Tuesday, July 16, 2024

After making her USWNT debut, Mia Fishel is ready for her first season with Chelsea as WSL kicks off on Sunday

Barclay’s Women’s Super League is back and several Americans are abroad ready to begin the season. Forward Mia Fishel is set to begin her first campaign with Chelsea FC and coming off her first appearance with the United States women’s national team. Fans can catch plenty of WSL action this season across CBS Sports platforms like Paramount+, CBS Sports Network, and CBS Sports Golazo Network

Here’s how to watch Barclay’s WSL this weekend:

WSL opening weekend on TV

Sunday, October 1

From Mexico to Europe: Mia Fishel’s uncharted path

Fishel joins Chelsea after two seasons with Tigres Femenil in Mexico. The 22-year-old striker left UCLA after her junior year and declared herself eligible for the NWSL draft and was selected by Orlando Pride, but opted to begin her career in Mexico. She netted 38 goals in 48 appearances for her former club before leaving for a record transfer fee of $250,000.

Her high volume of goals came during the USWNT’s preparation for the World Cup, but she didn’t receive a call-up from former head coach Vlatko Andonovski despite earning one with Andonovski as a college player in 2020. She became the first foreign player in Liga MX Femenil to win the Golden Boot, but Fishel’s first senior USWNT appearance remained on hold until 2023. 

A memorable first cap

During her preseason with Chelsea, she was recently called up to participate with the USWNT during their September window. The pair of friendlies were two celebratory games honoring the retirements of two-time World Cup winners Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe

Fishel earned her first senior cap during a second match against South Africa where the U.S. completed the two-game series with a 2-0 win. She talked about getting to play in Rapinoe’s send-off match after the game.

“Honestly, it’s a privilege, first of all, to be on this team and to be able to play. But to play alongside Megan Rapinoe, being in training this whole week, is just like a dream come true. So, I tried to soak in as much as possible and apply as much as I can in the field.”  

She, of course, had her favorite Rapinoe moment as well. “The cross to Abby Wambach against Brazil. I mean, as a nine, like, those are balls that you dream of.”

“In that context, I think that was a highlight moment, for not only me, but the world and what she’s done. That’s the epitome of Megan Rapinoe. So that’s my favorite moment.”

Looking ahead

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes and her Blues squad are favorites once against to win the league. They’re on a quest to win a fifth consecutive title, and they have the roster to do so with depth that includes Fishel as an option. 

Hayes has been clear with Fishel on her role moving forward, with Fishel sharing a conversation she had with Hayes in an Evening Standard interview discussing a super-sub role for Australian striker Sam Kerr. 

“For the team to be better, I needed to come in to help Sam Kerr when she doesn’t need to be in the game. That [means] a big role.”

There’s no doubt Fishel will compete for minutes on the pitch with Kerr, but there’s already an understanding of how the duo may operate over a long campaign. So, whether it’s playing back up to Kerr, or building off her twenty minutes with the U.S. national team, she’s making sure she’s a target in the attack. It is part of her striker’s identity. 

“It’s one of our principles,” Fishel said after the U.S. friendlies. “[To] just always press high, and try to turn with the ball as high as possible and score a goal. So it’s part of our DNA in U.S. Soccer.

[U.S. Camp] was good. You know, coming from Chelsea, the long flight, came in late. So, I tried to get [in] as quick as possible with the group because I missed the training. But it was all positive vibes. [Interim manager] Twila [Kilgore] was amazing. I feel like this new group has new energy after the World Cup and we’re ready to go.”

Fishel’s first senior cap was a long time in the making, one that started in youth programs, college, and propelled in Mexico. Now, with the USWNT turning the page on the World Cup and looking ahead to the Olympics, Fishel is writing her next chapter in Europe with Chelsea.

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