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Major Link Soccer: Gonzalo Higuain surprised by the standard of MLS

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In pursuit of the perfect pitch; a new professional women’s league in Spain.

CF Montreal v Inter Miami CF Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Puget Sound

Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement on numbers used to determine when Washington state will fully reopen. “Many people, myself included, are eager for our state to fully reopen.” Inslee statement on reopening numbers, staying the course | Governor Jay Inslee

The Storm’s venerable point guard returns for a 20th season after winning her fourth WNBA title. Is No. 10 now No. 1 in the city’s sports hierarchy? Is Sue Bird Seattle’s Greatest Athlete of All Time? | Seattle Met

From winning a French title with PSG to finishing her symbolic systems degree at Stanford, Alana Cook has been busy. Alana Cook on OL Reign, USWNT and symbolic systems – The Athletic ($)

MLS / USL

Gonzalo Higuain admitted to being surprised by the standard of MLS since joining Inter Miami. Higuain: I Thought I Could Play With A Cigarette In My Mouth | beIN Sports

It started two years ago with a message of which Wendy Dworkin was suspicious, but culminated in the revival of the storied Rochester Rhinos with new investor Jamie Vardy. THE PROCESS: How Vardy and the Dworkins kicked off the Rhinos deal - Front Row Soccer

NWSL / women’s soccer

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how well-resourced a club’s scouting operation is, or how effective it is at attracting talent; some players cannot be replaced. How things are coming together for the Chicago Red Stars – Equalizer Soccer

Orlando Pride players Toni Pressley and Ali Riley began their vegan cooking show, Girls Gone Veg, to discuss plant-based diets and female sport. Girls Gone Veg: the female footballers hosting a vegan cooking show | The Vegan Review

Mimi’s Fresh Tees also attracted the interest of the Portland Thorns, who helped Adams secure a $25,000 grant after beating their longtime rival, the OL Reign, in the National Women’s Soccer League Fall Series Final last fall. Social justice T-shirt company opens new Portland store - oregonlive.com

England’s FA had a growing problem heading into 2021: they didn’t have a coach to lead England — or Team GB — and the Olympics were just around the corner. Time constraints meant Team GB’s Olympic roster was always going to especially English – Equalizer Soccer

Captain of the Ghana women’s national team, Elizabeth Addo, has called on the Ghana Football Association for high-profile friendlies before their crucial 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Ghana captain Addo bemoans women national team’s lack of preparation | Sporty Africa

Dutch WNT head coach Sarina Wiegman has put in a request to the IOC for a full 22 player Olympic squad, making the typical four alternates part of the regular roster. FIFA supports Sarina Wiegman’s plea, now the IOC must decide | Telegraaf.nl (Dutch)

Liga Ellas will kick off in 2021/21 with 16 teams meeting professional standards, who can jointly organise their competition and can generate income by for example selling television rights. FIFPRO thrilled with new professional women’s league in Spain - FIFPRO World Players’ Union

US soccer

We know the Octagon schedule. USMNT World Cup qualifying opponents set - Stars and Stripes FC

World soccer

The Premier League’s soccer clubs reportedly suffered the biggest collective loss in their history last year. Premier League Suffers $1.4B in Losses | Front Office Sports

They used to look like quagmires, ice rinks or dustbowls, depending on the time of year. But as big money entered football, pristine pitches became crucial to the sport’s image – and groundskeepers became stars. ‘The Silicon Valley of turf’: how the UK’s pursuit of the perfect pitch changed football | The Guardian

The seats, which will be introduced on a 12-month trial basis next season, will allow fans to stand safely for moments such as goal celebrations. Liverpool to install 7,800 safety rail seats at Anfield to reduce risks of standing | The Guardian

A Greenpeace protester narrowly avoided disaster after parachuting into the stadium in Munich before France’s game against Germany. Greenpeace protester avoids accident after parachuting into Euro 2020 game | The Guardian

World champions France started their Euro 2020 campaign with a win over Germany thanks to Mats Hummels’ own goal in a heavyweight Group F match. Own goal sees Euro 2020 favourites France beat Germany - BBC Sport

Paul Pogba was centre stage as France made a winning start to their Euro 2020 campaign against Germany. Paul Pogba helps France to winning start - but did Antonio Rudiger take a bite? - BBC Sport

Cristiano Ronaldo became the top scorer in men’s European Championship history as Portugal beat Hungary in front of more than 60,000 fans in Budapest. Hungary 0-3 Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo becomes top scorer in men’s European Championship history - BBC Sport

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen says he is “fine under the circumstances” as he continues his recovery from a cardiac arrest. Christian Eriksen ‘fine under circumstances’ after cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 - BBC Sport

Tyrone Mings says the England team want to “educate and inform” in response to criticism from Home Secretary Priti Patel for taking the knee. Tyrone Mings: England want to ‘educate and inform’ says defender on taking the knee - BBC Sport

Culture

D&D announced a bunch of products last week. Dave’s excited so he linked his own blog. 7 reasons I’m excited for Witchlight and Strixhaven | Full Moon Storytelling

A guide to the coffee roasters, baristas, and coffee minds that helped shape Portland, Seattle, and the entire region. How the Pacific Northwest Became a Coffee Paradise - Eater Portland

What’s on TV?

6:00 AM: Finland vs. Russia (Euro 2020) — ESPN

9:00 AM: Turkey vs. Wales (Euro 2020) — ESPN

12:00 PM: Italy vs. Switzerland (Euro 2020) — ESPN

3:00 PM: São Paulo vs. Chapecoense (Brasileirão) — Paramount+

3:00 PM: Internacional vs. Atlético Mineiro (Brasileirão) — Paramount+

4:00 PM: Greenville Triumph vs. North Carolina FC (USL League One) — ESPN+

4:30 PM: Fort Lauderdale vs. Toronto II (USL League One) — ESPN+

4:30 PM: Corinthians vs. RB Bragantino (Brasileirão) — Paramount+

4:30 PM: Louisville City vs. Birmingham Legion (USL Championship) — ESPN+

5:00 PM: Rio Grande Valley vs. Austin Bold (USL Championship) — ESPN+

5:00 PM: FC Tulsa vs. Sporting KC II (USL Championship) — ESPN+

5:00 PM: NYRB II vs. Charlotte Independence (USL Championship) — ESPN+

5:30 PM: Memphis 901 vs. Atlanta United II (USL Championship) — ESPN+

5:30 PM: Juventude vs. Palmeiras (Brasileirão) — Paramount+

5:30 PM: Athletico Paranaense vs. Flamengo (Brasileirão) — Paramount+

5:30 PM: Flamengo vs. Coritiba (Copa do Brasil) — FS2

6:00 PM: USWNT vs. Nigeria (women’s international friendly) — ESPN2

6:00 PM: Colorado Springs Switchbacks vs. Tacoma Defiance (USL Championship) — ESPN+

6:30 PM: New Mexico United vs. San Antonio (USL Championship) — ESPN+

7:30 PM: LA Galaxy II vs. Las Vegas Lights (USL Championship) — ESPN+