Short takes

• I genuinely don’t understand what U.S. Soccer is doing with regard to the National Women’s Soccer League, which has games scheduled Saturday and Sunday. There is an international window that starts Monday, during which club teams are required to release players for national team training and games. U.S. Soccer scheduled two friendly matches against China for this period, which is fine. It also decided to require players to join the national team last Thursday, which is not. Why even have an NWSL if U.S. Soccer is going to pull out its players for no reason?

 

• Fulham is coming back to the Premier League next season, earning promotion through the playoffs. The Cottagers have an inordinate number of American fans, thanks to a succession of American players — Brian McBride, Clint Dempsey and Carlos Bocanegra chief among them — who have played in West London. Defender Tim Ream is the nation’s current Fulham representative.

• Zinedine Zidane stepped down as Real Madrid coach shortly after leading the Spanish giants to their third consecutive Champions League title. In 2½ years, Zidane lifted the European Cup three times and won La Liga once, burnishing his legacy at Real Madrid after his amazing playing career there.