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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Third Editon of ‘Women’s International Champions Cup Best XI Presented by Ally’ Team Announced

Esteemed advisory board selects those doing the most to advance women’s soccer

NEW YORK, Nov. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Relevent Sports Group (RSG) announced today the third class of winners of the Women’s International Champions Cup Best XI Presented by Ally, which is comprised of the athletes, executives, journalists, coaches, owners, and activists who are doing the most to advance women’s soccer.  This initiative continues to expand RSG’s footprint in the women’s game globally and reinforces the organization’s commitment to the growth and development of women’s soccer with a focus on striving for a level playing field.

For the 2022 edition, the advisory board featured six WICC Best XI veterans – Danielle Slaton (2020 and 2022 Board Member), Grant Wahl(2020, 2021, and 2022 Board Member), Lori Lindsey(2021 and 2022 Board Member),Moya Dodd(2020 Winner and 2021 and 2022 Board Member),Kelly Simmons(2020 Winner and 2022 Board Member), andMeskerem Goshime(2021 Winner and 2022 Board Member); and two newcomers – Melissa Ortiz(Former Colombian National Team Player and Current Broadcast Analyst and Influencer) and Tina Shah (Executive Vice President and General Manager at Turner Sports). The board advocated and debated during several sessions and selected the following individuals as the 2022 WICC Best XI honorees: two players – Asisat Oshoala andLinda Caicedo; one coach – Sarina Wiegman; two journalists – Jeff KassoufandAnna Kessel; two executives – Cindy Parlow ConeandAndrea Brimmer; two club founders/owners –Kara NortmanandAngie Long; and two activists – Asma Mirzae andFran Hilton Smith.

Similar to the previous editions, RSG has created an original short film on each Best XI honoree and will highlight one Best XI honoree each day from November 8-18, sharing each person’s film on RSG’s social and digital channels as well as on a dedicated page of the ICC Website.

“Now in its third year, the WICC Best XI continues to cement itself as one of the most coveted awards in women’s soccer.  The winners work tirelessly to champion the women’s game, often in spite of great obstacles. Without the contributions of the 2022 honorees, the women’s game would not have the explosive growth that we’re seeing today. It is an honor to share and celebrate their extraordinary efforts with fans all over the world,” said Susie Fiore, Head of the WICC.  

“We are thrilled to once again to have Ally as the presenting partner of the WICC Best XI.  I am not aware of any other brand that makes equal media and marketing spends in men’s and women’s sports,” said Fiore. “Because we are aligned in our mission of elevating women’s sports to level the playing field, Ally is the perfect partner for us on our WICC platforms.”

“We couldn’t be prouder to continue our support of the Women’s International Champions Cup and its effort to spotlight the game-changers who are forever shifting the landscape of women’s sports,” said Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer at Ally. “This is an honor I share with my amazing sports marketing/PR team who are passionate about the business of women’s sports. Together we are committed to doing the work.”

WICC Best XI Presented by Ally Honoree Bios

Asisat Oshoala

  • Striker for FC Barcelona and the Nigerian Women’s National Team.
  • Widely regarded as one of the greatest African female footballers of all time.  Has won the African Women’s Footballer of the Year a record 5 times (2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2022).
  • First African player to score a goal in a UEFA Women’s Champions League final; first African woman to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
  • First African woman to win the Primera División’s Pichichi Trophy.
  • First African woman nominated for the Ballon d’Or.
  • Highest goal scorer at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, where she was also named the tournament’s best player and top scorer.
  • Won the 2014, 2016, and 2018 African Women’s Championship with Nigeria.  Named the tournament’s best player in 2014 and top scorer in 2016.
  • In 2014, she was named a Member of the Order of the Niger by President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan.
  • In 2021, named in the Forbes 30 under 30.
  • Launched the Asisat Oshoala Foundation in 2019 focused on empowering girl footballers in Africa.

Linda Caicedo

  • Striker for Deportivo Cali and the Colombian Women’s National Team.
  • Caicedo is currently 17 years old and made her professional debut at age 14.
  • She was named the best player at the 2022 Copa América Femenina.
  • Deportivo Cali was the 2021 champions of the Colombian Women’s Football League.
  • Led the Columbian Women’s U-17 National Team to the final of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, where she finished the tournament as winner of the Silver Ball (2nd best player) and Bronze Boot (3rd in scoring).

Sarina Wiegman

  • Dutch football manager and former player who has been managing the English Women’s National Team since September 2021.
  • Earned 99 caps for the Netherlands and played one year at UNC Chapel Hill.
  • Coached the Netherlands Women’s National Team from 2017-2021.  During that time, they won the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro and finished as runners up in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
  • Led the English Women’s National Team to win the 2022 UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, England’s first major trophy since the men’s team won the 1966 FIFA World Cup.
  • First manager to win the UEFA Euros with two different countries.
  • Named the Best FIFA Women’s Coach in 2017 and UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year Award in 2021-22.
  • Named a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Jeff Kassouf

  • Kassouf has been covering soccer, with an emphasis on advancing the women’s game, since 2008.
  • In 2009, he launched the Equalizer, a leading website dedicated exclusively to comprehensive women’s soccer coverage in North America.
  • Co-author of “The Making of the Women’s World Cup” alongside Kieran Theivam.
  • Spent 4 years as a sports producer at NBC Sports, covering 2 Olympics.
  • First US editor of FourFourTwo in 2016.
  • Writer for ESPN.

Anna Kessel

  • Kessel is a British sportswriter who has previously worked for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, and The Observer.  She currently works as Executive Director of Development for SkySports.
  • Co-founder (alongside Shelley Alexander) and former chairperson of the football charity, Women in Football, which lobbies against sexism in football.
  • Radio and TV sports commentator and interviewer, covering several Olympics, FIFA World Cups, and UEFA Euros.
  • Author of “Eat, Sweat, Play:  How Sport Can Change Your Life”.
  • Founder of the Blue Plaque Rebellion, a campaign to unearth women’s sporting history.
  • Awarded an MBE for services to journalism and women in sport in 2016.
  • Named to The Independent’s “50 Most Influential Women in Sport”.

Cindy Parlow Cone

  • Cone is the first female president of U.S. Soccer and one of only 7 female federation presidents across FIFA’s 211 member associations.
  • During her presidency, achieved equal pay for the Men’s and Women’s US National Teams, ratifying new CBAs with both the Men’s and Women’s Teams.
  • Title-winning coach at the grassroots, collegiate, and professional levels, holding a USSF “A” coaching license, including titles with UNC Chapel Hill and the Portland Thorns.
  • Played for the US Women’s National Team from 1996-2004, earning 158 caps while scoring 75 goals (including 7 hat tricks), and creating 35 assists. Was named U.S. Soccer’s inaugural Young Female Player of the Year award in 1998. Won 2 Olympics and 1 FIFA World Cup.
  • She was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2018.  She was a 4-time All-American at UNC Chapel Hill, where she won 2 NCAA titles and won both the Hermann Trophy and the M.A.C. Player of the Year awards as both a junior and a senior.

Andrea Brimmer

  • Brimmer is the Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer of Ally Financial Inc. 
  • She joined Ally in 2006 and has spearheaded the creation of the Ally brand, including the brand’s mantra, “Do It Right”, resulting in the highest consumer brand sentiment and awareness in company history.
  • In a groundbreaking strategy, under Brimmer Ally has committed to give as much marketing and  media efforts around women’s sports as it does to men’s, matching the dollar commitment to media spend between men’s and women’s sports 1 to 1. 
  • Named to the Business Insider list of Most Innovative CMOs in 2022, winner of Adweek’s 2020 Brand Genius award, named to the Forbes’ list of World’s Most Influential CMOs 3 times, and named to the 100 Leading Women by Automotive News 2 times. 
  • Brimmer played varsity collegiate soccer at Michigan State University.

Club Founders/Owners
Kara Nortman

  • Co-founder of Angel City, the first majority-women owned, women-led professional sports team in the US.  Angel City sold nearly 16,000 season tickets in its first NWSL season and renewals for 2023 are near 90%. The club averaged 19,000 fans per game and sold $11million in corporate partnerships.
  • Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures, the largest venture capital firm in Los Angeles. Upfront Ventures is an early investor and long-term partner to tech founders and startups. Over 50% of Nortman’s portfolio is in companies led by women CEOs.
  • Founding member at All Raise, a company founded to accelerate female and non-binary founders and funders to build a more prosperous, equitable future.
  • Attended Princeton University and Stanford Business School.

Angie Long

  • Co-founder of Kansas City Current.  Long and her co-founders announced plans for a new, $70million, 11,500-seat stadium, which is the first to be built specifically for an NWSL team. The new stadium is privately financed through the ownership group.
  • The Current have instituted a community give-back program that steers 10% of sponsorship revenue into nonprofit programs in Kansas City that promote diversity, children in sports, and girls in their future careers.
  • Trailblazer in the world of credit-related asset management. She was named Managing Director of JPMorgan Chase & Co. at age 29 and has held many additional senior roles, including Deputy Head of North America Credit Trading, and her current position of Chief Investment Officer of Palmer Square Capital.
  • Attended Princeton University, where she was an All-American rugby player.

Fran Hilton Smith

  • Formerly employed by CAF, coaching and guiding female football managers with Africa.  She has developed 27 CAF “A” license female coaches (the most in Africa).
  • Former coach of the South African Women’s National Team and former technical director of the South African Football Association.
  • One of the greatest pioneers of women’s football on the African continent.
  • Currently dedicates her time to advancing girls football in schools in rural areas of South Africa.
  • Holds a UEFA “B” coaching license.
  • Author of “Fran:  A Song for Banyana”.

Asma Mirzae

  • Arrived in Australia in 2007 at age 11.  At that time, she knew nothing about football.  Now, she is a trailblazer for women and girls in football, particularly refugees.
  • Helped the Afghan women’s football refugees who arrived in Australia, driving 500 miles from her home to provide the team members with homemade Afghan food.
  • Currently a Policy Advisor at the Office of Women, where her role is to advance gender equality for women living in Victoria.
  • Also a board member at Women Onside, which has a mission to significantly improve engagement, access, opportunity and empowerment for all women involved in football.
  • Working to shift the narrative in Australia around Muslim girls in sport.

About Relevent Sports Group

Relevent Sports Group (RSG) is one of the most influential privately-owned international soccer companies, with a focus on growing the popularity of the sport in North America and Asia. RSG delivers exceptional multi-platform experiences and access for fans across the International Champions Cup, Women’s International Champions Cup, and the International Champions Cup Futures tournaments featuring the world’s top soccer clubs. RSG also invests in and develops platforms to accelerate the growth of soccer, including the first-of-its-kind joint venture with LaLiga to grow the popularity and value of the league in North America.

About Ally Financial Inc.

Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY) is a leading digital financial-services company with $185.3 billion in assets as of September 30, 2020. As a customer-centric company with passionate customer service and innovative financial solutions, we are relentlessly focused on “Doing it Right” and being a trusted financial-services provider to our consumer, commercial, and corporate customers. We are one of the largest full-service automotive-finance operations in the country and offer a wide range of financial services and insurance products to automotive dealerships and consumers. Our award-winning online bank (Ally Bank, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender) offers mortgage lending, personal lending, and a variety of deposit and other banking products, including savings, money-market, and checking accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Additionally, we offer securities-brokerage and investment-advisory services through Ally Invest. Our robust corporate finance business offers capital for equity sponsors and middle-market companies.

For more information and disclosures about Ally, visit https://www.ally.com/#disclosures.

Media Contact:
Matt Kontos, mkontos@rsgrp.com

WICC Best XI Presented by Ally

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Nicole Aniston
Nicole loves to write and works as a corporate communications expert by day. She's been working in the field for quite some time now. Her training in media studies has provided her a wide perspective from which to tackle various issues. Public relations, corporate communications, travel, entrepreneurship, insurance, and finance are just few of the many topics she's interested in covering in her work.
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