Also in today’s roundup, Verizon doubles down on A+E deal, and the Utah Royals continue to make moves
We're back! #JanuaryCamp is here.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) January 3, 2018
Upon the announcement of the USWNT January Camp roster earlier today, there were some missing names standing out, particularly in the USA midfield. Rose Lavelle, Tobin Heath, and Sam Mewis will all be out due to injuries sustained in 2017 (to their hamstring, ankle, and knee, respectively).
While Lavelle and Heath’s ongoing rehabilitation was known to the public (Lavelle will actually do some rehab in camp with the USA trainers), Mewis being out of the roster came a little bit more as a surprise, as she was one of the most consistent contributors to the squad in 2017. Forthcoming information from US Soccer, as reported by Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer, indicates that she injured her knee during the USA’s match against Canada in Vancouver back in November, though her absence in camp is deemed by the federation as mostly precautionary. Tannenwald also reports the possibility of midfielder Morgan Brian not participating in the full USA camp due to her new responsibilities at Olympique Lyonnais, who have games on Jan 7th and 14th. The FIFA window in January runs from the 15th through the 23rd, so expect Brian to make an appearance in that timeframe.
Verizon and A+E announce digital distribution deal, open up opportunities for more NWSL content
— Realscreen (@realscreen) January 3, 2018
It was announced today that Verizon and A+E were deepening their partnership in the world of digital content, and opening up the possibility of presenting the NWSL on varying platforms. While the 2017 season was presented by Verizon only on their Go90 platform, the larger distribution plan could have NWSL content push past the app, and perhaps towards other Verizon entities like Tumblr, Yahoo! and HuffPost.
While particular details were hard to come by, Verizon VP Erin McPherson showed enthusiasm for more NWSL programming, saying that “We found in our existing go90 partnership that this content is very, very sticky to consumers (…) It’s very appealing, and of course live sports is unique in its ability to aggregate audience around content and create excitement.” One can only hope that this will mean even more comprehensive work surrounding the 2018 season.
Utah Royals sign Iceland international Gunnhildur “Gunny” Jonsdottir
— Utah Royals FC (@UtahRoyals) January 3, 2018
Not long after announcing the blockbuster trade of USA star Kelley O’Hara, the Utah Royals have picked up another member of their roster in Gunnhildur Jonsdottir, an Icelandic forward who is one of the most prolific goal-scorers in Iceland WNT history. The 29 year old was acquired from Norwegian squad Valerenga FC, where she had 5 goals in 21 appearances in 2017.
Head coach Laura Harvey had only positive things to say about the signing, noting in the Utah press release that “Gunny is a player that I think will transition well into the NWSL, as she has played at international levels and numerous leagues around Europe. Her experience will be great for the group. Her enthusiasm on the field is infectious. I’m glad we could complete this deal as I think it is another huge statement for our club.” Jonsdottir joins O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn as the early official signings for the brand new squad, though Utah does own the rights to the players that were transferred over from the now defunct FC Kansas City.