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In 2019, U.S. women’s national soccer team striker Jessica McDonald capped a World Cup journey few could have imagined. A teen runaway who became a single mom, McDonald tells The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer for the first time how she rose from a broken home in Phoenix to the pinnacle of sports in Lyon, France — and how today, she’s using her voice to battle systemic inequalities in soccer, including as part of the U.S. women’s national team’s recent settlement in their landma… Continue Reading >>
In 2019, U.S. women’s national soccer team striker Jessica McDonald capped a World Cup journey few could have imagined. A teen runaway who became a single mom, McDonald tells The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer for the first time how she rose from a broken home in Phoenix to the pinnacle of sports in Lyon, France — and how today, she’s using her voice to battle systemic inequalities in soccer, including as part of the U.S. women’s national team’s recent settlement in their landmark fight for equal pay. Hosted by Alex Andrejev. << Show Less
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Part 7: Smooth as Butter After her first minutes with the U.S. Women&rsquo;s National Team, Jessica McDonald returns to the NWSL, and is once again on the move. This time, it&rsquo;s her entire team, as the Western New York Flash become the North Carolina Courage. McDonald is only paid roughly $13,000 per season; but she flourishes back in the Triangle, where she&rsquo;d once attended college, thanks to a chance encounter with a local family, which turns into a deep and lasting bond. And as McDonald and the Courage dominate the 2018 NWSL season, among the people who can&rsquo;t stop watching: USWNT head coach Jill Ellis.
New episodes coming each Tuesday, through May 17.
To continue supporting journalism like this, visit charlotteobserver.com/payback or newsobserver.com/payback .
Payback is hosted by Alex Andrejev. It's produced by Kata Stevens, Casey Toth, Julia Wall, and executive producer Davin Coburn. The executive producer for iHeartRadio is Sean Titone.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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Part 7: Smooth as Butter After her first minutes with the U.S. Women&rsquo;s National Team, Jessica McDonald returns to the NWSL, and is once again on the move. This time, it&rsquo;s her entire team, as the Western New York Flash become the North Carolina Courage. McDonald is only paid roughly $13,000 per season; but she flourishes back in the Triangle, where she&rsquo;d once attended college, thanks to a chance encounter with a local family, which turns into a deep and lasting bond. And as McDonald and the Courage dominate the 2018 NWSL season, among the people who can&rsquo;t stop watching: USWNT head coach Jill Ellis.
New episodes coming each Tuesday, through May 17.
To continue supporting journalism like this, visit charlotteobserver.com/payback or newsobserver.com/payback .
Payback is hosted by Alex Andrejev. It's produced by Kata Stevens, Casey Toth, Julia Wall, and executive producer Davin Coburn. The executive producer for iHeartRadio is Sean Titone.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Part 6 Bonus: Dr. Tanya Prewitt-White Content warning: This episode contains adult language and adult themes, including sexual coercion and emotional abuse. If you or anyone you know is facing these issues, help is available through RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. Visit RAINN.org, or call their hotline: 800-656-HOPE.
As listeners heard in Part 6 of Payback, the women&rsquo;s sports world has been shaken in recent years by repeated allegations of sexual and emotional misconduct by men in positions of power. In this extended interview, Dr. Tanya Prewitt-White, a sport psychologist and author of Examining and Mitigating Sexual Misconduct in Sport, speaks with Alex Andrejev and Kata Stevens about the complex dynamics in the coach-athlete relationship, how athletes today are redefining their roles as advocates, and how to foster the transformative dialogues necessary for equity and progress in sport and society.
New episodes coming each Tuesday, through May 17.
To continue supporting journalism like this, visit charlotteobserver.com/payback or newsobserver.com/payback .
Payback is hosted by Alex Andrejev. It's produced by Kata Stevens, Casey Toth, Julia Wall, and executive producer Davin Coburn. The executive producer for iHeartRadio is Sean Titone.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Part 6: Hanging by a Thread Content warning: This episode contains adult language and adult themes, including sexual coercion and emotional abuse. If you or anyone you know is facing these issues, help is available through RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. Visit RAINN.org, or call their hotline: 800-656-HOPE.
In 2013, Jessica McDonald makes it to the National Women&rsquo;s Soccer League, the most recent iteration of an American women&rsquo;s pro league. The NWSL&rsquo;s low pay is hard on players &mdash; particularly for single mothers like McDonald. However, when shocking allegations of abuse expose how misconduct runs rampant in a game perpetually struggling for legitimacy, uneven pay scales are revealed to be just one component of systemic gender inequality in soccer. Yet, as McDonald blocks out off-field issues by focusing on her game, the rest of the league can't help but notice her play.
New episodes coming each Tuesday, through May 17.
To continue supporting journalism like this, visit charlotteobserver.com/payback or newsobserver.com/payback .
Payback is hosted by Alex Andrejev. It's produced by Kata Stevens, Casey Toth, Julia Wall, and executive producer Davin Coburn. The executive producer for iHeartRadio is Sean Titone.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Part 5: The Tiny Prophet In 2010, Jessica McDonald is drafted by the Chicago Red Stars of WPS, the women&rsquo;s professional soccer league. The WPS acts as a feeder system for the larger U.S. national team, and McDonald is poised to become the fresh blood the USWNT needs. But in her first pro start, McDonald tears the patellar tendon in her left knee. The best-case prognosis: an 18-month-long recovery. Worst-case? Her soccer career is over. Then, during rehabilitation, perhaps the biggest surprise of the 23-year-old McDonald's life: an unplanned pregnancy.
New episodes coming each Tuesday, through May 17.
To continue supporting journalism like this, visit charlotteobserver.com/payback or newsobserver.com/payback .
Payback is hosted by Alex Andrejev. It's produced by Kata Stevens, Casey Toth, Julia Wall, and executive producer Davin Coburn. The executive producer for iHeartRadio is Sean Titone.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Part 4: Tough as Nails Following the fateful encounter with her mother, McDonald runs away from home. Soon, her grades flounder, leaving her ineligible for Division I athletics at all. McDonald's road to Chapel Hill detours through a nearby junior college in Phoenix, where she improves her GPA &mdash; and rewrites the juco record books as the most decorated female athlete in Phoenix College history. Then, upon becoming Division I eligible in 2008, Anson Dorrance comes calling once more.
New episodes coming each Tuesday, through May 17.
To continue supporting journalism like this, visit charlotteobserver.com/payback or newsobserver.com/payback .
The host of Payback is Alex Andrejev. It's produced by Kata Stevens, Casey Toth, Julia Wall, and executive producer Davin Coburn. The executive producer for iHeartRadio is Sean Titone.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Part 3: The Safe Place Throughout Jessica McDonald's tumultous childhood, there was one person she could always turn to: her grandmother Abbie, who becomes McDonald's biggest cheerleader. McDonald becomes a superstar for multiple Cactus High School sports teams, but the Sereno Soccer Club she plays for after school is where she truly stands out. And as McDonald leads Sereno to multiple state titles, she catches the eye of legendary University of North Carolina women&rsquo;s soccer coach Anson Dorrance. Suddenly, soccer is more than a distraction; it becomes an escape from Phoenix entirely.
New episodes coming each Tuesday, through May 17.
To continue supporting journalism like this, visit charlotteobserver.com/payback or newsobserver.com/payback . See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Part 2: A Coping Mechanism A child of a broken home, McDonald finds her calling &mdash; and her refuge &mdash; on the playing field. She grows up competing against her brother, cousins and other boys in the neighborhood, and no matter what the sport &mdash; basketball, volleyball, football, track &mdash; as the child of two talented athletes, McDonald can do it all. But she now shares for the first time how deceiving appearances could be: McDonald&rsquo;s early athletic prowess hides from the public a childhood of shattered dreams, the ravages of drug abuse, and the abandonment of her father&rsquo;s imprisonment.
New episodes coming each Tuesday, through May 17.
To continue supporting journalism like this, visit charlotteobserver.com/payback or newsobserver.com/payback . See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Part 1: The Roach Motel The 2019 World Cup-champion U.S. Women&rsquo;s National Team was arguably the most dominant team ever fielded by the most dominant institution in soccer. But striker Jessica McDonald remembers that for many people, what that team represented off the field was more important than what it accomplished on it, as fans around the world rallied behind the players&rsquo; public battle for equal pay. Legends of the women's game &mdash; including Julie Foudy, Michelle Akers and Joy Fawcett &mdash; look back at the early days of the USWNT, and a gritty fight for equality that had been unfolding behind the scenes for decades.
New episodes coming each Tuesday, through May 17.
To continue supporting journalism like this, visit charlotteobserver.com/payback or newsobserver.com/payback . See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Introducing Payback From The Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News & Observer, McClatchy Studios and iHeartRadio comes the remarkable journey of Jessica McDonald, a striker on the 2019 World Cup-champion U.S. Women's National Team who might not be a household name, but whose story you&rsquo;ll never forget. A teen runaway, then a single mom, McDonald reveals for the first time how she rose from a broken home in Phoenix, Ariz., to the pinnacle of sports in Lyon, France &mdash; and how today, she&rsquo;s using her voice to battle systemic inequalities in soccer, including as part of the U.S. women&rsquo;s national team&rsquo;s recent settlement in their landmark fight for equal pay. New episodes coming each Tuesday, through May 17.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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