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The Royal Watch: NWSL off-season updates

Yup, it’s still the off-season, but here’s some NWSL news to help pass the time.

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

It already feels like a long NWSL off-season, and no, I have not been keeping up with the Australian W-League either. I had every ambition to get up and catch some games, but I can’t seem to get up that early or stay up. I have an early bed time, after all.

But I think one reason why it feels like a long off-season is because the season ended in September, a month earlier than usual to accommodate the CONCACAF tournament in October for World Cup qualifying. Another reason is because, in comparison to last season, when two teams folded, unfortunately, it really has been a quiet off-season. There have been some news, and here’s some of the headlines around the league.

But first, a Utah Royals FC update

* crickets chirping * Yea....I got nothing major, except that there is finally an online store for the team, which is great news for fans who do not live in Utah or cannot make it to the RSL Store. Oh, and also, Kelley O’Hara appears to be back in training after ankle surgery in late October, which was done to remove loose bodies in her right ankle so she can be fully healthy for 2019.

Oh, and the organization released this sweet little video, highlighting RSL, Royals, and Monarchs:

2019 NWSL schedule key dates

  • January 10 - 2019 NWSL College Draft
  • March 4 - Pre-season begins
  • April 13-14 - 2019 season begins
  • June 3-14 - Break for 2019 FIFA World Cup
  • October 13 - Regular season ends
  • October 19-20 - 2019 NWSL Semifinals
  • October 26 - 2019 NWSL Championship

The major news with these dates is how the 2019 World Cup will affect the NWSL. Expect our internationals to miss a majority of the season due to the World Cup, the tournament itself and the preparation for it.

Houston Dash hire a new head coach; two vacancies remain

On Tuesday afternoon, the Houston Dash announced James Clarkson as their new head coach (former head coach Vera Pauw left Houston after one season). Clarkson spent the past two years with the Houston Dynamo Academy, with his most recent position as director of youth development. The Dash also plan to add two full-time assistants and a full-time goalkeeping coach.

With Clarkson’ hiring, two head coaching vacancies still remain in Orlando and Washington. The Orlando Pride and Tom Sermanni parted ways after three seasons, and the Washington Spirit and Jim Gabarra also did the same back in August. So, stay tuned.

Bit of News

  • The 2019 Women’s World Cup Draw took place last Saturday, and some of us tried our best to make predictions for the teams that will advance to the knockout rounds. Yea, sorry, I did not pick the U.S. to win. Eek! Hot take.
  • Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan was voted the 2018 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.
  • Nearly two dozen current NWSL players, including Abby Smith, have been working for the last two months in an attempt to earn their C License through U.S. Soccer.
  • 168 days until summer.