Kids Scoop 0n the Road
May 19, 2022
By Ethan Dumper, age 12
KidScoop Media Correspondent
On Mother's Day, I watched Angel City FC play their second-ever league game, attended the press conference afterward, and learned about a professional soccer team that is putting people first. My name is Ethan Dumper, I am 12 years old, and I will never forget that experience.
Pink smoke billowed out of the supporters' section and the steady beat of drums vibrated through the stadium. The energy was high, and Angel City FC was playing just their second-ever league game in the National Women's Soccer League ( NWSL). I was there covering the game for KidScoop Media and got to watch the game from the Press Box. It was a neat experience to be up top with all of the other reporters and to see what it was like to be a sports journalist for a profession. There were at least a dozen different televisions inside, some displaying the jumbotron while others were showing local television channels covering the game. It was two rows each with chairs behind each spot, and each spot contained a little card with your name while there was a sheet with all of the players' names, numbers, positions, and how to pronounce their names. The food was delicious and the view was great. From where I was seated, I could see the entire field, which is helpful when you are writing about a game.
The Orlando Pride scored early with a cross that was deflected off of the goalkeeper and hit a defender before going in. Angel City fought resiliently but struggled to control the narrative. While they took many shots on goal, none of them went in. They lost 1 - 0, but it was a close fight. Afterward, I wrapped up some notes on the game before heading downstairs to the press conference.
Walking into the press conference, my first thought was, "Whoa, this is exactly what it looks like on TV!" There was a table with chairs and microphones in front of an array of chairs for reporters to sit in and ask questions. A backdrop was set up behind the microphones with the team logo and different sponsors plastered all over it, and behind the journalists were TV cameras. After a short wait, the head coach, Freya Coombe, walked in, sat down, and began to start taking questions. One of my favorite things about being a journalist is when someone you're writing about is right in front of you, and you have anywhere from five seconds to five minutes to formulate a question. I had prepared some questions beforehand but realized I needed to stay on topic and discuss the game. Being a kid in a room full of adults, you are often disregarded or treated lightly, which makes it all the better when you put out a real question that takes some thought into answering. "What did you not do today that you would have liked to see happen?" There is always that split second right after I pose a question when I can't tell if the question sounded right or if it made sense, and then there is the split second after that when I realize it did, and relief washes over me. Coombe talked about wanting to pass the ball better, and she expanded on this more. She treated my question no differently than all of the other reporters' questions, and this gave me the confidence to ask more questions. Jasmyne Spencer, one of the top defenders for Angel City, walked in next. Right away I jumped into it asking questions about the game, the attitude of the team, and more. She talked about wanting to be a "fortress at home" and how resilient they were. In the end, I asked her what it meant to be a part of this team, and after hearing this, she smiled and said, "It's a lot of pride. This group is incredible and we are so proud to be a part of history and push the needle forward for the women's game."
Angel City stands out because they are more than just a business. They care about their community and their players, and they show that in many ways. They make it clear that a portion of all of their ticket sales goes to their players, and the founders of the club are all women. Because of this, ACFC strives for equal pay. But, being a new club, it's hard to attract attention and fans. Before the game, I spoke with Daniel Olea, a writer for Zona Deportiva. He said that Angel City is unique in the number of owners they have, which is more than 50, and it was really smart for them to have big names among those investors. Angel City is supporting their players in striving for equal pay and benefiting the players when the club benefits.
Attending the game and press conference was a unique experience, and in doing so, I got to witness an inaugural season to something that could push the needle forward for the women's game.