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Washington Spirit Sign 2021 Draft Pick Tara McKeown to Rookie Contract

The Washington Spirit have signed 2021 draftee Tara McKeown to a two-year contract with an option for the third year. McKeown has been playing with the University of Southern California after she elected to finish her final spring season with the Trojans.

McKeown, selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft, signed a two-year contract that carries a third-year option with the club. Due to Covid-19, USC and the Pac-12 did not play in the fall of 2020, instead opting to push the season to this spring. 

Spirit Head Coach Richie Burke said the following regarding Mckeown’s signing“We’ve been eagerly awaiting her arrival and she’s hit the ground running at the club in spectacular fashion. It’s easy to see why she was regarded as one of the top players in the college game and I believe she’ll adjust to the professional game very well on recent evidence. Getting her on a multiyear contract was important for me as we expand our roster with an eye on the future. Tara is a player that fits our style of play and one that I expect to thrive in our environment. Welcome to the Spirit Family, Tara.” 

The NWSL granted drafted players the option to either leave school and join their teams for preseason or return for the spring college season; of the Spirit’s five drafted players, McKeown was the only one who opted for the latter. In her final season at USC, she started all 14 games for the Trojans, racking up eight goals and eight assists in the process.

The forward played four seasons for USC and appeared 75 times, 66 of which were starts. Throughout her career, McKeown scored 32 goals and contributed 27 assists. In her junior year with USC, McKeown was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-America first team, Pac-12 Forward of the Year, All-Pac-12 first team and All-Pacific Region first team. 

Spirit Chief Soccer Officer and President of Sporting Operations Larry Best had this to say about McKeown: “Getting Tara signed completed our 2021 draft class so we’re excited to have her officially joining the Spirit Family as she begins her professional career.  She has adapted well in her short turnaround from college soccer to the NWSL and we look forward to her continued growth as part of this talented draft class that is growing into the professional game every day both on and off the field.”

For more information on the Washington Spirit fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

Washington Spirit » Professional Women’s Soccer in DC

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1495 Sports Audio Presents: Interview with Washington Spirit Head Coach Richie Burke

1495 Sports is proud to bring the following audio clip featuring Washington Spirit Head Coach Richie Burke. Included in the interview are thoughts from the Coach as the team is preparing for their first match of the 2021 NWSL Regular Season against the Orlando Pride happening on May 16. The match is set for 6:00 p.m.

For more information on the Washington Spirit fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

Washington Spirit » Professional Women’s Soccer in DC

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New York Liberty get Game Winning Shot to start Brooklyn Era in Style

The New York Liberty opened the 25th anniversary season at their new home, Barclays Center, with a win over the Indiana Fever, 90-87. Tonight’s victory is the team’s first opening night win since 2017 (Washington Mystics 87-76).

Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu tied the game with two free made free throws with 21.8 seconds remaining in the contest. After Indiana guard Kelsey Mitchell was called for a traveling violation with 5.8 seconds remaining, Ionescu hit a game winning three with less than one second left to lead New York to its first victory of the season.

The WNBA’s 2020 Most-Improved Player, Betnijah Laney scored a game-high 30 points on 11-18 shooting from the field in her debut in seafoam.

TEAM NOTABLES

New York shot 47.0% from the field and 50.0% from beyond the arc. The team also shot 83.3% from the charity stripe.

The Liberty had 28 rebounds, 20 assists, 5 steals and 2 blocks.

Three Liberty players scored double figures: Michaela Onyenwere (18), Sabrina Ionescu (25), and Betnijah Laney (30).

Key Runs:

The Liberty got out to a 6-0 run to begin the contest, with two three-point shots from Sami Whitcomb and Michaela Onyenwere.

Despite New York taking a lead of as many as 11 in the first half, there were 8 ties and 7 lead changes.

New York and Indiana each scored 47 first-half points.

With less than one second left in the fourth quarter, tied at 87-87, Sabrina Ionescu converted on a game winning three to seal the Liberty’s first win of the season.

1495 Sports is proud to bring the following New York Liberty Post Game Press Conference from 5/14. This was after the team’s 90-87 victory over the Indiana Fever in the first game of the 2021 WNBA Season. Featured in the video are thoughts from Head Coach Walt Hopkins along with stars Betnijah Laney and Sabrina Ionescu



Up Next:
 The New York Liberty will take on Indiana Fever again on Sunday, May 16 at 2 pm ET.

PLAYER NOTABLES

Betnijah Laney scored a team-and game-high 30 points in her Liberty debut.

Sabrina Ionescu recorded her first career double-double with 25 points and 11 assists. She was only 4 rebounds away from a triple-double, with 6.

Michaela Onyenwere began her career in New York with the best rookie debut in Liberty history, scoring a franchise-high 18 points and 5 rebounds. Before tonight, Kia Nurse held the Liberty rookie debut scoring record with 17 (5/20/2018 at Chicago).

Kelsey Mitchell recorded a team-high 23 points to lead the way in scoring for the Fever, while Teaira McCowan finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds.

For more information on the New York Liberty fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

Home – New York Liberty (wnba.com)

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GOTHAM FC OPENS 2021 NWSL REGULAR SEASON CAMPAIGN AGAINST HOUSTON DASH

Gotham FC will begin its journey to the 2021 NWSL title this Saturday, May 15 in the team’s home opener at Red Bull Arena against the visiting Houston Dash. Presented to Gotham FC fans by Avaya, the match will be available for streaming on Paramount+ and Twitch (international) with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. ET. All fans at the match will receive a Gotham FC schedule magnet and team poster, courtesy of Avaya.

With the preseason and the Challenge Cup officially in the books, Gotham FC turns its attention to the regular season. After a highly anticipated wait, made even longer by the pandemic, Gotham FC finally gets to play in front of a home crowd at Red Bull Arena.

Fresh off a scintillating performance last Saturday in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup Championship that ultimately saw Portland prevail in match-deciding penalty kicks, Gotham FC is primed to continue its winning ways. The team began its Challenge Cup run on a high after winning its first two games in exciting fashion, but slowly saw offensive production decline in the final two group matches.

Gotham FC rallied behind the defensive performance of DiDi Haracic, who finished the tournament with three shutouts, first in saves (20), and recently nabbed NWSL Save of the Week for her fingertip save against a Christine Sinclair shot that was destined for the back of the net. Despite the loss in sudden death penalty kicks in the Challenge Cup Final, Gotham FC extends its run without a loss to six games, the second longest streak for the club, as the team heads into its home opener.

Winners of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, the Houston Dash finished third in the Western division after compiling a record of 1-0-3. Along with Gotham FC, the Dash were one of three teams to finish the tournament unbeaten. The team entered the series with draws in their first two matches and it took the third match for the goals to start pouring in. Their main attack has been midfielder Kristie Mewis, who ranked as the fourth-highest scorer in the competition with two goals and has scored (3) or assisted (5) on eight of the Dash’s last 10 goals going back to last season’s Fall Series. Midfielder Shea Groom and forward Rachel Daly helped round out the attack registering a goal apiece.

Head Coach Freya Coombe on Challenge Cup Performance and Momentum Heading into the Regular Season

“There is an energy amongst the players that they want to keep achieving. For us, just not settling on the fact that we did well in the Challenge Cup. That’s not enough for us. It’s certainly not enough for the coaching staff. It’s not enough for the players. It’s not enough for the organization. For us to now continue to drive and use that momentum is really important and I think it helps set those higher standards for the training environment and what we can go on to achieve. It’s just the beginning.”

Single, group and season ticket memberships are now on sale and pricing details can be found here. Following this home match, NJ/NY Gotham FC will travel to Chicago to face the Red Stars on May 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET at SeatGeek Stadium.

For more information on Gotham FC fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

NJ/NY Gotham FC

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Washington Spirit Renew Sponsorship Agreement with Progressive Insurance for 2021

The Washington Spirit is proud to announce the renewal of their sponsorship agreement with Progressive for the 2021 season. Progressive will be the Official Auto and Home Insurance Sponsor of the Washington Spirit. Progressive is the third largest auto insurer in the country and a leading seller of motorcycle and commercial auto insurance, and one of the top homeowners insurance carriers.

“Progressive is excited to continue our support of the Washington Spirit,” said Jay VanAntwerp, Media Business Leader at Progressive. “We admire the Spirit’s commitment to making an impact in the community and dedication to success on the field. We’re proud to align our brand with an organization that shares our values and look forward to watching the club compete for NWSL Championship in 2021.”

As part of the agreement, Progressive’s name and branding will once again be featured prominently on the yoke of the Washington Spirit’s 2021 home and away kits for all matches. In 2020, Progressive became the Spirit’s first-ever corporate partner to occupy the yoke of a Spirit kit. In the stadium, Progressive will have signage at all home games at both Audi Field and Segra Field. 

Patrick Nightingale, Director of Partnership Marketing for the Spirit, said this about the partnership renewal, “The Washington Spirit are thrilled that Progressive Insurance has re-signed with our organization for the 2021 season. Momentum around the NWSL is at an all-time high, and our goal is to partner with organizations who can identify growth opportunities in sports.”

For more information on the Washington Spirit fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

Washington Spirit » Professional Women’s Soccer in DC

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1495 Sports TV: New York Liberty Shootaround Video~ 5/14

1495 Sports is proud to bring the following New York Liberty video. Featuring thoughts from Sami Whitcomb and Betnijah Laney, as the team prepares for the first WNBA game of the 2021 Season against the Indiana Fever.

The game between the Liberty and the Fever is set for 7:00 p.m. with the action set to air on the YES Network.

For more information on the New York Liberty fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

WNBA.com – Official Site of the WNBA

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Inaugural “Granite Chin Invitational” & “Breakout” pro card part of Day-Night Doubleheader

Granite Chin Promotions has announced it will host the inaugural “Granite Chin Invitational” as part of a Pro-Am card, featuring elite amateur boxers from throughout New England, as part of another day-night doubleheader on June 26th at New England Sports Center in Derry, New Hampshire.

Two winners in each competing weight class of the June 26th “Granite Chin Invitational” semifinals round, marking the first N.E. amateur tournament since the COVID-19 pandemic started more than a year ago, will advance to the August 26th championship final at the same venue. Several open-class amateur matches will also be held during the afternoon segment of this novel twin-bill. 

The “Granite Chin Invitational” is sanctioned by USA Boxing. Some of the top N.E. amateur boxers expected to compete include 2021 USA National Championships gold medalist Arika Skoog, the 2-time N.E. Golden Gloves champion out of Newton (MA); 2-time N.E. Golden Gloves champion Tashawn Ward, a featherweight from Providence (RI); and middleweights James Maner, 2019 N.E. Golden Gloves champion from Providence, and 2-time N.E. Golden Gloves champion Mike Fontanez, of Nashua (N.H).

“I am excited to be hosting an open class tournament in 2021,” Granite Chin Promotions president Chris Traietti. “Once I found out that the New England Golden Gloves was canceled, I felt obligated to do something for amateurs, especially open class boxers with national aspirations, Our tournament may not have the same prestige as the Golden Gloves, but it will give local amateurs a chance to see who the best in New England at their respective weight classes. We recently decided to add pro bouts to the day show as well. Like our last show, we want both shows to be packed with exciting bouts.” 

The pro segment of the afternoon’s Pro-Am card will showcase ABF Atlantic Cruiserweight Champion Yan “Wild Thing” Pellerin (11-1, 5 KOs) vs. Cristiano Pedro, fighting out of Lewiston (ME) by way of Angola in an 8-round, non-title fight. Other pro fights, all 4-rounders, include Canadian heavyweight Alexis Barriere (1-0, 1 KO) vs. New York’s pro-debuting Andrew Nolan, Methuen (MA), light heavyweight Andrew Perez in his pro debut vs. TBA, Springfield (MA) super lightweight Ian “Dinamite” Garcia (0-0-1) vs. Andy Aiello (1-4-1), of Bridgewater, MA, New York cruiserweight Scott Lambert (1-2, 1 KO) vs. Yhago Goncalves (0-3), of Portsmouth (ME) by way of Brazil, and Springfield’s pro-debuting light heavyweight Laurent Humes. Full details about the “Breakout” pro card that same evening, headlined by a 10-round, vacant NABA U.S. heavyweight title fight between Steve “The Gentle Giant” Vukosa (13-1, 5 KOs), of Quincy, MA. and New England heavyweight champion Mike “Fly” Marshall (5-1, 4 KOs), of Danbury (CT), will soon be announced. 

Tickets go on sale this Monday (May 17) and are priced at $25.00 (Day Show) / $40.00 (Night Show) for general seating (unassigned). Unassigned ringside seating will be available at $35.00 per seat during the day show. The night show will offer ringside tables (assigned and seats 4) for $300.00 and are available to purchase online at www.ticketriver.com (Search: Granite Chin Invitational for the day show, Breakout for night show). Doors open at 12:15 p.m. ET and 7:15 p.m. ET (night) with the first bouts, respectively, at 12:30 p.m. ET and 7:30 p.m. ET.