A familiar name to local soccer fans with long enough memories is returning to the local scene this weekend.
Lori Lindsey, who played for the short-lived Philadelphia Independence in 2010 and 2011, has come back to town and joined the Union’s TV crew. She will work as a studio analyst on select broadcasts for the rest of the year, starting with Sunday’s game at Minnesota United (4 p.m., PHL17; Spanish-language broadcast on UniMás).
“I am so happy to be back," she told The Inquirer. "I loved it when I played here, and knew in the last year and a half that I wanted to make a move. I happened to land in Philadelphia, and what a special place it is.”
Lindsey, 39, moved to town recently to join her girlfriend, who works in the area.
After ending a 13-year playing career in 2014, she tried a range of pursuits, from personal training to soccer and LGBTQ causes. She also gained a place on the U.S. Soccer Federation’s influential Athletes’ Council, and later was elected to the governing body’s board of directors. She still holds both positions.
Along the way, Lindsey was prodded by former U.S. national team colleague Kate Markgraf to give broadcasting a try. Markgraf has worked at ESPN for a while, and saw potential in Lindsey. Last year, Lindsey decided to give it a shot, and now regularly calls NWSL, USL, and college games.
“I felt further away from the game than I wanted to, and analyst kept stuff kept coming up and I was dodging it for a while," Lindsey said. "I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to give this a go,’ and here I am.”
Lindsey’s work got the attention of another national team alumna, Vineland native Jill Loyden, who worked on Union broadcasts a few years ago. She connected Lindsey with the team’s broadcast crew. It also helped that Lindsey already knew studio host Marisa Pilla from working together on the NWSL’s draft show in January.
It’s hard to believe that it’s already been eight years since the Independence, and the league they played in, went under. Then again, it feels like an eternity since the 2011 Women’s World Cup, in which the U.S. reached the final for the first time since 1999. Lindsey played on that team, earning one of her 31 national team caps.
Which is to say that she has plenty of pedigree, in case anyone wonders. Now she is joining the growing ranks of female analysts on local MLS broadcasts.
“We’ve played at a high level, we analyze games just as well,” she said. “I think that at this point in time, people are like, as long as you know what you’re talking about and are fun and have a unique perspective, it’s exciting regardless of your gender."
Union goalkeeper Andre Blake and midfielder Warren Creavalle will join their respective national teams’ pre-Gold Cup training camps after Sunday’s game. Blake will join Jamaica’s squad in Washington ahead of a friendly against the United States on Wednesday (7 p.m., Fox Sports 1 and Univision Deportes). Bethlehem Steel defender Jamoi Topey, a 19-year-old prospect, has also been invited to the camp.