohibitted. If not, it should be for public health reasons.

  11. Ginger Peeler replied, July 15, 2019 at 8:32 p.m.

    Eeewwww! Is that why the professional women’s games are assigned to the artificial turf fields? I mean, men spit constantly, as caught on tv, while I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a woman spit on the field, much less a woman blowing her nose without tissue. Women REQUIRE tissues!!! Men can be incredibly gross!!! So, do they steam clean the turf fields?

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, July 15, 2019 at 9:35 p.m.

    Spit is loaded with bacteria and synthetic fields provide an excellent environment for growth. Players who scrape their legs risk infections. Potentially it may spread to the ball and your hands too. Some places will spray an antiseptic but most places I have been they don't spend any money on maintenance at all.

  13. Randy Vogt replied, July 15, 2019 at 9:41 p.m.

    Ginger, the wording in the rulebook has changed through the years but the sentiment remains the same, should a player or coach use "offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures," that person receives a red card. So if a person curses at the ref or an opponent, it's a red card. Absolutely no exceptions to this whatsoever and it's what is accepted by the players and coaches too. Some will consider with the zero tolerance policy used in youth soccer that cursing at a teammate is also a sending-off offense rather than a caution. 

  14. R2 Dad, July 15, 2019 at 11:33 a.m.

    This guy gets more interviews than any other personality in US soccer outside of Garber!

    Would like to see a joint conversation with AD and NCAA president Mark Emmert to hear what's really going on with college sports in this country. From the little I know about NCAA rules, playing as a college team in the spring (11v11), and playing against professional teams isn't/wasn't allowed. What's changed? Maybe we can learn about that, since the NCAA is a black hole of silience.

    Also questioning the math here. If there are about 1000 D1 girls players, so roughly 250 new players each year, that translates to only 1% getting invited to full national camps, and 10% playing professionally. That looks like a system taking advantage of the scale of the country, not necessarily doing the best job developing players to be world-class. 

    Lastly, this: "let's not completely jump yet to that European model until it demonstrates it completely destroys us. " This is what someone from the status quo/USSF says when their monopoly is threatened. If we wait that long it will be too late. However, the real threat to the system comes from the top 5 in the class each year, who might decide to go to Spain or France instead of toiling in college soccer for their chance to get in line for the USWNT. You lose those top girls, the entire food chain blows up. AD's model is predicated on him getting 2 of those top 5 girls every year, so of course he doesn't want it to change.

    While the 2019 USWNT team is an improvement over 2015, the European countries have improved much more over those 4 years. How long before they overtake us? I'm thinking 8 years from now, 2027.

  15. Peter Bechtold replied, July 15, 2019 at 4:33 p.m.

    Re Anson Dorrance: After living & working in ACC country for over 3 decades I am aware of Anson Dorrance's amazing W-L record and his achievements in producing star players. In fact, I put him alongside John Wooden at UCLA BB in terms of winning championships, going undefeated, and having players seeking him out, not having to be recruited. So it was a good choice by SA to seek out his views; thanks.
    Yet I wonder if those views were not also colored by his understandable investments in UNC and their womens soccer programs. He was correct to point to Title IX as the single greatest factor that gave US women advantages that their opposites in other countries could not dream about. It was noteworthy when I learned that 20 of Canada's 23 WC players had played collegiately in the US under Title IX.

  16. Ginger Peeler, July 15, 2019 at 11:50 a.m.

    Uffe, where are you?  You’ve been preaching about having futsal facilities everywhere for YEARS in SoccerAmerica commentary sections!!!  Years!  And here’s Anson Dorrance pushing for the same thing! Some of us are listening. 

  17. Bob Ashpole replied, July 15, 2019 at 12:11 p.m.

    We don't need special futsal courts to play futsal. You can literally play anywhere safe, a street, a parking lot, a vacant lot, a basketball court or other facility, or just a patch of bare ground.

  18. Ginger Peeler replied, July 15, 2019 at 1:07 p.m.

    When I said futsal “facilities”, I meant any of the places that can be used to play on/in already in existence. 

  19. frank schoon replied, July 15, 2019 at 1:45 p.m.

    Bob, AMEN

  20. uffe gustafsson replied, July 15, 2019 at 5:41 p.m.

    Sorry you got the wrong guy.
    im not the one who copy and paste the futsal text.

  21. uffe gustafsson replied, July 15, 2019 at 6:31 p.m.

    Think his name is konstatine 

  22. Bob Ashpole, July 15, 2019 at 12:06 p.m.

    Good interview. Kudos for asking about the phoney "3-month-season" smear on college players.

    Regarding the broadcasts, it is a pretty low hurdle to do better than the past. I made it through the finals without once muting the sound. That is a first for me.

    He makes a couple of important points indirectly. USSF and the states has changed how women develop in a negative way. In the past our best players played with and against men and boys. Justifying travel time and expenses by saying it is necessary to find challenging competition is bunk if they are ignoring available male players. Also most people in the past, including me, played some futsal during the winter. It isn't just that it boosts foot skill development, especially touch and dribbling, but you learn to find space to play in the smallest spaces that you would not see if you only played outdoors. It gives you a different experience in moving on and off the ball. It changes how you think and what you value. The ability to put spin on the ball, put the right weight on a pass, and play with two feet is a greater advantage in exploiting the tighter spaces.

    No coincidence that the best prospects play against males and play futsal.  

  23. Ginger Peeler replied, July 15, 2019 at 1:15 p.m.

    Futsal also helps your one-on-one, two-on-one, etc development. 

  24. Dan Woog, July 15, 2019 at 12:28 p.m.

    Thanks, Mike, for an excellent interview. I appreciate Anson's wide-ranging insights into the game -- particularly about Megan R, and the many ways in which she is a role model. Anson continues to educate us all, with his broad, deep perspectives.

  25. Jack DiGiorgio, July 15, 2019 at 12:49 p.m.

    "Iconic" for Rapinoe is perfect for her arrogance and foul mouth. She has definitely pushed away people that started to like soccer and those that wanted to cheer for the USA team, but got turned off by her deplorable attidude, along with her is that other Ashlyn Harris - WOW what a nasty mouth she has shown to the world! There are much better ways to protest - whatever she is protesting, but I hope that the USSF and the government will not give in to her requests.

  26. Mike Lynch, July 15, 2019 at 12:51 p.m.

    Great interview Mike. Excellent observations and comments Anson.

  27. frank schoon, July 15, 2019 at 1:28 p.m.

    R2, you're right about the multi-interviews SA has with Dorrance.. The second most or close to it is Tab Ramos interviews. I would like to see SA get more interviews with MLS players, coaches like Frank de Boer...But instead we keep getting the same circle of people.
    As far as Rapinoe goes,her mouth and actions has caused less people watching the US women, create a dislike for the US women's team, all which was not necessary. I've talked to people who told me they wanted the US women the get their clocks cleaned just because of Rapinoe...The women's team should be all about soccer and the love for game. Rapinoe bringing up the gay issue perhaps  has, maybe a point with the gay women in soccer. I wonder if that could work with the US men's team who should openly recruite for gay guys, after all accordingly to Rapinhoe it works for the women, why not for the men........She is definitely insightful  :)

  28. uffe gustafsson replied, July 15, 2019 at 9:50 p.m.

    Frank I’m certain there are gay guys in men’s soccer, but unfortunately they don’t feel like they can come out in the open because they will be isolated and careers coming to a stop. Rapino just put that out to make sure that you know that gay people are intricate to the game and it’s succes.
    time for this issue come to halt and it’s something that should not be an issue anymore.
    gay or not it’s what you do on the pitch, not who you dating.

  29. Bill Riviere, July 15, 2019 at 1:52 p.m.

    Mike, kudos on an excellent interview!  I just don't agree with Dorrance's unbridled admiration for Rapinoe.  She uses her position on the USWNT to protest/further some personal beliefs that are out of line in that forum.  When you represent your country and have benefited from it so much, you need to demonstrate loyalty to it during the national anthems...totally disagree with using that moment to show disdain for our/her country.  Rise above it, Rapinoe, and you get my full respect, not just partial....

  30. Bob Ashpole, July 15, 2019 at 5:31 p.m.

    Using a word for shock value is a communication device. The impoliteness is emphasis. Same with deliberately using bad grammar. Breaking rules has its uses.

  31. Kent James replied, July 17, 2019 at 12:48 a.m.

    Yep.  Swearing has it's place, usually to express extreme feelings.  If it's done frequently, it loses all meaning.  But when someone who is not known for swearing does, it grabs attention.

  32. uffe gustafsson, July 15, 2019 at 5:35 p.m.

    One statement that he fwd was rapino said no trophy been won without a gay women been on the field.
    my first thought was yes you are correct and unfortunately that is not a statement on the men’s side. It’s a double standard we all fine with gay women playing but somehow it’s not something a gay men can come up and openly tell that he is gay.
    only a very few men and usually in their latter days of playing they come out. That’s unfortunately.

  33. James Madison, July 15, 2019 at 7:19 p.m.

    Mike bats 1,000 with his interviews.  That having been said, a comment on the main SA news included shocking (to me) gossip about AD.  On the comment front, Ginger is spot on in describing the difference in verbal usage between the current 20s and 30s and us older folks.  But Randy has it right about the need to edit out expletives in formal settings.  MR hit the top of the tree in New York when she spoke of the need to "love more and hate less; listen more and talk less."  

  34. Ben Myers, July 15, 2019 at 8:54 p.m.

    I'm all in on futsal, especially for inexpensive winter play.  Here in New England, all too many kids play indoor soccer in boarded hockey-like arenas, and it make my teeth curl.  Lately though, there have been a few operators of indoor facilities who have to good sense to offer boardless soccer play.  While not futsal, this is at least a step in the right direction.  But all these indoor operators are understandably in it for the money at a cost of $80 or $90 per player, plus referee payment in cash, for 6 or 7 games.  I would much rather rent a gym for a couple of hours, bring two sets of Pugg goals or similar, round up a bunch of kids and let them play pickup futsal.

  35. frank schoon replied, July 16, 2019 at 6:50 a.m.

    Exactly, Ben

  36. Kent James replied, July 17, 2019 at 12:57 a.m.

    In Western PA the weather is pretty lousy from Nov-Apr.  Artificial turf can extend the season maybe a few weeks (until the snows come), but indoor has grown by leaps and bounds.  Dasher boards on hockey size rinks were the first; better than nothing, but not ideal. Though a lot of fun and very demanding physically (my teams play 3 min shifts with ideally 2 people sharing a spot).  A few places have a 2/3 size field with no boards, and play 7 v 7, which is almost better than a regular outdoor game because you don't need subs (unlike dasher boards) but you get more touches on the ball and more time in front of goal (since the goals are closer).  Also allows older players to play with the young 'uns because the 40 yd run outdoor is only 20 yards indoors (and you can sub on the fly if you want...).  

    I agree that futsal is ideal as a complement to an outdoor season, but the problem around here is that Nov-Mar is the highest demand time for gyms, because of basketball.  So getting an empy gym during the winter is tough.  We played futsal in the summer, when gym space was more available (and it was air conditioned!), but the problem is if you do too much during the summer, the player's essentiall get no rest (since there is soccer every season).  

  37. Peggy Matis, July 15, 2019 at 11:28 p.m.

    Amen , Mr. Vogt.  A certain decorum needs to be maintained.  If we don't continue to teach respect, oh my!  Red card to Megan.  She is no longer fun to watch....

  38. stewart hayes, July 16, 2019 at 1:44 a.m.

    Who really has standing to argue with Anson.  Only time will tell if the outspoken US captain has helped or hurt the image of women's soccer and most importantly, eyeballs.  Where I am from people stand and place their hand on their hearts when the national athem is broadcast in a bar 7,000 miles away from Paris.  Not wanting to visit the White House no matter who president is would be unthinkable.  My enthusiasm for the women has dropped a notch largely because the entire team seems to me standing behind their captain.  They want to make it about politics so be it.    

  39. R2 Dad replied, July 18, 2019 at 5:13 p.m.

    I don't put much faith in "standing", as we do not operate on a class system like the UK and India. We are a nation of ideas and laws. Either my ideas have merit,  or they do not. The messenger is not to be diefied nor shot, in my opinion.

  40. Bob Ashpole replied, July 19, 2019 at 1:06 a.m.

    Guess what, Stewart? I wouldn't want to be in the same room as Trump, not because of his politics, but because of his personality and character. I don't associate with people that treat people like he does. 

  41. Al Micucci, July 16, 2019 at 9:37 a.m.

    Randy has a point but unfortunately i am one of the offenders.  I was surprised that he did not comment about Futsal (unless i missed it).  Randy is one of Long Island's top referees and an excellent Futsal ref.  My teams have always benefitted by playing Futsal which John Branca brought to Suffolk County years ago and still runs to this day.  The necessary footskills and lightening quick decision making are crucial to a players development.  It is an excellent environment to put a player in so that the game can teach them what is necessary to develop as a player.

  42. frank schoon replied, July 16, 2019 at 10:48 a.m.

    Al, good stuff. Keep playing futsal but employ different balls a well. By employing lighter or bigger ball,some that bounce or whatever or even tennis balls from time to time. This will teach the kids to be more aware of what "touch' to give the ball and it makes them think more of the capabilities ,technical and tactical, of what is possible with the type of ball they are using. 
    This is wat street  soccer is all about , we employed all kinds of balls which gives the player a more rounded experience.

  43. Randy Vogt replied, July 16, 2019 at 1:26 p.m.

    Yes, Al, I'm all in on futsal. Something that's not mentioned here in the comments about futsal is it's a wonderful diversion for players, particularly those playing year-round. So maybe play or ref outdoor soccer for nine months and futsal for three months as different skills and fitness are required for playing and reffing futsal. Here in New York, futsal works very well in the winter when our fields are frozen but could see it used more in the summer for the southern USA when it can be too hot to play outdoors. What I notice is after playing futsal for three months, the players in New York cannot wait to play outdoor soccer again as their enthusiasm for the sport is revitalized. I doubt that would happen if they played outdoor soccer for all 12 months. Speaking for myself, I really need to diversify what I'm doing to stay enthusiastic about reffing every game and I look forward to the futsal season every year. It's also starting to work in the summer here in New York when kids are away at camp so some teams don't have 11 players but they have five and can still play futsal.

  44. Kent James replied, July 17, 2019 at 1:01 a.m.

    Randy, good point about Futsal being a contrast to outdoor, and thus providing something of a break from the usual regimen. 

  45. Randy Vogt replied, July 20, 2019 at 3:44 p.m.

    I was a bit prophetic above regarding futsal being played in the summer. It's oppresively hot here in New York and I was supposed to ref the Kellenberg HS Men's Alumni Game today but it's not safe to be running around outside. So I brought some futsal balls and I refereed futsal in the air-conditioned gym. Most of the kids and young adults had played futsal before so they were familiar with it and, unlike past Aumni Games outdoors, they did not fatigue as easily in the air-conditioning.

  46. Kent James, July 17, 2019 at 1:13 a.m.

    Great interview Mike, and an ideal person to comment on the US Women's WC.  Since I grew up in NC (in Winston-Salem, cheering for Wake Forest, then attended Duke my Freshman year), I was raised to hate Carolina.  But Anson Dorrance is a classy person and he certainly build an unmatched program at UNC (as well as his success with the Women's national team).  I think he's right on his analysis of the current levels of play, the current value of the collegiate system to the success of the women's national team, , and his  assessment of MR.  

    As for her "politicization' of the WC, I think she's allowed to have feelings.  She was asked by Anderson Cooper if she'd go to the WH if Trump invited her and she said no, and gave a reasoned explanation as to why not.  I thought her speech at NYC was excellent, and if the offensive language used at the end (in a very positive tone) offended some, I get that, and probably would've advised her against using it, but then I'm not MR, and that's who she is and how she rolls.  If you don't want to watch her (or the team) because of her politics, that's fine, but it's your loss (since you'll be missing some good soccer).

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