Alex Morgan Becomes A Mom, Ionescu Is The FIrst 2020 WNBA Draft Pick, Coco Gauff Opens Up About Her Depression
Just In Time For Mother’s Day! USWNT Star Alex Morgan Becomes a New Mom To A Baby Girl
By Haley Brettschneider, Julia Carroll, and Chloe Robinson
Soccer superstar Alex Morgan and her soccer loving husband Servando Carrasco are expecting a baby girl in April! Morgan, one of the top female scorers in international history, has a whopping 107 goals and was Captain for the US women’s team at the World Cup in France this past summer. She writes on social media “We are already in love and we haven’t even met her yet. Newest member of the Carrasco family, coming soon,”. Carrascos soccer team, LA Galaxy, tweeted back “Congratulations Servando and @alexmorgan13.” The whole soccer community is buzzing with excitement over the baby. On top of this, Carrascos team is preparing for a playoff match against the Los Angeles Football Club!
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Sabrina Ionescu Is The First 2020 Draft Pick for the WNBA; Gianna Bryant and Mamba Academy Teammates Are Honorary Draft Picks
By Zac Cornell
Sabrina Ionescu, the history-making top point guard for the Oregon Ducks was unsurprisingly the first pick in this year’s WNBA draft and will be joining the New York Liberty. The superstar basketball player is a new marquee name for the WNBA and is expected to help raise the profile of the New York Liberty and women’s basketball within the world of sports. The WNBA recently signed a new collective bargaining agreement which promises much higher salaries for female basketball players and increased investment in marketing for the league. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert has stated, “A big priority of mine is to focus on marketing the league and our players. Driving household names and engaging them with fans in a different way is a thing we’re continuing to work on.”
The virtual draft was held via video conference, consistent with all sports drafts this spring due to the coronavirus. Training camp and the start of the season have been put on indefinite hold due to the pandemic as well.
Another exception for this year’s draft were three honorary draft picks: Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli, and Payton Chester who were all rising stars in women’s basketball and members of the Mamba Sports Academy who died in a helicopter crash in January alongside their coach Kobe Bryant and five others.
Gianna Bryant’s mom (and Kobe’s wife) Vanessa Bryant said, “It would have been a dream come true for her,” about being drafted to the WNBA. “Kobe and Gigi loved the WNBA. Thank you. I want to congratulate all of this year’s draft picks. Congratulations. Work hard. Never settle. Use that Mamba Mentality.”
In another honor to the late Kobe Bryant, who was an important champion for women athletes, Engelbert announced the new “Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award”, which will be awarded annually to “an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the visibility, perception and advancement of women’s and girls’ basketball at all levels.”
“Kobe was an incredible champion of women’s basketball and Gianna shared his passion and dedication to our game,” Engelbert said. “The Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award will honor their legacy and reflect Kobe’s commitment to mentoring the next generation of players, promoting the game and giving back to the community.”
The first award will be presented at the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in Indianapolis by the WNBA and the Bryant family. Vanessa Bryant will help select the first recipient and will continue to present it to honorees at every future All-Star Weekend.
Tennis Phenom Coco Gauff Speaks Out About How Her Rapid Rise Led To Depression
By Kate Kissell and Ana Wilmer
Coco Gauff says on her Instagram handle, “I’m just a kid who has some pretty big dreams”. It has been speculated by many that this American teenager will be the successor to 38-year-old Serena Williams.
Gauff turned 16 last month and says her doubts about pursuing a life in tennis really took form when she first played at Wimbledon as a junior, about one year before her incredible run to the fourth round in the championships last summer.
Coco goes on to say in Behind The Racquet, an online platform for players to tell their story, “Right before Wimbledon, going back to around 2017-18, even though I had, it felt like there weren’t many friends there for me.”
She continued, “When you are in that dark mindset, you don’t look on the bright side of things too often, which is the hardest part. I don’t think it had much to do with tennis, maybe just about juggling it all. I knew that I wanted to play tennis but didn’t know how I wanted to go about it.”
She stated her frustration saying, “It took many moments sitting, thinking and crying. I came out of it stronger and knowing myself better than ever. Everyone asks me how I stay calm on court and I think it’s because I accepted who I am after overcoming low points in my life. Now, when I’m on court, I am just really thankful to be out there.”
Coco Gauff built on her Wimbledon accomplishment, and caused expectations to rise even further when she reached the third round of the US Open, then the last 16 in Melbourne, where, for the second time in only seven months, she beat Venus Williams in the very first round of a slam.
Coco presented herself in a consistently mature manner, and surprised many with her calmness even as huge contracts began coming in. While Serena Williams was fighting to seal her legacy with a 24th major, Gauff was being named as the best prospect of her generation.
Coco explains that although she put up a strong front, she was indeed struggling internally to handle the pressures known to have damaged Jennifer Capriati, Tracy Austin and Andrea Jaeger. Years after their struggles, Coco has Bianca Andreescu and Naomi Osaka for company, but of course she must travel her journey alone and it has definitely been a struggle.
She talked about how important tennis is to her saying, “I’ve always wondered how better or worse my life would be without tennis,”. She continued saying, “I found myself too busy comparing myself to others. Most of my friends go to normal high school. I felt like they always seemed so happy being ‘normal’. For a while I thought I wanted that but then I realized that, just like social media, everyone isn’t as happy as what you see in their posts.”
When Coco became the youngest player in the WTA top 100 and 49th in the world rankings she was happy; however, she also felt the struggle doing school alone and being unable to socialize with friends started to take a toll on her feelings for tennis. Yet she did add that she does appreciate her routined life by saying, “Even though I may miss some things, I think this lifestyle I live is perfect for me, and it’s not for everyone. Travelling is never easy. I have two younger brothers and we are all really close. Every time I leave them it hurts a bit. I miss one of my brothers’ birthday every year because it falls right in the middle of the French Open.” Sadly, due to the coronavirus outbreak, Gauff’s grand slam tournament will probably be cancelled, along with the French Open which will most likely be moved to the end of August. Gauff’s openness about her mental struggles is particularly valuable as May is mental health awareness month.