2019 is almost over and, as far was WoSo was concerned, it was: A Lot.
And we’ll only have a little bit of time to catch our breaths before 2020 comes rushing at us. Between the Olympics, club competition in Europe and the US, and some big personal milestones for players, the next year will be quite an adventure. You’ll almost forget that we’re still in the beginning of the new World Cup cycle.
Here are a few big happenings to keep on your radar for next year.
Sam Kerr’s WSL debut
We won’t have to wait very long for this one. Kerr’s new deal with Chelsea became official last Friday with the opening of the winter transfer window. She’ll be available for selection for the first time this weekend when the Blues host Reading. One thing’s for sure: the back half of the WSL season will be full of fireworks.
Women’s Champions League knockout rounds
While there isn’t a whole lot of suspense about how this season will end— it’s going to be Lyon, we’re so sorry, we don’t make the rules— there’s still plenty of compelling football to play between now and May 24th. The quarterfinals, kicking off on March 25th and April 1st, have some interesting matchups on offer; Atleti v Barca should be entertaining, while Arsenal v PSG will serve as a useful test for both sides.
NWSL in transition
Some big changes are coming to NWSL... eventually. While the league will definitely be impacted by the departure of their 2019 MVP and a big tournament break in the middle of the summer, some of the biggest changes have been kicked down the road. None of the announced expansion teams will be ready in time for the 2020 season, while negotiations between the league and US Soccer over operational independence and funding are heading into extra time. That means the 2020 season is going to be... weird. But we’ll still get some good soccer and big moments. And hey, maybe North Carolina will pull off a three-peat. So there’s that.
Sinc’s new record
At press time, Christine Sinclair— legend, icon, GOAT, whatever works for you— is on 183 international goals. One. Eight. Three. Wild, right? That’s one fewer than the record— 184, held by retired USWNT talisman Abby Wambach. One more goal and she ties the record. Two more and she breaks it. The new record could come as soon as January 29th, when Canada begins their Olympic Qualifying campaign against Saint Kitts and Nevis.
From the American point of view, 2020 is all about new chapters and fresh starts. It’ll be a big opportunity for new head Vlatko Andonovski to make his mark on this new era for the USWNT, as well as a test for the veterans who were part of the squad that crashed out in the quarterfinals in 2016. For Europe, it’s a chance to see which team is able to make a statement of intent as the next challenger-in-waiting to the USWNT’s World Cup dominance. For the rest of the world, the chance for a relative outsider to knock the US or a big European side down a few pegs will create some lively action.
The USWNT equal pay lawsuit could come to a close
Or it could continue to drag on. We just don’t know! So far US Soccer has been more than willing to pour more money and create more bad PR into what increasingly appears to be a losing battle. We’ll leave the speculation on why they’re quadrupling down instead of settling for another day. We can only hope that the federation will wake up sometime this year— or at least decide fighting on principle isn’t worth the money anymore. Either way, expect more motions, more decisions, more dueling press releases, and more drama in 2020.
What are you looking forward to from the WoSo world in 2020? Let us know in the comments!