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The Sports Report: Angel City has its first player: Christen Press

Christen Press
Christen Press
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Kevin Baxter on Angel City: Christen Press has played professional soccer for eight clubs in three countries on two continents. But she’s never played a game at home.

That will change next spring when Press makes her debut for Angel City FC, Southern California’s fledgling NWSL franchise, which made the Los Angeles native and two-time World Cup champion the first signing in team history.

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“The dream of being a pro player in L.A. was always elusive for me,” Press said. “Every team that I’ve played for has always been like, ‘You know, when L.A. gets a team, we promise we’ll send you there.’ And it always felt everyone’s been able to say that because no one knew when it was happening.”

Southern California has been without a top-tier women’s team since the L.A. Sol folded after one season in 2010.

“For it to really be happening, to be able to bring professional soccer back to Los Angeles and to be a part of that team, is nothing but a dream come true,” she said. “A dream that didn’t even feel possible for the majority of my career.”

Although Angel City declined to discuss the details of Press’ contract, sources with knowledge of the deal confirmed it is for three seasons for more than $700,000, making Press one of the highest-paid players in league history.

Racing Louisville FC traded the right to sign Press for Angel City’s first-round pick in the 2022 NWSL draft, $75,000 in allocation money and roster protection from Angel City in the 2021 expansion draft.

“Whether it’s in three years, six years or nine years I would love to finish my career in front of my friends and family and, obviously, the city of Los Angeles,” she said.

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DODGERS

Mike DiGiovanna on the Dodgers: When we last left baseball’s Interstate-5 rivalry, the San Diego Padres had completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers to move to within a half-game of second place on June 23, and Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer had ripped his own team, saying the Padres “absolutely kicked our ass from an intensity standpoint.”

Much has changed since.

Bauer, for starters, has been on paid administrative leave since July 2 while Major League Baseball and the Pasadena Police Department investigate a domestic violence allegation against the right-hander, whose career is in jeopardy after signing a three-year, $102-million deal last winter.

After the Athletic reported on July 29 that the Padres were “close to acquiring” Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, it was the Dodgers who swung a blockbuster deal for the three-time Cy Young Award winner and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner the next day.

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Alex Vesia looking forward to personal homestand vs. Padres

RAMS

Gary Klein on the Rams: With the Tuesday deadline for trimming rosters to 80 players looming, the Rams on Monday waived quarterback Devlin Hodges, running back Raymond Calais and defensive back Paris Ford.

Hodges, who was competing with Bryce Perkins for the No. 3 spot behind starter Matthew Stafford and back-up John Wolford, shared snaps with Perkins in a 13-6 loss to the Chargers on Aug. 14. Hodges completed 11 of 19 passes for 85 yards, with an interception.

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Perkins played the entire game against the Raiders, however, nearly engineering a comeback victory.

Calais suffered a foot injury Saturday night during a 17-16 defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders. He is eligible to come back and be placed on injured reserve

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Even without preseason, Matthew Stafford will keep Rams offense running, if they can

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MLS

Kevin Baxter on MLS: For months MLS has been hyping this week’s all-star exhibitions with Liga MX around former Mexican national team stars Javier “Chicharito” Hernández of the Galaxy and Carlos Vela of LAFC, putting the players on posters, using them in ads and scheduling both to appear at news conferences.

Then on Monday the league scratched the players from the week’s activities because of injuries. Both were set to take part in Tuesday’s All-Star Skills Challenge, a two-hour event matching eight stars from MLS and the Mexican league in five events, and Wednesday’s All-Star game at Banc of California Stadium, the first to match an MLS team against a team of Liga MX players.

“It’s a shame they’re not going to be playing,” Columbus Crew midfielder Lucas Zelarayan said.

UCLA FOOTBALL

UCLA 2021 preseason depth chart.
(UCLA)
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Ben Bolch on the Bruins: UCLA released its first official depth chart of the season on Monday evening, with a few mild surprises.

If the depth chart holds up Saturday when the Bruins play Hawaii at the Rose Bowl in their season opener, transfer Cam Johnson will supplant Jay Shaw as one of the starting cornerbacks. Shaw, who started all seven games last season, is not listed on the two-deep, with freshman Devin Kirkwood listed as Johnson’s backup.

Obi Eboh is listed as the other starting cornerback, over Mo Osling III, after the two split starting duties last season, with Osling starting the final two games.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Wally Skalij on beach volleyball: On the sand in Manhattan Beach on Sunday, Olympic gold medal winners April Ross and Alix Klineman were finally able to play in front of a loud, sold-out crowd with a few watching from the pier. It was a striking contrast from the empty stadium where they played on a manmade beach volleyball court at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo. Shiokaze Park, where the Olympic beach volleyball competition took place, was devastatingly hot compared with the cool overcast Southern California skies.

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In 2020, I covered the NBA Finals and the World Series; this summer it was the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Without spectators, every arena seemed like a huge television studio. A huge part of sports is hearing the roar of the crowd and the energy that fans bring to the game. With the return of the AVP Sunday, that feeling returned, and it finally felt normal again.

Check out Wally’s amazing photo gallery by clicking here.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1904 — Holcombe Ward wins the men’s singles title in the U.S. Lawn Tennis Assn. singles title.

1908 — Tommy Burns knocks out Bill Squires in the 13th round at Sydney, Australia to retain the world heavyweight title.

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1925 — Helen Wills, 19, wins her third straight U.S. Lawn Tennis Assn. singles title with a 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Kathleen McKane. An hour later, Wills teams up with Mary K. Browne to win the doubles title.

1929 — Helen Wills wins her sixth U.S. Lawn Tennis Assn. singles title by defeating Phoebe Holcroft Watson, 6-4, 6-2.

1963 — The Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. is covered by ABC’s Wide World of Sports for the first time.

1963 — Don Schollander becomes the first swimmer to break the two-minute barrier in the 200-meter freestyle with a 1:58.4 time in a meet at Osaka, Japan.

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1963 — John Pennel breaks the 17-foot barrier in the pole vault with a 17-0¾ vault in a meet at Miami.

1988 — Minnesota North Stars forward Dino Ciccarelli is sentenced to one day in jail and fined $1,000 for hitting another player with his stick. Ciccarelli, who was given a match penalty and 10-game suspension by the league for the Jan. 6, 1988 attack on Toronto’s Luke Richardson, is believed to be the first NHL player to receive a jail term for an on-ice attack of another player.

1996 — Hsieh Chin-hsiung sets a Little League World Series record with his seventh home run as Taiwan wins the title for the 17th time with a 13-3 victory over Cranston, R.I.

2003 — Jockey Julie Krone becomes the first female rider to win a million-dollar race taking the Pacific Classic at Del Mar aboard Candy Ride.

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2004 — Four-time world 1,500 champion Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, a heartbreak loser at the last two Olympics, holds off Bernard Lagat down the stretch to win in 3 minutes, 34.18 seconds. El Guerrouj edges Lagat by .12 seconds for the gold medal. El Guerrouj had lost four races in the last eight years, but two of those defeats came at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

2007 — The NFL indefinitely suspends Michael Vick without pay just hours after he acknowledged in court papers that he did, indeed, bankroll gambling on dogfighting and helped kill some dogs not worthy of the pit.

2008 — On the final day of the Beijing Games, the United States beats Spain 118-107 and win the gold medal in men’s basketball for the first time since 2000. China has one of the most dominating and diverse performances at an Olympics ever, winning a games-leading 51 golds and an even 100 overall. The United States finishes with 110 medals and trails well behind the Chinese in golds with 36, the first time since 1992 it doesn’t lead the category.

2008 — Hawaii’s mini-mashers get a little help from Mexico’s miscues to win a fourth straight Little League World Series title for the United States. Tanner Tokunaga smacks two homers and Iolana Akau adds a solo blast as the boys from Waipahu, Hawaii, defeat Matamoros, Mexico, 12-3.

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2008 — Danny Lee becomes the U.S. Amateur’s youngest champion, supplanting Tiger Woods by holding off Drew Kittleson 5 and 4. The 18-year, 1-month-old Lee is six months and 29 days younger than Woods when he won the first of his three Amateurs in 1994.

And finally

The U.S.-Spain men’s basketball final from the 2008 Olympics. Watch it here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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