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Kickin' Back

Kickin' Back

By Kickin' Back
This is Kickin' Back, a podcast by The Equalizer. Women's soccer is filled with incredible personalities and untold stories. Since founding The Equalizer ( in 2009, Jeff Kassouf has been telling those stories. On this podcast, he sits down one-on-one with personalities from across the game to discuss their journeys.
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Kickin' Back on Podcast Row at the 2021 United Soccer Coaches Convention
Dr. Colleen Hacker, David Copeland-Smith and Ashlee Fontes-Comber join Jeff Kassouf on Podcast Row at the 2021 United Soccer Coaches Convention. Dr. Hacker discusses her decades of experience as a mental skills coach and performance psychologist at the highest levels of international sport. Then, Beast Mode Soccer and My Soccer Training app founder David Copeland-Smith sheds light on the rise of individual training, and United Soccer Coaches vice president Ashlee Fontes-Comber discusses investment in women's soccer.
January 22, 2021
Kickin' Back with Lisa Baird
With the chaos of 2020 behind her, NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird joins Kickin' Back to recap a successful but challenging year, and teases what’s ahead for the league, including expansion strategies, the relationship with U.S. Soccer, and a league rebrand ahead of the 10th-anniversary season.
December 17, 2020
Kickin' Back with Esmeralda Negron
You can thank Esmeralda Negron for the ability to watch live European women's soccer on TV each weekend in the United States. She co-founded Atalanta Media with Hannah Brown, together founding a company which is redefining the value of women's soccer media rights. Negron joins Kickin' Back to discuss jumping into a startup, the future valuation of women's soccer, and how her successful playing and coaching career led her to this role.
December 11, 2020
Kickin' Back with Meg Linehan
What's it like to be a full-time women's soccer reporter? Very few people can actually answer that. Meg Linehan is The Athletic's women's soccer reporter who breaks news and tells in-depth stories across the sport. She joins this episode of Kickin' Back to discuss the job, from the long hours to the nuance of managing relationships, why paywalls exist, and what future coverage of the sport might look like. Follow Meg on Twitter @itsmeglinehan and find her articles here. Click here to listen to her podcast, Full Time.
December 04, 2020
Kickin' Back with Lauren Barnes
Lauren Barnes — better known by most as "Lu" — played professionally in three different countries in 2020 despite the global pandemic. She is a Reign franchise original since the inception of the NWSL in 2013, and one of the most consistent defenders in league history. She joins the pod to discuss her career and her especially wild 2020, which included a championship in Australia and Champions League qualification in Sweden.
November 27, 2020
Kickin' Back with Heather O'Reilly
You know Heather O'Reilly as the fierce competitor who won Olympic gold medals and a World Cup title with the United States women's national team. Now, Heather is a mom, a coach at UNC, a TV broadcaster and an entrepreneur. 'HAO' joins the pod to talk about life after soccer, her new view on life as a mom, learning from her old coach in new ways, and even some crazy high school memories.
November 20, 2020
Kickin' Back with Vero Boquete
Vero Boquete is a pioneer in Spanish women's football. She outlines why she has no regrets over sacrificing her own international career to stand up for the next generation of players, and shares stories of being the only girl in her town who played soccer growing up. Now, there is a stadium named after her there, and she just signed with AC Milan, making Italy the eighth country she has played in professionally.
November 13, 2020
Kickin' Back with Kelly Simmons
Kelly Simmons is the director of the women's professional game for the FA. She joins Kickin' Back to discuss the professionalization of women's club soccer in England, the rapid growth and internationalization which followed, and the ongoing balancing act which next year will see a homegrown player quota introduced.
October 30, 2020
Kickin' Back with Vlatko Andonovski
Vlatko Andonovski went from an unknown to the head coach of the two-time defending World Cup champion United States women's national team in a matter of seven years. He joins Kickin' Back to share his coaching journey, including learning the women's game from scratch and some hard lessons along the way. Andonovski also shares his thoughts on the first U.S. training camp in over seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
October 20, 2020
Kickin' Back with Kristie Mewis
Kristie Mewis is in the form of her life for the Houston Dash, which earned her a return to United States national team camp. Kristie shares her journey of falling out of favor with the U.S. -- her last cap was over six years ago -- to being traded multiple times in the NWSL and finding herself after her ACL injury in Houston. Her revival is among the best on-field stories in a weird 2020.
October 15, 2020
Kickin' Back with Jenn Hildreth
If you watch women's soccer on TV in the United States, you've heard Jenn Hildreth call a game. The longtime play-by-play voice of the National Women's Soccer League — among many other competitions — joins Kickin' Back to discuss how different it is announcing games remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and how that might shape the future of sports broadcasting, plus her favorite memories from covering the NWSL and the now defunct WPS.
October 12, 2020
Kickin' Back with Lesle Gallimore
Lesle Gallimore is the commissioner of the newly formed Girls Academy, and elite youth league which was formed after U.S. Soccer dissolved the Development Academy. Gallimore is a longtime coach and has a vision for a unified approach to youth soccer and one which eventually incorporates support from the professional ranks. She shares her visionary plans on the latest Kickin' Back.
October 07, 2020
Kickin' Back with Jess Fishlock
This week, Jess Fishlock joins Kickin' Back to discuss her experience at the NWSL Challenge Cup, the uncertainty of the future, and the circumstances that led to her current loan with the WSL club Reading.
August 21, 2020
Kickin' Back with Aly Wagner
Aly Wagner joins the Kickin' Back podcast to discuss her career broadcasting soccer, the big stories and tactical trends we saw at the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, and the future evolution of women's soccer.
July 31, 2020
Kickin' Back with Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm
United States women's national team legends Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm join the Kickin' Back podcast to discuss why they are investing in the new National Women's Soccer League team in Los Angeles, which will begin play in 2022. Foudy and Hamm discuss their vision for the team, why they are so optimistic about the state of the league, and how quickly they were able to get 12 other former U.S. players on board with investing. Read more about the new LA team here.
July 22, 2020
Kickin' Back with Shea Groom
Shea Groom joins the Kickin' Back podcast to discuss her arrival at the Houston Dash at a time when she needed a fresh start. Shea discusses why she plays with a chip on her shoulder and how that influences her tough but creative style of play, plus why the entire new-look Dash team has embraced that identity.
July 14, 2020
Kickin' Back with Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams
Unexpected house guests, a Peloton bike, and exceptional cooking: these are the quarantine stories of roommates Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams, who are teammates on the North Carolina Courage and U.S. women's national team. Williams and Mewis are also player representatives on the NWSLPA and USWNTPA, respectively. They discuss their roles in making the NWSL Challenge Cup happen and in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
July 07, 2020
Kickin' Back with Saskia Webber
Former United States international goalkeeper and World Cup champion Saskia Webber joins Kickin' Back to talk about what the sport was like in the '90s, including her experiences as game-changer in 1999 and the mixed-emotions she had as an alternate at the 1996 Olympics. She also discusses the U.S.' ability to produce great goalkeepers, and women's soccer's ongoing fight for equality.
July 03, 2020
Kickin' Back with Nicole Hercules
Nicole Hercules is the chair of the United Soccer Coaches Black Coaches Advocacy Group, the first woman to hold the role. Nicole and I discuss the need for more Black coaches across all levels of soccer, the need for those hiring to better educate themselves on diversity, and how her group is working toward change. Nicole also shares her experiences in bringing soccer training to Black communities.
June 25, 2020
Kickin' Back with Jamia Fields
Houston Dash forward Jamia Fields joins the Kickin' Back pod to discuss racism and being a Black player in the National Women's Soccer League. Jamia and Dash teammates recently participated in a protest in downtown Houston, the hometown of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25. Jamia shares that now, at age 26, she is just starting to have conversations about race outside of her family.
June 13, 2020
Kickin' Back with Yael Averbuch West
NWSL Players Association co-executive director Yael Averbuch West joins the podcast to discuss racial inequality in the world, and how NWSL players are using their platforms to speak out against racism. Yael and Jeff have a self-reflective conversation about their roles in combating racism. Yael also speaks about the players' ability to secure guaranteed pay for the NWSL Challenge Cup during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the health challenges which made her step away from the pro game (but why she'll never use the word "retired").
June 12, 2020
Kickin' Back with Beverly Yanez
Beverly Yanez retired from professional soccer in early 2020 after a decade of playing at the highest level. She was drafted by the Washington Freedom in 2010, won a WPS title with the Western New York Flash in 2011, and then went to play in Japan after WPS folded. She had a week to sign that contract, drive across the U.S., get married and get to Japan. Beverly details that story and how playing for INAC Kobe Leonessa in Japan changed her career and her outlook on life. She returned to the U.S. in 2014 and played for the Reign in the National Women's Soccer League for six seasons. Now, she's exploring her new passion for coaching the next generation.
May 21, 2020
Kickin' Back with Ali Riley
Ali Riley is the captain of the New Zealand women's national soccer team and she is set to play in the U.S. again for the first time in nearly a decade after signing with the Orlando Pride. Ali discusses her career and lessons from Europe, playing for New Zealand after growing up in California and fighting for the next generation of women's players. She also shares some of her favorite vegan recipes, as well as her choice for the best of the many videos she created back in the day.
May 14, 2020
Kickin' Back with Crystal Dunn Soubrier
Is there a more versatile soccer player in the world than Crystal Dunn Soubrier? She is the starting fullback for the World Cup champions, the United States women's national team, and a starting central midfielder for the NWSL champions, the North Carolina Courage. Versatility is nothing new to Crystal, but only recently did she begin to embrace that as a positive attribute. In this episode of Kickin' Back, we discuss her successful career to date, finding her superpower, silencing the doubters, and how she and her husband deal with working for rival teams.
May 06, 2020
Kickin' Back with Becky Sauerbrunn
Two-time World Cup champion Becky Sauerbrunn kicks it to discuss her rise from a young player lacking confidence to arguably the best center back in the world over the past decade. Her journey includes emergency duty in the 2011 World Cup semifinal, shenanigans and championships in the U.S. pro leagues, and finally coming home to Portland for the latter stage of her storied career to actually get some work/life balance.
May 01, 2020
Kickin' Back with Jill Ellis
Jill Ellis guided the United States women's national team to back-to-back World Cup victories in 2015 and 2019. In between, she faced significant adversity after a quarterfinal loss at the 2016 Rio Olympics. In this in-depth conversation, Ellis and host Jeff Kassouf dive into specific moments along those journeys — the highs and the lows. They also discuss conversations with other top coaches, including Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino, as well as modern tactics and challenges with player management. Music: "Inspirational Outlook" by
April 20, 2020
Kickin' Back: Welcome
This is Kickin' Back, a podcast by The Equalizer. Women's soccer is filled with incredible personalities and untold stories. Since founding The Equalizer ( in 2009, Jeff Kassouf has been telling those stories. On this podcast, he sits down one-on-one with personalities from across the game to discuss their journeys.
April 16, 2020