Anzidei: From Copa America to the World Cup, soccer is going to be everyone’s business

If I were typing this story last month, I’d be doing so from a cozy, studio hotel off Wentworth Avenue in the Surry Hills neighborhood of Sydney, Australia.

I’d probably be writing in between reporting — maybe about Casey Phair, the youngest player ever to play in a FIFA World Cup, or the Argentina women’s national team. I could be filing this piece before heading down a very slow lift to then catch an Uber to Stadium Australia, where I watched the Matildas and Les Bleues have the longest penalty shootout in World Cup history.


We asked all 32 federations about their plans for Women’s World Cup bonuses and prize money

Instead, I’m writing this from my cozy apartment in Northern New Jersey. Soon, I’ll catch a train to New York City for a Gotham FC event formally welcoming World Cup winner Esther González to their franchise. In this industry, the news never ends.

No matter where I’m writing from, or when, one thing remains the same: I will be writing about soccer — and there really isn’t a more exciting time to write about this sport.

But before I go on, let me introduce myself: I’m Melanie Anzidei, and I recently started writing for The Athletic. You may have already seen my byline during the Women’s World Cup or heard me speak on one of the many great soccer podcasts we have. My first assignment was covering the World Cup, and now I hope to continue telling compelling and unique stories about the sport.

I started at The Athletic after working for my hometown newspaper in New Jersey for nine years. While there, I covered everything from municipal government to business news and sports investigations. For the last three years, my focus has been entirely on sports news. I wrote about youth sports, professional sports, women’s sports issues and was involved in investigations about college finances and abusive coaching. I also played soccer competitively through college and still play around the state.

Now, my focus is to leverage my experience in my new role here.

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Melanie spent a month in Sydney covering the Women’s World Cup for The Athletic. (Photo by The Athletic)

Of course, there’s no shortage of stories to tell about American soccer. It’s no secret the sport is exploding in the U.S. There’s Copa America in 2024, the Club World Cup in 2025, and the men’s World Cup in 2026. There’s also the possibility that the Women’s World Cup will come here in 2027, thanks to a joint bid with Mexico. That’s not even mentioning Lionel Messi joining MLS, or the exciting growth happening with NWSL and leagues around the world.

The different directions a reporter could take are endless. That’s where you all come in.

With these major events on the horizon, we’d love to hear from you. What kind of soccer business stories interest you? Are you concerned with policy or governance around the sport, especially in your local area? Are there issues going uncovered in your hometown as your elected officials prepare for these tournaments? What do you really want to know about the 2026 World Cup?

You can comment below with your feedback or ideas or find me at @melanieanzide on X (formally Twitter) and, trust me, no topic is too big or too small. I’ll do my best to answer a selection of your questions over the coming weeks.

Until then, I’ll be writing away, probably from some obscure coffee shop in New York City or, more likely, right back here from my cozy apartment — maybe, even, looking into a story suggested by one of you.

(Photo: Harriet Drudge/The Athletic)

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