The FA Women’s Super League is coming to NBC Sports and USWNT star Sam Mewis is excited to showcase the burgeoning league in England.
[ STREAM: Watch WSL live on NBC Sports ]
Get ready for WSL action to make its TV debut in the USA this Sunday as Manchester United v. Chelsea will be shown live on NBCSN and 50 games during the 2020-21 WSL season will be shown across the NBC Sports platforms as part of a season-long partnership with Atalanta Media.
Through the partnership, NBC Sports will present WSL matches between September and May, including at least 12 matches on NBCSN, with other games on the NBC Sports app and on NBCSports.com. This season the FA Women’s Super League features USWNT stars Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis of Manchester City, who signed over the summer and will be in action live this Saturday v. Aston Villa at 9:30 a.m. ET on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com.
Ahead of that clash, ProSoccerTalk caught up with USWNT star Sam Mewis, a key player in the USA’s 2019 World Cup win, as she’s swapped the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL for Man City in the WSL.
Here’s how Sam Mewis, 27, is getting on in her first few weeks at Man City as she made her debut in the FA Community Shield at Wembley (a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea) and is getting ready for her WSL debut this weekend.
Sam Mewis, welcome to England! How has it been so far? Have there been any big surprises or takeaways?
Sam Mewis: “It has been great so far. We were disappointed with the result against Chelsea, but obviously Chelsea is a great team and I think it has shown some areas we can continue to work on. Overall, I’ve been really happy with training and with the girls and the staff. Everybody has been so welcoming. I’m just excited for the season to get started because I think we have a really great group and it’s going to be exciting for me to play in the WSL for the first time. I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”
How excited are you for the 2020-21 WSL season, overall?
SM: “It is really exciting. As a player and a person, to experience the culture here, just the excitement around football is going to be really cool. Already with the girls and just at training, I feel like I’m learning new tactics and the facilities are so great. It is so cool to have everything in one place. To start with breakfast and then the way we do things here is just so professional. It has been an awesome experience for me so far. Traveling to all of these new places and being exposed to a new league, new teams and new challenges with all of the trophies up for grabs this season and all the games and what goes along with that. I am really looking forward to the challenge and the experience.”
Why England? Why Man City?
SM: “I’ve always known in my career that I wanted to experience playing overseas. When this opportunity came up it just seemed like the perfect fit. It was something I couldn’t turn down. Man City is obviously a world-class club and to use these facilities and train with this caliber of player and be coached by this caliber of staff, it is such a win-win. It will also expand on what I’ve been exposed to as a player, and playing in the WSL is going to be a big part of that. It is a big part of my growth and development and learning to play a bit of a different system or a different type of opponent. Even just experiencing the rhythm of having a league game, then an FA Cup game and a Champions League game and all the things that go along with that which I’ve never experienced before. The opportunity came up and I was like ‘I’d be crazy to turn this down’ so I’m honored to be here and honored to be part of the club.”
You’re one of the huge transfers to the WSL this offseason, as Pernille Harder has joined the likes of Sam Kerr at Chelsea plus Arsenal, Man United and others are already strong. Is this an exciting time for the WSL?
SM: “I’m really excited for the league. It’s going to have a lot of competition. It seems like it is on this upwards trajectory and I think that women’s soccer in general is on that upward trajectory. I think the NWSL has done so well to put on competitions during a challenging time. In general the trajectory of women’s soccer is going up everywhere. To get to experience this here, knowing that the league at home is doing well, I feel like it is a really positive time and I want to continue to support women’s soccer everywhere. It is obviously growing and having a lot of success.”
How interested are people in the USA in the WSL? Would you encourage more USWNT players to come over?
SM: “The fans have been engaged and it is great to know that the games will be available for US fans to watch on NBC Sports, so I’m glad I have a good answer when people ask me how to watch the games! As for my [USWNT] teammates, individually people are at different places in their careers and if it is the right decision for someone to want to experience playing overseas I think the WSL is a great option. At the same time I am so aware and I know the NWSL league is a great league to play in. I wouldn’t deter anyone from playing there. Knowing that that league is doing so well is so great and I do plan on returning some day, so I think if you have both options you can’t really lose. I think it is a great experience and opportunity to come play here. But I know the NWSL is a great choice as well.”
You mentioned the culture differences: any challenges so far from a culture or language/accent point of view?
SM: “It has been okay. A couple of times with some of the girls I will be like ‘what!?’ and I won’t get one of the words or they spoke too fast or have a strong accent or something. For the most part I’m comfortable saying ‘what!?’ if I need to, then they just kind of laugh at me. There have been a couple of things, me and Rose [Lavelle] have been talking just over Facetime because she’s still in quarantine. But we can’t figure out the washing machine! It seems like they take so long, and we are just having an issue with that… So hopefully we can figure that out if we’re going to be here for a while!”
What do you hope to achieve during your time at Man City? Both from a personal point of view, and as a team?
SM: “We haven’t explicitly discussed this as a team since I’ve only been here for a few weeks. I don’t want to speak on behalf of the team but I would imagine we will have high expectations with winning some trophies. Like the league or the FA Cup. We definitely want success on the field in the form of championships and trophies. From what I have heard, continuing to grow and develop the group, I feel like it is going to be a group that has a lot of depth. Being able to play everybody and all of these incredible players that are here, and do that seamlessly when we do have a lot of games in one short window will be a really important part of having such a deep team. Then personally, I want to obviously help this team succeed and win games and be a contributing member, but I think personally I want to take away some individual growth and development and have this time here to improve as a player and really continue to just work on my own game. Being exposed to some of these new things will just add to my own depth as a player and what I am capable of on the field. I am excited about that.”