Happy Friday, everyone! It’s been a busy soccer week, and there’s lots still to do, so let’s get right to it.

NWSL announces record bonus pool increases for 2023 season (NWSL)
With the Challenge Cup prize pool at $1.1 million this year, it makes sense for the NWSL to increase bonuses for the Shield and Championship so the tournament didn’t start to mean more than the actual season. This is good news for teams like the Spirit, who are currently 1st in the league but 3rd of 4 in their Challenge Cup group.

Qatari Investment Authority close to buying stake in Wizards, Capitals, Mystics: sources (The Athletic)
I don’t love this development, to be honest. Concerns about sportswashing are legitimate, and as we learned in the 2022 World Cup, the increased media attention and criticism that sports can bring to a country like Qatar don’t seem to result in many changes.

Riley Tanner called up to Panama National Team for 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup (Washington Spirit)
A sixth Spirit player will be headed to Australia and New Zealand next month. Rookie Riley Tanner will join Panama for their first appearance in the World Cup.

2011 Women’s World Cup champions Japan will fundraise to buy broadcast rights (Optus Sport)
Japan Women’s National Team are World Cup Champions – one of only 4 women’s teams to ever win it! – and this year’s Cup is not currently planned to be broadcast anywhere in their home country. This team deserves much better.

The USWNT is putting out a series of videos of players getting the news that they’re on the roster for the World Cup. This first one, featuring Kelley O’Hara, is very sweet.

USA vs. Jamaica, 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup: Scouting Jamaica (Stars and Stripes FC)
For those of you planning to watch the Gold Cup this weekend, here’s the scoop on the USMNT’s first opponent.

Congratulations to Loudoun United goalkeeper Hugo Faroux on the birth of his son, Enzo!

Hey Spirits episode: “So wholesome in the tent” + Going to the World Cup (The District Press)
I did want to share the latest of episode of our Hey Spirits! podcast, in which I got to interview one of my favorite soccer players but didn’t ask a single question about soccer.

Here’s your schedule of games for the weekend:

Washington Spirit vs. Portland ThornsFri., June 23 at 10:30 p.m. ETProvidence ParkParamount+, NBC Sports Washington
Loudoun United FC vs. Tampa Bay RowdiesSat., June 24 at 7 p.m. ETSegra FieldESPN+
D.C. United vs. FC CincinnatiSat., June 24 at 7:30 p.m. ETAudi FieldApple TV
Old Glory DC vs. Rugby New YorkSun., June 25 at 6 p.m. ETMemorial StadiumFS2

ByAnnie Elliott

Mostly writing about the Washington Spirit

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Talonesque #

I’m driving up to see my folks soon, and it will be interesting to ask my dad what he thinks of the Saudi investment in regional teams, particularly his Wizards who he has an eternal soft spot for. I know what I think, and that’s that sports washing is very bad in this scenario, as is using a sovereign wealth fund for this purpose. The general stereotype is that Saudis have all the money, but the truth is that wealth inequality is ridiculous in some of these countries. There are a lot of people desperate for support and relief because this sovereign fund, which should absolutely be used for that almost by definition, is not lifting them out of their current financial position. Its a massive disservice to a beleaguered populace. Disappointing to hear.

Talonesque #

Oh, wow, definitely clocked the wrong nationality, which isn’t great. Doesn’t change the sentiment a ton.


Annie, I’m absolutely, totally with you in the discomfort about Qatari investment in DC sports teams. Lots of factors for me, but yeah, sports washing is a biggie. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Will Nelson

Missed this: https://www.americasrugbynews.com/2023/06/14/mlr-notes-hooley-to-retire-investors-for-dc-draft-day-set/

US Eagles (US Men NT XVs) captain and San Diego Legion player Will Hooley is retiring.

Old Glory have added to their group of investors. The club has announced that Washington Nationals chairman Paxton Baker, Grammy-winning musician Verdine White (of Earth, Wind, & Fire fame), and Graham Capital Management president Pablo Calderini are now minority owners. Chris Dunlavey and Paul Sheehy are the majority owners while the Scottish Rugby Union also holds a minority stake.

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