They play with head-scarves, tights and long socks. We worked with them for four months, convincing their parents that playing football is not against religion. We gave references of the Iranian women’s football team. We got separate kits for these girls so that they can play the sport without feeling uncomfortable.
by Christen Press
Late Morning, 19 March 2014
Bankrutt is the only word I recognize as I scan Aftonbladet, a larger Swedish daily newspaper, reporting headline news. My club team Tyresö declared bankruptcy and was folding only two days before our Champions League Quarterfinal. We step off the field after our best training session of the season when the Twitter notifications begin to buzz on our phones. I look frantically around the locker room trying to understand, but the Swedish mixed with panic confuses me. I knew the club was meeting with the Swedish federal government that day, but I thought it was at 15:00. I check the clock: 11:30. The only thing clear is that the energy that sprung from a post-practice high has quickly depleted. Everyone is as confused and scared as I am.
Then, we receive an email from the club promising that the information reported by all of the major Swedish publications about our demise was, in fact, wrong. Well, it wasn’t the only time these publications had reported false information (I thought you could go to jail for that in Sweden. Darn that Girl With the Dragon Tattoo!). The decision about whether our team would continue via a government bailout—which in Sweden they call rekonstruktion—or if we fold would, indeed, be made in court, at 15:00. When the manager comes into the locker room a few minutes later, all he can muster is to say, to a team based in one of the least religious countries in the world, “Just go home and pray to God.”
This wasn’t the first message I had received from the club about a “financial crisis.” The first came late last summer. There had been some unexplained mix up, and they had asked all of the players who had a “free car” stipulated in their contract to please pay the car taxes. Taxes, to the tune of a few hundred thousand dollars, which they had unknowingly owed for the last three years. We did not pay. Another message came during the end-of-the-year meetings, when many players were asked to accept pay cuts or to agree to play for less than they had already signed for the following year. On payday in February of this year, we were informed that our salaries would be a few days late…and, “Thank you for your patience.” A few days turned into a few weeks and a few more empty promises… Finally, we understood that the club was in debt totaling $1.5 million and filing for rekonstruktion.
Early Afternoon, 19 March 2014
We must wait three hours before the court settles and seals our fate. I observe how each of us handles stress so differently. Some sit silently, some move and chatter non-stop to distract themselves. Some yell, while others make jokes. I, personally, have been through each of these reactions, but recognizing and accepting the complete loss of control over the situation acts to calm me…
On the drive home from practice, I thought about some of the moments that had passed since joining this club. I remembered the stress I felt before playing the Champions League match against PSG, knowing that if we lost, my time in Sweden would be over. I thought about the fight to continue to play in Sweden in 2014 amid the success of NWSL at home in the USA. I thought about the friends I had made on this team and the ones I had lost as the team continued to shuffle players. I thought about the rumors that circulated the week before that we would not be able to play our Cup match, as the club did not have the money to pay for our one-hour bus ride. And I even had to smile thinking about the fast food from McDonalds we ate after that game to celebrate our 2-0 victory over Eskistuna. Thank you dollar menu! All of us had reached our personal “limit,” yet we were still all here. Up until that moment, all of the drama seemed to play out in the background, with barely any information or communication coming directly from the club to the players. We acted blissfully unaware, but were consumed with the worry of our suspicions. With what little we did know, we managed to stick together as underfunded players and staff, united in our frustration against a club that was lying to us.
Under the rekonstruktion assessment process, however, the media had gained access to a lot of the club’s information, including salaries. There were only a few minutes separating the apology email we, received from the club and the tweets with links to articles headlining things such as: Tax Money Goes to Foreign Football Stars. The media attacked from every angle, and our inboxes were inundated with incendiary questions like, “Do you really think you are worth 10x the value of your teammate?” or, “Is your small salary a correct depiction of how much you contribute to the club?” All the while, the publications had released incorrect information that further sensationalized the situation. They published what players were owed in February as if it were their monthly salary, not noting that some players were owed bonuses and reimbursements (spanning back to 2013) and others were owed less because they had reported into camp later, thus working fewer days. That was just another blow, but one that began to break through the thinning flesh of our team.
Late afternoon, 19 March 2014
The phone beeps loudly and these words flash across my screen: “We are f’ing alive.” I hold my breath as I read the news from our captain and just like that, we are back in the game!
Legally, when the federal government accepted rekonstruktion it meant that they would provide the club with money to stay afloat through June. The government will pay the players and coaching staff’s salaries at a maximum of 170,000kronor per person (approximately $30,000) over a four-month period. In June, the club will be required to have the money to repay the government and take over all club costs going forward. If the individual maximum salary is reached before June, then it is the club’s responsibility to pay that player or coach. Before the first government payment had reached our bank accounts for February’s past due salaries, Tyresö would need to have enough money to begin taking over the highest paid players’ salaries.
We all feel lucky to still have a team. Everyday begins and ends with a question mark, and that makes us uncomfortable as well as gives us perspective. Nothing in life is a given. Still, every time I receive an email from the club, I cringe. Some days, I can see the energy leaking from the team during our long and tedious meetings about finances and logistics, but other days, we laugh together. When we have a great training it feels twice as great because we know we are playing against the odds. As a team, we are winning the biggest game we will ever play: staying united in the face of adversity; staying honest in the midst of corruption; surviving together without greed and without blame. I’m not surprised that our little family is closer than ever.
When I step on the field, I don’t think about the club that wronged and embarrassed us, I think about how proud I am to stand alongside this group of players and staff. Our goals now include the resolve to show up to work each day…mostly with a smile, even without a pay-check…for each other and for the love of the game.
[Stoppage Time] We had waited five months for the whistle to blow to commence this quarterfinal match. Just two days before, we thought that our Austrian opponent Neulengbach would have a free pass to the semifinal. But there we were, 11 girls on the pitch, my parents in the stands, everyone grateful for the place in which we stood. Maybe all of the pent up anger and frustration served as fuel, as we shot out like a rocket launched at Cape Canaveral. And after just 35 seconds I found myself relishing the energized embraces of a post goal celebration. It was the first of eight goals we would score that Sunday to all but guarantee a place in the semifinals. During the game we had some brilliant moments, the collective work of a team that loves to play and plays together. But despite the scoreboard and the highlight reel, I left the field knowing it was not a championship winning performance. I cannot suppress the urge to scrutinize and criticize in the exact moment when everything seems great and easy. But as these thoughts transpired in my head, I walked into the locker room with a smile stretched across my face. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t think about money or how on earth I would tell my parents to cancel their travel plans. I was thinking about football. Order was restored and we’d won.
[Off the Post!] Our away leg sent us to the classical music capitol of the world: Vienna. And as usual, The Utfarts followed. Let me backtrack a bit. My parents renamed our family The Utfarts on a previous trip to Sweden. We are quite the motley crew in the US. Add jet lag, language barriers, and a stick shift and you have The Utfarts. The tag name was born when my sisters, parents, and my grandmother got lost inside a parking garage and everyone started to yell at my father: Just follow the utfart! (Utfart means exit in Swedish.)
Now as I was saying, Mama and Papa Utfart were excited for their trip and couldn’t wait to absorb the history left behind by Bethoven, Struass, Mozart, and the likes. Unfortunately, it took them almost all day to just locate Bethoven’s Memorial on the map written in German, so they were unable to snap a shot along side Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. On the way back from sightseeing they came across Motzart souvenir shop and it reminded them of one of their favorite stories. In the late 1980’s, Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus was a number one hit in the US. My parents were dancing to the song at a club in NYC when they heard their close friend singing along. “Rock me hot potato!” And they fell out laughing. Now, 30 years later in the middle of their tour of Austria’s capitol city, they broke into dance and song on the street, “Rock me hot potato!” And we fell out laughing again.!
Tyresö FF players’ salaries revealed
Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has today published several of the Tyresö FF players’ salaries, revealing that Marta and Verónica Boquete both earn more than twice as much as Caroline Seger, who is the captain of the team. Tyresö FF chairman Hans Lindberg claims that the salaries were within the club’s budget, and says they would not have signed the players otherwise. When asked about the club signing as many as four new Brazilian players in January, Lindberg defends the signings by saying that by replacing some players ahead of this season, the club has lowered their total budget for salaries. Noteable is also the fact that the highest paid player in the NWSL earns $30 000 a year, while Christen Press as one of the lowest paid players at Tyresö makes twice that amount with a monthly salary above $5000.
Click below to read the complete list of the salaries.
My brother disappeared over the weekend. I’d gone down to see him and my mom. We were watching a movie at around 10:30pm, when he stood up and went to the kitchen. He then presumably walked out.
I went to see where he was after about 20 minutes. When I couldn’t find him, I assumed/hoped he’d gone out for a cigarette and a walk.
We went out to search for him and hour or so later, and phoned the police about 3 hours after that. We’ve done everything we can since then, including posting flyers and searching everywhere. It’s been 36 hours now. The temperature has been around 0° C both evenings and it’s been raining as of last night.
If you know anyone in south England - especially in Hants/Hampshire - I’d really appreciate if you could point them toward this post, ask them to take a quick glance at the picture and keep it in mind when travelling over the next few days. We believe he’s been off his anti-psychotics medication for around 5 days. He’s not violent at all, nor a hazard to anyone but himself. He will probably be confused, with some periods of lucidity. If found, please immediately contact the Hampshire police on the non-emergency number 101, referencing case #200 from 16th February 2014.
The mayor of Mississauga, Canada is a badass. via
Hazel McCallion, everbody.
92 years old,
34 years in office,
$0 in debt
$700 million in reserve
Eight prime ministers
But women aren’t strong leaders… OH WAIT.
Now I’m sure somebody’s gonna tell me something but
- supports a Palestinian state
- supports Aids CHarities
- told her city well if we cant get money y’all need to pay taxes and maintains a 76 approval rating
- nick named Hurricane Hazel
- and is so boss lady that she don’t run she’ tells folks to give that money to charity
I will always reblog this lady.
This woman is officially my new hero.
In regards to the flooding in the GTA yesterday, she apparently said that she hasn’t seen rain like that since her neighbour Noah was building a boat.
New hero in life.
Gonna sport a pinky ring like this badass
As soccer pals and teammates, they’ve had similar goals
Article by Kevin Baxter for the LA Times
Christen Press and Whitney Engen grew up just 13 months and a few miles apart on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. And they’ve been virtually inseparable on a soccer field ever since, playing together as kids, against each other in college and now as teammates with the U.S. national team.
Both, however, saw their careers get off to inauspicious starts.
As a preschooler, Press was forced to play with older kids in a coed league because one team was short a girl.
"I didn’t touch the ball once," she remembers. "I picked daisies and waved to my mom."
Engen played because she got candy when she showed up at practice. And her parents encouraged her because, despite the sugar high, the sport was the only one that wore her out.
"They just kept signing me up," Engen says now. "It meant Whitney was sleeping at night."
Twenty years later the daisies and the candy are long gone. Press and Engen play now for paychecks, pride and, they hope, a shot at winning a World Cup title next year with the U.S. national team.
Three games into a new season Press, a 25-year-old forward, leads the top-ranked U.S. team with three goals and an assist despite having played just 86 minutes. And Engen, 26, has been on the field more than all but two other defenders, helping the U.S. to a 1-0 win over Canada and two shutout victories over Russia.
On any other team, both would be leaders. But with the star-studded U.S. squad entering the heavy part of its schedule in next month’s Algarve Cup — where it will meet Japan and Sweden in group play — both could soon find themselves watching from the sidelines instead.
"How do you fit them all in?" U.S. Coach Tom Sermanni says, more in wonder than complaint. "Every area is strong, every area is competitive. Without a doubt we’ve got the strongest squad of any national team in the world."
That can be both a boon and a bane for young players such as Press and Engen, who find themselves sacrificing playing time for a chance to learn from talented teammates.
Press, for example, is fighting Abby Wambach, Sydney Leroux and, when she’s healthy, Alex Morgan — the three top strikers in the world — for one of two spots at forward. And Engen is trying to break into a back line that includes team captain Christie Rampone, veteran Rachel Van Hollebeke (nee Buehler) and Stephanie Cox. Together that trio has combined for 484 international caps, seven Olympic medals and seven World Cup teams.
"It’s an honor to be on the field with some of these players," Press says. "But at the same time it’s kind of nice to feel like we’re the competition and we’re coming.
"Yeah, every day we come to the field and we’re fighting for a spot. But we’re also fighting for an opportunity to do something great."
Both Press and Engen have traveled remarkably similar journeys to get this far, starting in the same place and then intersecting often on the way to the national team.
"It’s been like a curving path that keeps coming together," Press says.
If not for Press’ father Cody, a former football player at Dartmouth, it may have been a journey Engen missed. As a grade-schooler, she was having a miserable time playing on another team in a Palos Verdes league when Cody Press asked her to join the one he was coaching.
"It was like the best experience ever!" Engen remembers. "Otherwise I could have probably quit soccer."
Their paths continued to cross as competitors in college and as teammates in Europe, where Press, playing alongside Engen for Stockholm’s Tyreso FF, became the first American to lead Sweden’s top league in scoring.
Now that they’ve reached the top level of their sport, it’s clear neither needs soccer as much as soccer needs players like them: well-spoken women with brains, skill and personality.
Although Press won college soccer’s most prestigious award, the MAC Hermann Trophy, during a record-setting career at Stanford, she was also an academic All-American with a double major who speaks three languages and is already an accomplished writer.
"Of course I have other passions and other interests, but soccer’s always my priority," she says. "I actually think that there’s such an opportunity to touch the world and affect the world through soccer that’s hard for me to even see another path right now."
Engen, meanwhile, made the dean’s list at North Carolina five times and has already passed the qualifying exam for law school. At one time that had been her preferred career path, but now a law degree is the fall-back plan. How many people can say that?
"Before I kind of had a set plan that if by this certain date I hadn’t broken into this team that maybe I would go back to school," she says. "I guess I’ve taken the approach that there is always time to go back to school but there’s not going to always be time to live in England. Or to be able to play in Sweden.
"These kinds of things, they don’t just pop up in your life."