The off-season continues....
Luckily, there’s no lack of news these days, and with the W-League season officially kicking off last night in Australia, there will be plenty to follow. And if you’re wondering what the W-League is all about, then we got you covered with A Guide to the W-League. Sydney Miramontez, Lo’eau Labonta, Rachel Corsie, Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir, Katie Stengel, and Samantha Johnson are the six Utah Royals FC players who went on loan for the 2018-19 season, heading down to play in Australia’s top women’s league during the NWSL off-season. More on that, but first...
ICYMI: Kelley O’Hara had ankle surgery
No need to panic, Utah Royals FC fans. It looks like this was something that needed to be done to prepare O’Hara for 2019, including the NWSL season and the World Cup. On Tuesday, O’Hara underwent an arthroscopic ankle procedure to remove loose bodies in her right ankle. She will be sidelined for 8-12 weeks and will miss the USA’s final games of the year in November during a trip to Europe.
O’Hara was feeling positive, though:
”It’s all good. These kinds of things come with the territory. This is just the best time to get the procedure done so I’m one hundred percent heading into 2019 and physically ready to perform at the level I want to and need to. It’s a bummer that I won’t get to Europe, but the most important thing is to be healthy for next year.”
See. All good. I know O’Hara had a pretty rough 2018, missing a majority of the 2018 NWSL season and national team duty due to a hamstring injury, but she looks to have made a 100% recovery from that, and with the ankle procedure, she looks to return healthier and stronger for 2019. And that’s good news.
The necessity for playing in Australia
Though exciting to watch more women’s football and some of our favorite Utah Royals FC players, NWSL players go on loan during the off-season because it is a necessity. For these players, playing in the W-League is a way to supplement their income, given that the maximum salary in the NWSL is $44,000 a year. And that is, sadly, where we are in women’s professional soccer these days.
Of course, it is also a neat opportunity to continue playing and improve their skills, and who wouldn't want to escape our winter months by going to the southern hemisphere while they experience summer? But, mainly, NWSL players choose to head to Australia for monetary reasons.
And this is why supporting the NWSL is important so that it grows and becomes the sole source of income for players. I’m not going to get into the pay disparity between men’s and women’s soccer. That is an entirely different topic for another time. But I do hope that support grows for the NWSL, not just because it is a way to support women’s soccer, but because it is worth it and exciting to follow.
Ever listen to the Utah Royals FC Show?
Quick plugin here for the coolest podcast that is all about Utah Royals FC, the first and only I might add. Hosted by my fellow RSL Soapboxers Wirtjo Leonard, Ryan Kelly, and Megan Webb, and I, occasionally, join. The cool thing about it? Utah Royals FC players have been on the show as guests, including Erika Tymrak, Lo’eau Labonta, Alex Arlitt, Gunny, and Taylor Lytle. Seriously, it is one of the best podcasts to listen to on a weekly basis.
You can find it on SoundCloud or by clicking here.