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Major Link Soccer: Messi bags his 700th goal

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Haaland has a lot of room to grow, and big TV numbers for the NWSL

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FC Barcelona v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Puget Sound

The undrafted rookie of the year is using her platform to expand her horizons and spread a message of love. Bethany Balcer’s NWSL journey of faith, acceptance and seizing opportunities – The Athletic ($)

Few players in the NWSL are more synonymous with their team. Jess Fishlock remains the heart of the Reign, on and off the field – Equalizer Soccer ($)

MLS / USL

A contract approved for construction of the MLS stadium at The Fairgrounds Nashville has been ruled invalid because the Metro Sports Authority violated Tennessee Open Meetings Act. Judge rules Sports Authority violated Open Meetings act in approving MLS stadium contract | wsmv.com

Louisville City FC will play Pittsburgh in front of fans after the Kentucky governor cleared the venue to operate at 50 percent capacity. USL side Louisville City FC to open new stadium vs. Pittsburgh with fans on July 12, sources

Charlotte Independence owner Dan DiMicco’s views could very well be the final nail in the coffin for the club’s long-term future. Opinion: USL should force Independence owner to sell team | Soc Takes

NWSL / women’s soccer

572k viewers tuned in to watch the NWSL’s first game on CBS, a three-fold increase over their former best viewership number. SKEDBALL: Weekly Sports TV Ratings 6.22-6.28.2020 | Showbuzz Daily

After a strong start and taking the lead in the first half, Utah gave up a goal before half but mounted a comeback to draw 3-3. Utah draws opening Challenge Cup match to Houston Dash - RSL Soapbox

With injuries to Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh, the midfielder figures to be an essential part of Sky Blue’s hopes in 2020 and beyond. After two straight titles with Courage, McCall Zerboni leads Sky Blue’s rebuild – The Athletic

The league’s new policy will allow players to stay in the locker room during the anthem. How Lisa Baird and NWSL players arrived at a new national anthem policy – The Athletic

Understanding racism is everyone’s job, dismantling it requires white America’s buy-in. Washington Spirit players on racism, #BlackLivesMatter, and progress: Rose Lavelle on doing the work - Black And Red United

The investment would help cover coronavirus testing costs at the top end of the game. Premier League offers women’s football £1m to help start 2020-21 season - BBC Sport

With the WSL not restarting until September, women’s football is not on equal ground. English football won’t really be back until women are playing again | The Guardian

Former Everton forward Chloe Kelly is also closing in on a move to Man City, taking their haul of regular England internationals up to 12. Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood agree to join Manchester City ahead of new WSL season | The Telegraph

US soccer

The conversation makes sense, but it might hinder social change more than you think. Kneeling protests are important, and require national anthem | Yahoo Sports

World soccer

And he hit the landmark in some style. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi joins elite group with 700th career goal - Barca Blaugranes

Players with darker skin are often reduced to physical attributes, while players with lighter skin are praised for mental qualities. Soccer Commentary Is Full Of Coded Racism | FiveThirtyEight

This season started with such expectation. For some families, it ends with lives lost, seats empty and rituals forever changed. ‘This most ghastly season’: when hope turned to loss for one family of fans | The Guardian

Yet another lockdown rules breach, this time after hosting a birthday party. Watford’s Andre Gray apologises for breaching lockdown rules | The Guardian

Leicester due to host Crystal Palace on Saturday, but a local lockdown has been imposed due to coronavirus. Premier League to move or postpone Leicester home games if needed | The Guardian

The defender is in stable condition and expects to make a full recovery. Derby’s Andre Wisdom in hospital after being stabbed and robbed in the street | The Guardian

With his departure, there are now only five BAME managers now in top four divisions in England. Sol Campbell leaves relegated Southend by mutual consent | The Guardian

Relegation situation is painful for manager who must beat Newcastle on Wednesday before tackling four of the top seven. ‘It’s consuming me’: Eddie Howe is hurting in Bournemouth’s survival fight | The Guardian

Erling Haaland began the season in obscurity. Now he’s a household name. And with a tested development path at Dortmund, he’s only going to get better. Haaland isn’t done developing at Dortmund, and there’s no better place to make him Lewandowski 2.0 | ESPN

The billionaire meat producer has stepped down after 19 years at the club. Schalke chairman quits amid Covid-19 outbreak at his meat factory | The Guardian

Kattner helped other former FIFA executives award themselves salary raises and bonuses totaling tens of millions of dollars. FIFA bans former finance director Markus Kattner for 10 years | AP

What’s on TV?

9:00 AM: Preston North End vs. Derby County (English Championship) — ESPN+

9:30 AM: Portland Thorns vs. Chicago Red Stars (NWSL Challenge Cup) — CBS All Access

10:00 AM: Arsenal vs. Norwich City (Premier League) — NBCSN

10:00 AM: Everton vs. Leicester City (Premier League) — NBC Sports Gold

10:00 AM: AFC Bournemouth vs. Newcastle United (Premier League) — NBC Sports Gold

10:00 AM: Malmo FF vs. Djurgården (Allsvenskan) — ESPN+

10:30 AM: Deportivo Alavés vs. Granada (La Liga) — beIN Sports

10:30 AM: Inter vs. Brescia (Serie A) — ESPN+

10:30 AM: Bologna vs. Cagliari (Serie A) — ESPN

11:00 AM: AaB vs. SønderjyskE (DBU Pokalen final) — ESPN+

12:15 PM: West Ham United vs. Chelsea (Premier League) — NBCSN

12:45 PM: SPAL vs. Milan (Serie A) — ESPN+

12:45 PM: Lecce vs. Sampdoria (Serie A) — ESPN2

12:45 PM: Fiorentina vs. Sassuolo (Serie A) — ESPN+

1:00 PM: Real Valladolid vs. Levante (La Liga) — beIN Sports

7:00 PM: Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Courage (NWSL Challenge Cup) — CBS All Access