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Major Link Soccer: Ch-ch-ch-challenge Cup

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NWSL becomes the first American team sport to make its return.

2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Day 1

Sure, other things are happening, but NWSL IS BACK! And even if the games haven’t been perfect, and players aren’t 100% fit yet, and the games are being overshadowed as a result of the league’s decision to play the national anthem before broadcasts, the games have been extremely fun!

Seattle/Tacoma

Allie Long is likely the only NWSL player who launched a new career while sheltering at home. Long has been playing video games on Twitch and has built a solid reputation in the gaming world. Allie Long spent lockdown becoming a celebrity gamer | AP

2019 Rookie of the Year Bethany Balcer has worked her way up from an NAIA star in college to one of the best rising talents in the NWSL with OL Reign. Balcer is ready to take a second-year leap in the Challenge Cup - Beautiful Game Network

The newly formed Girls Academy has announced longtime University of Washington soccer coach Lesle Gallimore as the league’s first-ever Commissioner. Girls Academy appoints Lesle Gallimore as first-ever Commissioner - SoccerWire

There’s actually a fair bit of continuity here, and Reign should be aiming to make a deep run. OL Reign change coaches, but the team looks familiar - All For XI

Long-time Tri-Cities soccer family has grandson, Josh Atencio, sign as a midfielder with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC. He grew up in Bellevue and played for the Tacoma Defiance. New Sounders player has Tri-Cities soccer connections | Tri-City Herald

Laura Clise and Internationalist want to help you “spend like it matters.” Intentionalist is helping socially-conscious consumers spend like it matters | Seattle Sounders FC

MLS/USL

The Las Vegas Lights are poised to name Frank Yallop as their next manager, multiple sources have told ESPN. Las Vegas Lights hiring Frank Yallop to fill Eric Wynalda vacancy - sources

Orlando City SC and San Jose Earthquakes were the first teams to arrive for MLS Is Back Tournament. What awaits the league in central Florida? Inside the MLS bubble: What players, teams can expect in Orlando

Jonathan Bornstein may be in the running for Most Interesting Man in MLS after a winding career brought him back to where his professional career first started. Veteran Chicago Fire FC defender Jonathan Bornstein's long and winding road back to MLS | MLSsoccer.com

Jeff Reuter lays out just about everything you could need to know ahead of the USL Championship’s return to action. Your complete guide to the USL Championship’s return – The Athletic

NWSL/WoSo

Five Orlando Pride players who tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday tested negative on Tuesday, which could mean that Sunday’s tests were false positives. Sources: Orlando Pride players who tested positive for COVID-19 now testing negative – Equalizer Soccer

Google has joined a growing list of sponsors for the NWSL Challenge Cup. NWSL is back with BRAND OVERLOAD - All For XI

The era of the stock kit appears to be in the past for NWSL, and the on-field looks are all the better for it. Reviewing every NWSL team’s new kits for 2020: Bold new looks galore (mostly) – The Athletic

The tournament was planned for Texas. With COVID19 Spiking, UWS Cancels Cup — Protagonist Soccer

New coach, a need for lots of new players... what’s this team all about? Utah Royals a mystery wrapped in an enigma - All For XI

Kenneth Heiner-Møller’s departure leaves the Canada WNT in a bit of lurch ahead of the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, but Canada Soccer has been in this situation before. Finding an outsider to replace Heiner-Møller is vital to CanWNT’s future – CanPL

The NWSL is embarking on a high-wire act: reaping the benefits of being first while minimizing the risk as much as possible. NWSL ready for 'big risk, big reward' as first U.S. team sports league to return amid pandemic | Yahoo Sports

The teams issued a joint statement supporting Black Lives Matter. Thorns, Courage players all take a knee during national anthem - All For XI

Chicago Red Stars had too much to overcome on the field following an extremely emotional moment before the game even started. An Emotional Night, Two Bad Turnovers, Too Much to Overcome for Chicago Red Stars - Hot Time In Old Town

Washington Spirit got a win in their first Challenge Cup game as Rose Lavelle drove the team forward. Rose Lavelle leads Washington Spirit to 2-1 win over Chicago Red Stars - Black And Red United

After one game day and two great matches, there’s a lot to take in from the opening of the NWSL Challenge Cup. Challenge Cup Thoughts: Soccer finally returns and larger conversations persist – The Athletic

USA

Werder looking to avoid relegation in a key game against Koln. Josh Sargent strikes for Werder Bremen - Stars and Stripes FC

Bars have long been an integral part of American soccer culture, but their very nature remains at odds with the global pandemic. Inside America’s soccer bars as they begin to reopen – The Athletic

Another American is managing a first division club in Europe. Matarazzo reaches the Bundesliga - Stars and Stripes FC

Jesse Marsch added yet another piece of silverware to his and RB Salzburg’s trophy case. Jesse Marsch and RB Salzburg win Austrian Bundesliga - Stars and Stripes FC

World

French soccer great Michel Platini has been formally placed under investigation in Switzerland in relation to a $2 million payment he got from FIFA in 2011. Michel Platini now a formal suspect in Swiss case | AP

Pulisic’s strong performances continued this weekend, but a possible injury is a dark cloud over his contribution. Lampard on super sub Barkley and injury updates to Pulisic, Christensen - We Ain't Got No History

More than 30 per cent of players are black but fans feel safer at home and often alienated in grounds dominated by white supporters. Why are football crowds so white? – The Athletic

The time may be now for Reggie Cannon to make a move to Europe as he draws attention from the likes of Anderlecht and Freiburg. Bundesliga beckons for target of Anderlecht and Ghent

What’s on TV today?

11:30 AM - Exeter City vs Northampton Town (League Two) - ESPN+

12:00 PM - Crystal Palace vs Burnley (Premier League) - NBCSN