As far as backup plans go, Sam Mewis has a pretty good one.
The American women’s midfielder who has been out for large parts of the last two years with a knee injury, will anchor the Men in Blazers media network’s World Cup coverage. Mewis will do a daily podcast during the tournament with Roger Bennett, co-founder of Men in Blazers, and host “Live and Dangerous!” Twitch streams, provides commentary and chats with fans and celebrity guests, including Steve Nash and Lilly Singh, during games.
Mewis will also do live interviews with USWNT players from Australia and New Zealand.
“I’m so honored that the Men in Blazers wanted to work with me,” Mewis told USA TODAY Sports ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.
“I’ve admired Roger and Men in Blazers for a long time. I think what they’re doing, the content they’re creating, is so great, especially for American football fans. We need access to the kind of passion that exists in England and in Europe, and that brings Rog. So I’m just really excited to be a part of that.”
Men in Blazers 2023 World Cup plan
Men in Blazers have a robust coverage plan for the World Cup. US captain Becky Sauerbrunn, who is missing the tournament with a foot injury, will join Mewis on the Twitch streams. There will also be a daily newsletter during the tournament.
However, MIB’s focus will not be solely on the USWNT. Canadian forward Janine Beckie, who is missing the tournament with a torn ACL; former England captain Casey Stoney; Chelsea manager Emma Hayes; and Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall have also signed up to work with MIB during the tournament.
The World Cup begins on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand, and the USWNT plays its first match against Vietnam on July 22.
“To be able to unleash this daily stream of content, delving into every aspect of this tournament … it’s a testament to the growth of the women’s game in this nation,” Bennett said. “And it’s magnificent.”
Sam Mewis continues to rehabilitate for potential return
Mewis was a key player on the US team that won the 2019 World Cup, starting five games and scoring two goals. She played in every game at the Tokyo Olympics and had a goal and assist as the USWNT won the bronze medal.
But Mewis has known for months that she would not be able to play in this World Cup, having undergone a third operation in January on the knee injury that has limited her to two NWSL matches since Tokyo.
She still wanted to be involved, especially with older sister Kristie playing in her first World Cup, but Mewis needed something that wouldn’t interfere with her rehab. The MIB opportunity is perfect because it gives her the flexibility to stay in Boston, where her PT clinic is located, with her longtime strength and conditioning coach.
“I’m still trying to get back and play,” said Mewis, who said she doesn’t have a timeline for a return but that recovery is “going as expected.”
“Anytime I can learn and grow in a position where I can still access my PT and my rehab, that always seems like the best opportunity for me because it’s educational, but it also gives me the opportunity to put my first priority first,” she said.
Humor, passion and “Snacks”
MIB also gives Mewis the opportunity to showcase the skills she’s honed over the past two years creating her own podcast, “Snacks,” with USWNT teammate and best friend, Lynn Williams.
“I tell myself I should be sure about this,” Mewis said, laughing. “I’ve done this, I know what I’m talking about, and I can be myself and still be good at it, I hope. I also feel super safe with Roger. I don’t think he wants to make me look foolish.
“I hope I can feel like I can just be myself and bring what I know about the game to the podcast, to the Twitch streams. I think the live commentary piece will be new for me,” she added . “So I’m eager to learn and I think this is such a perfect opportunity to jump in with both feet.”
Bennett said he was thrilled when Mewis agreed to work with the MIB.
The passion for the game Mewis referred to comes from shared experiences found all over the world. A collective memory is created when an entire country or large groups of fans stop to watch a game or tournament, and the story is passed down from generation to generation.
That is what MIB is trying to create here.
“The narrative that surrounds (the World Cup) is fundamental to our audience’s memory creation,” Bennett said. “(Mewis) is that rare athlete who can tell stories. She can take you into the locker room at halftime, where the U.S. has struggled. She can tell us what’s going on in there. She can talk about how it feels to face the fear of defeat and turn the game, as the USA did against Spain at the last World Cup.
“Over all, she’s just damn funny. To create memories for our audience, I can’t think of anyone better than Sam Mewis to do that as a co-host.”
Of course, Mewis would rather play in this World Cup. But at least she’ll still have a chance to make an impact.
“I feel like the coverage is going to be such a unique way for fans to engage,” she said. “I’ve loved watching the (NCAA basketball tournament) coverage so much when they have Sue (Bird) and Diana Taurasi on it. My dream is that it’s going to feel like that for fans who just want a little bit different and looser experience.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armor on Twitter @nrarmour.