Player's Own Voice

POV podcast transcript: Kaylyn Kyle

Unapologetically outspoken Soccer analyst and former Canadian National team (and professional) player Kaylyn Kyle holds forth on whatever topics she damn well pleases, thanks very much.

Player's Own Voice podcast November 8 2022

Kaylyn Kyle on Player's Own Voice podcast

Episode 6-05 

Anastasia:  Kaylyn Kyle was a linchpin in Canada's trailblazing women's soccer team when they brought home Olympic bronze medals in 2012. They undoubtedly lit fires under the simmering national desire to get a women's pro league going in this country.

Firestarter is a good label for Kaylyn. She's never been shy about courting controversy in her thoughts about the game, and that has only added to her well-earned reputation as one of today's most incisive soccer analysts.

I could go on about the Saskatoon girl's accomplishment for ages, but the fact is Kaylyn Kyle can and does speak for herself.

It's player's own voice. I'm anastasia buscis.


Girl. It is so nice to see your face and I honestly am so grateful that you even give me time because I think you're the hardest working person in showbiz, baby. Like, what are you not doing? Let's start there.

Kaylyn Kyle:  I'm not sleeping for one. I'm drinking a lot of wine at night-time to get me through the day. Or just get me through the night.  And I'm drinking a lot of coffee in the morning. But it's good. I mean, I feel like I always say this to people. I feel like we can't complain anymore since the pandemic happened because we were all stuck at home for almost two years. And so now I'm like, Give me all the jobs, because I don't ever want to go back to being locked in my house with a three year old and my husband. No offence to them. Absolutely adore them both. But now we have another little one. So I just I couldn't imagine anything worse than being in lockdown again.

So, yeah, I'm here with Inter Miami you know, MLS season is just wrapping up. And then I'm also working for Bein Sports USA here in America, in Miami covering Ligue 1, the French League, and then the Turkish Super Lig. And then I also do a show on Sunday nights that kind of does like a wrap show of all the leagues around the world, all the top European teams and clubs, and then also big competitions I also work for CBS. So I cover the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, Champions League, Europa League. Actually just finished doing the Women's World Cup qualifiers with them as well. So we were in Monterey for the semi-finals and final, which was really cool to see the growth of women's football, to actually have a production and a stage and a set pitchside just to air those games. So that's been really cool. And then my latest is I actually haven't even announced yet and I don't know if I'm allowed to. So you're getting an inside scoop on this. 

Anastasia:  Oh, we love that.

Kaylyn Kyle:  I'm going to Qatar with Bein Mena. So it's like the one of the biggest, I guess. Production companies over in Europe. The owner, of Bein, he actually owns PSG as well. So I thought I was going as an analyst and I'm actually going as a presenter, which is like literally my dream job. I'm really nervous, but I'm learning from someone like you.  So I'm like watching your stuff in the Olympics and everything.

So I'm trying to take pieces from everyone. This is how this is how you become the best.

Anastasia:  So do not flatter me like that. I'm learning from you. You're down in Miami. You've been there for a minute. You say, ice hockey. Now, girl, you got to get back up to Canada. It is hockey. It is not ice hockey. Are your kids ever going to have little Canadian accents?

Kaylyn Kyle:  I don't know. Hayden, sometimes he'll come out with like he'll sound a bit English. And I'm like, my husband doesn't even really sound English anymore. So I'm like, That's a bit strange. I think it's from watching Bluey on Netflix, if I'm being completely honest, and then my youngest is, yeah, I feel like they've got like a mix of like some Canadian things they pick up for me, some English things they pick up from my grandparents. But yeah, they're very Miami. They speak better Spanish than me, so they'll talk to me in Spanish and I'm like, I have no idea what you're saying.

So Ah, Nanny helps me out with that. But that's one thing I do love about being here is they're around so many different people and cultures and communities and I mean how incredible for your kids to be able to speak two languages.

Anastasia:  So if I am lucky enough to have kids 100%, they're learning French and English.

Kaylyn Kyle:  And I'm devastated that my mom and dad never put me in French immersion, like devastated.

Anastasia:  So it's just so hard when you're an adult, like, your brain is like, No, no, I don't want to learn anything more.

Kaylyn Kyle:  This is my thing. I feel Like because we work so hard, that when we come to sit down, because that's what I'm doing. I'm doing like Duolingo. I have like a Spanish tutor here and then my nanny helps me out as well. She only speaks to me in Spanish and like forces me to speak Spanish. I feel like my brain's mush and it just comes out like blahbahblah . And she's like, Excuse me? Like, my tutor's like, what is that? I genuinely am so exhausted. Anyways, I can get it. I have enough Spanish to get by. So.

Anastasia:  So you've mentioned the nanny and I've got to ask, how do you balance it like you are so busy and you have two beautiful boys?

Kaylyn Kyle:  That's the one thing that's been, I think, the most difficult because we don't have any friends or family that live close to us. Like literally it's me, Harrison and the two boys. So we have I don't even like calling her a nanny. If I'm being completely honest. It's literally like my second mom.

She is incredible. She's Venezuelan. We got so lucky. We found her just before the pandemic. And yeah, my boys, I mean, my Hendrix started calling her. Hendrix was calling me Dahlia for like the first, like, two months. When he first started speaking, I was like, No, I'm your mom. I'm not Dalia. But like, I never everyone's always like, do you worry when you travel? And I know this sounds like bad parenting. I don't even think about the kids being in trouble or worry that they're not taken care of. Because I trust her. I think I trust her more with my kids than I do myself at times. Like she's got two kids as well. They're late in their teens, so they always come over. We like share dinners, birthday parties travel together. So yeah, she's definitely part of our family and yeah, so grateful for her.

Anastasia:  I would love to have kids, but I'm also nervous because I know that I'm selfish and I'm self-absorbed at times, I can be right? And so I recognise my own limitations.

Kaylyn Kyle:  But that was me. I'm like, I'm a selfish person in the way where I love my freedom to be able to travel, but I feel like kids are very adaptable. Throw them in planes or throw them at stadiums with us. I mean, Hayden was in studio with me the other week and he just sat there like quiet as can be. I'm like, Why are you not like this at home? Because every 2 seconds it's like the South Park, little boy, where he's like, Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mommy! So yeah, I just feel like kids, they're adaptable and they just love being around you and they like being part of it. They like being treated like adults. And, you know, we're really lucky. We have two really well-behaved kids. All the parents watching this are going to be like, you're full of crap, but I'm being genuinely honest, some days I want to rip my hair out, but they are literally the most well-behaved boys in the world.

Anastasia:  What sports are they going to play?

Kaylyn Kyle:  I would love… this is the only tricky thing with Florida is, I know we have the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, good NHL teams down here, but it's really hard to find rinks here. So it's even more expensive than it is in Canada because there's limited rinks. We don't have a winter time. Like, I mean, it's 104 degrees out right now, which is like probably 35 degrees in Canada or 30 degrees Celsius or whatever in Canada. So yeah, I don't know. I definitely want them to play sports. It doesn't have to be competitive. I just think sport builds character, it builds communication. It just builds skills that you don't really get when you don't play sports and its not just my upbringing.

I know it is maybe not for everyone, but yeah, I'm finding in the States though it's very academic driven, which scares me. Like Haden's in grade, like pre-K, and the parents that come in are like, What are they learning today? And I'm like, Let kids be kids. Let kids learn, let kids make mistakes. Like, I feel like there's so much pressure nowadays on kids to get good grades. The homework that's sent home, the trying to get into colleges and I never went to college and I turned out okay, so you don't go down that path. It's okay. So that's one thing that we are trying to teach our boys like at a very young age is you don't have to fit in the mould to fit in the world, especially down here in America, because it is very academic driven.

Anastasia:  What does that mean for a four year old, though?

Kaylyn Kyle:  That's what it was like!  Even Hayden was delayed in the speech a little bit and we did the speech therapy and everyone's like, Are you embarrassed? I'm like, No, because like, why would I be? I spoke about it on social media. Because a lot of people are scared to have those conversations and being a parent is hard enough already. So why wouldn't you? I don't know. I just think that some people just, like, try to turn things into a negative when we should be, like, uplifting people. You created a human. They're alive. They're thriving. As long as they're happy. I genuinely don't care what they do if they're loving and respectful.

Anastasia:  Have they been back to Saskatchewan? Your Sasky Roots. I got to go there.

Kaylyn Kyle:  I hate saying this. We can just cut this part. Oh, I love SASL. Okay, I do. And I know that you have a cabin there. I would rather spend the money to travel overseas than spend three grand to get back to Canada because it is so it's more expensive to go back to Canada and go back to Saskatchewan in particular than it is to go to Europe, which I which is crazy to me because like I'm not paying  $3500. to go to  minus 50 in Saskatchewan in the winter time to sit there at Christmas and freeze to death. So, yeah, that's why we don't really go back often. My mom always comes down here and then we always go to Europe, so.

Anastasia:  Well, that makes sense. She's just a snowbird. Like, I feel like half of Florida is just Canadians who are sick of the cold.

Kaylyn Kyle:  Yeah, no, no, no. I love Saskatchewan. Don't get me wrong. I'm actually going back there at the end of the month to Regina to accept that I was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. So I'll be back there. It'll be brief, but it'll be good. It'll be nice to see all my friends and family for sure.

Anastasia:  How did the province make you who you are, though? Or is that too abstract  a question? 

Kaylyn Kyle:  I think this is why I hate saying that I don't really go back to visit, because if it wasn't for Saskatchewan and the people in Saskatchewan, I would have never been the person that I am and then be the player that I became. Because there it's a really weird, great community. People want to see other people do well and I don't really see that a lot, especially like I was talking about in the States. It's very like how much money you got, how many followers you got on Twitter and Instagram and I am like. Hi, I'm Kaylyn. Very nice to meet you.

In Saskatchewan. It's more about you get to know your neighbour, you're outside. You can have a beer with someone at a restaurant, you can go to a pub and you can meet 20 people. And everyone I just feel like is so welcoming. So when I first kind of got on the scene with the national team, there was definitely some people that would… you get the 'my daughter should be there and you shouldn't'. But for the most part it was very much like getting handwritten letters from parents and kids: You're so inspirational. I'm like, What? Me? I don't see myself in that realm.

Now that I have boys, I have my own children. I'm like, Wow, now we're watching the Canadian women lift gold. And my boys are sitting there screaming on the couch. And I'm like, Those women are now inspiring three year olds. And I didn't think I was inspiring anyone at 14, 15, 16 in Saskatchewan. So yeah, I would not be anywhere without being from Saskatchewan. And that's one thing that I hold near and dear to my heart. You look at all the athletes that have come out of there, and they're not just these superstar athletes. I wouldn't even put myself in a superstar athlete. I would say a good athlete that came out of Saskatchewan. But you look at someone even like Mark McMorris. Mark McMorris, you would never know that he has won 11 X Games. I mean, Olympic Games back to back. Hayley Wickenheiser. I mean, there's so many incredible Saskatchewan athletes that are so down to earth, and that is because of the people and how you are raised.

And that's one thing that I always say: what's so different about Saskatchewan athletes?  They don't have these personas of like, I have all this money, I'm living this lavish lifestyle, I travel the world. They're like, I want a beer and I want to go to the Raiders game and let's go check out a Saskatoon Blades game or get Margueritas downtown. That's the one thing I do love about Saskatchewan and the people that have come out of there that have been, you know, these successful athletes that I think every time I talk to one of them, that's the one thing that they always say is they are like, the people have definitely made me who I am and they've kept me grounded, which allows you to get even better at a role because you're not you're willing to learn from other people to get and improve, whatever if it's in the working world. The Doctor, Nurse I just feel like, yeah, it's just a really cool place to be.

Anastasia:  What was the most Sasky reception after London 2012? I mean, bringing home that bronze baby- and you dived out of the way like…

Kaylyn Kyle:   oh, god, yeah. Diana matheson You're welcome. No, I think I blacked out. I remember I was watching it the other day and Harrison was like, What the hell run was that? I was like, I honestly don't know. I was just trying to affect the game and I didn't even really want to go into that match because we should have lost about four or five :nil, but I remember coming home and it wasn't the reset. The reception at the airport was really cool, but it was actually I went to my uncle's lake in Regina, just outside of Regina, and all my friends were there because it was like summer. Like they all have like cabins and stuff out there and we just like, drank beers. I'm, I'm drinking a lot on this show. I'm really sorry. This is what happened.

Anastasia:  That's all right. Yeah, somebody's got to say it. Oh.

Kaylyn Kyle:  But, yeah, we were just, like, on boats. We were like, on the lake. Just, like, hanging out on the dock with all my family, all my friends. And it just brought you back down to being grounded, because the week before that, I was in Vegas, like, I don't remember the week, but then you come back to Saskatchewan and it was like the most memorable time because all these people that supported you all those years, travelled all over the world to come watch you, sent you those messages. I mean, ICQ back in the day, you know what I mean? 

Anastasia:  was that the text message where you could just, voice? No, I don't  think ICQ was around in 2012.  No, it wasn't. ICQ in 2000? I'm saying Y2K.

Kaylyn Kyle:  I do miss ICQ. I'm not going to lie. And the old dial up Internet. I do miss dial up Internet because that is one thing that drives me insane is like when you go to a restaurant and you look around and everyone is on their phones. But yeah, no, that was definitely the yeah. For me the most memorable is just going back home and seeing my grandparents, they were too old to travel to London. So that was really cool to be able to see my grandpa and he was proud as can be like prancing me around like to all of his mates, at the curling rink. Asking if I want to curl and I was like, no, I don't want to curl. I'll come watch you.

Anastasia:   I love that you say, you know, I can't even remember Las Vegas, going there at a party, but going back to Saskatchewan, it was just so grounding. Yeah. You are a very, very grounded person. You are drop dead gorgeous. You like nice clothes, you're chic. Have you found people ,or do you think people struggle to reconcile beauty with brains still? 

Kaylyn Kyle:  100%.  And it drives me insane. Like there is a lot. And I think this is the one thing, too, is like I think that you've seen a shift. If you turn on the TV now, there's always a woman on a panel or hosting or and usually it was the host. Now you're seeing a little bit more analysts in there, which is incredible. Now you're seeing women's World Cup with female analysts on the game with males mixing, because I think that's important as well. And I like having this conversation and I feel comfortable having this conversation with you. I don't feel like for a women's World Cup that it should just be all women. I think it should be the best people for the job. Do I think women should be leading that charge? Abs o frickin lutely, because we have so many talented people. But why can't we have a pitchside reporter that's a male if he's really good at his job?

So I think there's a lot of networks that are really mixing that extremely well. You look at CBS here in America, you look at BBC for the women's euro. They had a really good mix with Alex Scott. We did not charge down there, but I do think when someone turns on the TV, no, I've never gotten this yet. Maybe I will. And the more I keep growing and developing in the industry. But I feel like maybe when people first tune in, they're like, Oh, what's this dumb bimbo, blonde Barbie on my TV for? And then they hear me and they're like, Okay, I'm going to get back on my box.

So there's definitely conversations and I've heard conversations around me when I can hear these people saying 'What does this blonde know about football?'  And I think for me, I know some people say 'That's so disrespectful.' But I kind of love it because I can't wait for you to sit down next to me, say something so stupid or something that the game doesn't even revolve around. And I'm going to put you back in your box for not only the comment that you made, too, that you didn't know I heard it, but for your stupidity, because you actually didn't do your homework and you didn't watch the game. You don't know what you're talking about.

So I think a lot of people either like me or hate me on TV because I'm very blunt and very honest. I don't mind having conversations. You're male, your female, I don't care your gender. I want to have a good conversation because I think no matter on the men's game, because we can be critical in the men's game and people are like, oh, you can't be as critical on the women's game.

Anastasia:  Why? I hate that.  I have got to steal this from Sami Jo Small, she said once. We will all know we've made it when we can say Hayley Wickenheiser had a crappy game, you know, and obviously Hayley's retired. But yeah, I completely agree. We at times put this filter over women's sports and it just drives me bonkers.

Kaylyn Kyle:  I can put my hand up. I did it when I first retired from the Canadian national team. I was not a cheerleader, but I was very positive in the way because I played with a lot of these players. I didn't want to be that girl on TV to be like Christine Sinclair missed an absolute sitter who wants to be that person with the goat, the best player in the world?

And now I feel like because I am getting more respected within the industry when these players do hear me commentate on games… You know when you haven't had a good game, do you know what I mean? Like, you know.  But also now these women are on these platforms that you're getting 80,000 people in stadiums, you're getting these big deals, you're getting signed on contracts. A deal just happened over in Europe, $450,000 transfer fee to Barcelona for a woman. What? That's never happened before Trinity Rodman and then they'll be getting a $1,000,000 contract like that shouldn't shock us that should be the norm. And I think if you want that to be the norm, the commentating has to be the norm as well.

Anastasia:  You have never shied away from being opinionated. What lessons have you learnt through, you know, some of your opinions? Have you ever had to walk yourself back and explain yourself like, oh no, that's not what I meant.?

Kaylyn Kyle:  A few times there was a, you know, where I get myself into trouble. It's actually on Twitter now. If they come at me and I'm like, okay, I'm just going to, you know, put you put you back in, you've had a bad day, but like, don't come at me in your mum and dad's basement right now because you're having a bad day. But yeah, the most criticism I ever got was the Women's World Cup when the US women's national team was celebrating and it was like 11, 13 against, I think it was like Thailand that they were playing and I was like, well, it's, it's just disrespectful.

Anastasia:  Can we clear this up?I know this was what, three and a half years ago or three years ago, but let's clear it up. Okay. So the United States, I believe they beat Thailand, 13 nothing. You know, you don't want to take your foot off the gas. Everyone understands the premise of goal differential, especially in a World Cup. You don't want to look like the Harlem Globetrotters. But what was your issue with it?

Kaylyn Kyle:  So my issue and you just nailed it because when you're in tournaments, you want to score as many goals as you can. I wouldn't have cared if it was 25 nil, genuinely. And I get it, a lot of people were like, well it was, you know, Rose Lavelle's first goal in a World Cup. I get that, I've been a player. Don't mind that. Didn't mind Rose Lavelle celebrating, it was senior players on the team that should be leading by example, that were doing outrageous goal celebrations. It's different if you're going to your team-mates high fiving,  and a hug but it was like it was a bit out. It was outrageous. Let's just be completely honest. I get it. If it's game.

Germany is one nil to nil, even if the game was maybe four nil at that point. But when you get into like tens, it is a team that literally probably has posters of Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan on their walls and again at the end of the game, the Thai players were hugging the U.S. players. And it was probably an amazing moment for them. I don't know. I've been in games where you've been thumped out and you already feel so bad. It doesn't matter if you idolise these players.

It's still like we've gotten to the world's biggest stage and we literally have an embarrassing scoreline.  So that was my only issue with it. This brings you back to Saskatchewan. You learn these things. Growing up in Saskatchewan, I go to my dad's hockey game. I mean, he would blow out teams, but it wasn't I don't know. I think it was just it's not a culture thing because, I mean, there was people in America saying, that's it. Just I don't know. For me, it was just three and a half years ago. Let's let it go. Okay. I still can't let 2012 go.

Anastasia:  Oh, you know who also can't let 2012 go is Melissa Tancredi. Oh, I got to get her on this podcast, too. I'm almost embarrassed that she hasn't been on.

Kaylyn Kyle:  She's staying with me at the World Cup, so. Well, we'll do a little cameo appearance with you all through there.

Anastasia:  I am going to give you a little compliment and I don't even know if you know this. It's so funny. I'm like one of my New Year's resolutions is just to give people compliments if I think about them. A lot of your team-mates have said that you're one of the most brilliant soccer minds they've ever played with. Why? Why do you think that is?

Kaylyn Kyle:  You know what? I have to give a lot of credit to John Herdman. And I'm not doing this to, you know, kiss his ass or anything like that. I genuinely I always understood the game. But I think also growing up in Saskatchewan – it always goes back to Saskatchewan. It's just a big sports province. So for me, I mean, I grew up at the rink watching my dad play. Now, tactics, obviously, of ice hockey are different than soccer, football, wherever you are in the world. There's a lot of similarities. The movement, the structure, creating overloads, you know, formation, changes going on. A power player, penalty kill, etc.

So for me, growing up around that, I feel like maybe that helped me kind of trigger how my brain works on the pitch. But then when John Herdman came in for me, he made everything click. And it's no disrespect to any of the former national team coaches that we had, but for me I never learnt tactics for many of them and I know that sounds very harsh in a lot of players like playing for former for for former coaches of the Canadian Women's National Team. I didn't I didn't enjoy it. Carolina Morace I know a lot of people don't speak very highly of her. I learnt a lot from her in Italy. And because how Italians play, they grow up, they live, breathe and eat it. In Canada, we don't. We watch hockey, we watch CFL, we tune in to sports in America.

Soccer was never a sport that we would turn on when we grew up. We didn't have it in the Olympics. I never watched the World Cup growing up, which is crazy to think. So yeah, for me it was Carolina and John. John came in and out of our structure, added, implemented and broke it down and simplified it in a way where it just clicked. It made sense. I started seeing pictures clearer. I started seeing, you know, when watching games. I wasn't just watching the ball. It was watching movements off the ball, players rotation, how the formation changed. And yeah, I think for, for me it was learning from someone like him, but then almost reteaching myself when watching games. Don't just watch it to enjoy it, watch it, to enjoy it, but also learn and grow from it.

And I think that was one of the things with that group in 2012 and on until I retired where I just saw the game differently, I just really enjoyed it and I get excited being able to tactically talk about it, tactically break it down into tactically help other players that might have struggled with it. Sometimes that definitely came off annoying because I was always the person in the meeting that was like, John would be like, Does anyone know? And I'd be like, yes. Anyone else? No. Like, shut up, Kaitlyn. You know what I mean?

But yeah, I definitely owe it all to John. He just triggered something in me where I'm like, I knew I loved the game, but, like, I think that's why it was so easy for me to transition out of playing the game because I knew I was always going to be in the game. I knew because of how my brain worked and how I could kind of see the game visually different than a lot of other people. I knew that I would be successful in media. I just had to learn how to talk into a camera, learn how to read a teleprompter. Like there's a lot of stuff in TV where I thought I didn't know any of it. So that that definitely comes down to John and Carolina.

Anastasia:  Do you ever get sick of talking about soccer?

Kaylyn Kyle:  No. I love it

Anastasia:  I love sports. But sometimes I'm like, I just have to sit and look at a picture  or listen to a piano. Like, I'm like, I need some arts or something. Like, I need to go do an interpretive dance. I think.

Kaylyn Kyle:  I think for me, because it's like our whole family's in soccer. Like my father in law, he's the head coach of Minnesota United. Harrison is the head chief scout of Minnesota United.

Anastasia:  Harrison, of course. Being your husband.

Kaylyn Kyle:  Yeah, and both my boys play. They both love it. They both love golf as well. But for me, it's just sport. Like, I really got into F1 this year. Because of the drive to survive? I think I know everything and like, Oh, did you see Max Verstappen  with podium?  I'm like, P1, what the hell? I didn't know what P1 was eight months ago.

Anastasia:  Yeah.

Kaylyn Kyle:  But yeah, there's I just I love sport in general. I genuinely love sport. It doesn't matter what it is. I know this is going to sound crazy. The one thing I need to get into down here is the NFL. I just. There's something about it. I'm like, I don't know. I just can't buy into it yet, but.

Anastasia:  Well, come on. You're from the prairies.

Kaylyn Kyle:  I know, I know. I'm just like. I don't know. Hockey. Yeah, but it's different down here in America. People don't to tune into hockey until, like, the playoffs.

So yeah, I think that's. And then now I'm like, I cover so many different leagues where it's just like, I have to watch it or else I'm screwed if I go on air because I'm like, I literally have to watch like eight different leagues and then NWSL as well. So I know what's going on with the national teams, but.

Anastasia:  How do you look back on your own career? Do you think about it?

Kaylyn Kyle:  No, I know it's so weird. Like everyone always says this and it's not that I'm ungrateful or that I'm not proud. I'm just like, I'm so proud of the family I've created. And I know that's like. I don't know. Maybe that's why I don't think about it like I. All my energy and all my love goes into my two baby boys. So, like, soccer is great. Soccer's amazing. But if I lost it tomorrow, I would be like, I would be fine because I'm like, my boys give me so much happiness. But yeah, I don't know.

I'm really grateful for the opportunities. I'm grateful to represent my country, my professional career. I wish I would have. That's the one thing I wish I would have stayed in Europe. I wish I wouldn't have come back to the NWSL. But other than that, like, I mean, who can say that they won an Olympic medal? Not a lot of people who can say they'd been to two women's World Cup, not a lot of people and have a home World Cup at that.

So I think there's definitely a lot of memories where I'm like this, for instance. And I know this sounds so bad. I'm inducted to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and i wasn't going to go home for it. And it was my brother in law. He was like, Kaitlyn, wake up. Look at all that you've accomplished. And he was like, If you don't go back, you're in a regret that when you're like 60, 70.

Anastasia:  I totally agree with your brother in law.

Kaylyn Kyle:  Yeah. And I didn't think of it that way. And it wasn't me being disrespectful to the world. I'm literally so proud that I had gotten it. But and then it was the phone call, the lady that was like booking all my travel, and she was from Saskatchewan. And as soon as I got on the phone, she was the nicest woman in the world. So delighted to have me. And I was like, Kaylyn, you selfish b.word. Like, what were you even thinking? Why was this even a thought process? You weren't going to go back in, like to be at this award ceremony and miss work here and be away from your kids for three days anyways. It's just yeah. I don't know, it's, it's different when you have kids though. It's, I don't know, I don't think about anything else. I know it sounds bad and maybe that's selfish.

Anastasia: Do you, like, ever dream about it?

Kaylyn Kyle:  Like, what do you mean now?

Anastasia:  Yeah, like, do you ever feel , wake up from a nap and you're diving out of the way for the game winning goal.

[sound up from 2012 London soccer goal]

Kaylyn Kyle:  No, I don't. I think I am so at ease with how everything ended for me. I wasn't pushed out of the programme, but I wasn't selected in the programme, if that makes sense. It was that limbo of like, do you want to keep fighting for a spot or do you want to leave on your own terms? Then it was with the NWSL I hated playing in it. It was like it was chaotic. Why?

Anastasia:  Yeah, why? Why? Sorry you mentioned it.

Kaylyn Kyle:  When it first came. Like now it's like obviously you have ownership coming in the teams in California where it's like women driven women owners that know what they're doing, women owners that actually speak to the players:  what do you guys need in order to become successful? We didn't have those conversations. It was like, Here's your accommodation, by the way, you don't have heating in it and there's rats in the basement. You had a terrible soccer coach that spoke to you so disrespectfully.

And like, I mean, you've seen all this stuff in the media. I played for three of those coaches. So like, it wasn't all roses and sunshine in the NWSL for me. It actually really made me start hating soccer. And my dad always told me, when you start hating the sport, it's time for you to step away. And I remember it vividly and it was in Orlando at the end there, and I was waiting on my green card. I've actually never told this story either, but now I feel comfortable that I can. You're getting all like the hits for this.

Anastasia:  Thanks, honey.

Kaylyn Kyle:  . And I loved Orlando. Absolutely loved Orlando. I came back early from the World Cup. Usually players go, they get like two weeks off just to, like, rest and recover. I went straight back in so I could play in the games. I decided not to go to Rio as an alternate, to stay, to get games, and I was waiting on my green card. I knew Canada wasn't going to offer me a contract in order to stay in the league.

But I knew once I got my green card that Orlando could offer me a contract and they said, Yeah, we will do all that. Waiting on my green card, waiting on my green card two weeks before pre-season, they pull me in. They're like, we're actually not going to retain your rights. Now, the European window was closed and like, it's not like we're on multimillion dollar contracts. Like I was on $13,000 from Canada Soccer before taxes and I was paying for my own housing at the time because I had a dog and I didn't think it was fair for me to bring a golden retriever into another team-mate where maybe they don't like dogs because you don't sometimes get to choose who your roommate is. It was like, I'll pay for my own housing. So I was paying 1500 dollars a month plus renting furniture. So I was literally making. No money. So for them to do that, I was just like, it's disgusting. And I was like, I'm hurt. And to have a conversation that's so nonchalant and to be telling me, No, you're in our plans. And it was a former coach that I had as an assistant coach for Canada, which really rubbed me the wrong way as well.

It really left a sour taste in my mouth for how certain teams treat players within the NWSL. That's changed a lot. There's still some of it still going on with their ironing out those kinks. A lot of those teams aren't in the league anymore, but yeah, that was a deal breaker for me. I'm 32 making no money, breaking even every month. And you're telling me two weeks before pre-season, after you've told me I'm in your plan? So yeah, that was that was kind of like my, my 'ick' moment with soccer and I was like, I'm done. I'm ready to walk away. I've got the medal. Did the World Cups, made amazing friends along the way, and I always knew I wanted to get into TV. So I was like, let's just. Let's just do it. Let's try it.

Let's see: sink or swim at this point.

Anastasia:  No, I think you're swimming for TV, my friend. It is sad, though, when you look back and you go, Oh, that relationship was transactional, but that hurts a lot when you're an athlete and it's very difficult to describe.

Kaylyn Kyle:  I get it, it's a business at the end of the day. But unfortunately, when your players are on absolutely zero money and having to uproot their lives at a drop of a hat because we had no protection in our contracts, we're not male soccer players where we're on 2 or 2.5 every month or £400,000 a week where we're like, okay, we have to move our family. No problem. I'm going to hire 700 people to come in, pay $40,000 to uproot my house, move everything over, have my house ready as I land on a private jet.

We're flying economy, middle class, 18 suitcases paying for our own baggage. It's crazy. It's absolutely crazy.

Anastasia:  What are your hopes and dreams for Canadian soccer? Because that's been a hot topic.

Kaylyn Kyle:  Yeah. And it should be a hot topic, which is. Which is really sad. Do you know what I mean? Like this conversation we've been having for since 2012. We have the players, we have the infrastructure. You have players like Diana matheson, players like Steph Labbe. Since retiring, since retiring that are putting together a programme to field a domestic league, have had conversations with certain organisations within Canada that have kind of just been like, We'll get there when we get there.

These players literally got you Olympic medals. Why wouldn't you keep these world class players, world class coaches, world class business minds in your own backyard and be like, right, let's get together?  Let's get into a room, let's create a domestic league. You have Rhian Wilkinson pushed out of Canada Soccer, one of the best coaches sitting second in the league in the NWSL, Carmelina Moscato, with the biggest club in Mexico with los Tigres, head coach there, I mean Melissa Tancredi, a top chiropractor in Canada, two practises now in Vancouver, you have all these incredible people still within Canada, still trying to grow the game, but it just feels like it's like bashing your head. it honestly feels like when I'm trying to pack my four year old at bedtime. 

I'm like if we could just work together to create something magical. And everyone's like, just join the NWSL. That's not the answer. NWSL franchises are going for about 25 million a franchise. Keep that money in our own backyard. Let's create our own domestic league. That's fund our own players. Let's give them a pathway. So it's just not we're not just winning Olympic Games. We're winning World Cups.

The best teams in the world are -because let's call a spade a spade- the best teams in the world aren't at the Olympic Games, there at the World Cup. That's the biggest tournament. It's a longer tournament. It's spread out. It's more difficult. You have to have a deeper bench in order to be successful. And that's why the U.S. and Germany have been so successful at it, because they've had grassroot developments, God, since I was born.

So, yeah, it's sad. I mean, I was in Spain at the Barcelona game for Champions League 92,000 people, an incredible domestic crowd. I went to their domestic league game while I was there and I was like, Why don't we have this? Why? How do we have two professional male leagues? And no women's league? its beyond me.

You know, someone like Christine Sinclair that's going to be retiring soon. Why wouldn't you want her back in Canada being a GM at one of these clubs, being the spokesperson for a domestic league in Canada? I don't know. It's just it's super sad. It's super hurtful. And the more and more I see Nick Bontis, the president of Canada Soccer, be like, it's coming, it's in the plans. And then I see all of his tweets have nothing to do with meeting players or anything like that.

It literally infuriates me to the point where I'm like, I need to get off Twitter before I say something that is going to get me in a lot of trouble. And you know me, I love a little bit of trouble, but like, yeah, it's, it's really, really sad. It's super sad. And like, you even have our men's players boycotting games to get equal pay and get the women that conversation where the women have been having that conversation for like more than eight years. And it took our men's team to boycott a game going into a World Cup for you to be like, okay, it's time for us to take the women seriously now, like. Yeah, it's, it's super frustrating as a woman now and especially now, I have my own kids, they're males. I don't have female baby girls, but I do have nieces. What if they want to play for Canada one day? Where's that? And they come to me being like, I could play for the U.S. or I could play for Canada. Who do you want to play for? I'd be like, Well, the grassroots development in the United States is way better. There's a foundation, you have protection, you're getting paid. These players are on multimillion dollar contract sponsorship deals. And yeah, I just think we need in Canada people to put their money where their mouth is and fund it. It's a new business. You're not going to make money for the first couple of years. That's normal. Look at the EPL, same thing. And the MLS. Some teams still aren't making money and that's been around for over 25 years. So and you're seeing the growth of the MLS, it's huge now.

Anastasia:  It's massive.

Kaylyn Kyle:  Yes, massive. Some of them some teams can't even get tickets to. You're looking at NWSL, the San Diego Wave, can't get tickets to it now. In Portland. I mean, it's literally incredible to see that. But like, I want to see that in Canada. I don't want to see us join the NWSL. I want to see our own domestic league where we have multiple Canadians playing on multiple teams, not 11 on one team travelling to the United States, 8 hours on a plane economy class.

Anastasia:  What needs to change for that to happen?

Kaylyn Kyle:  Having conversations? I mean, you have players that are behind the scenes right now working on funding a domestic league. They have the development, they have the foundation. They just need investors. We need investors. We need people to step up. Like I said, put your money where your mouth is, invest in it. Take a chance on it. I mean, I'm not being funny. Look around. If woman if women ruled the world, we'd be in an amazing place.

Let's think logically here. But I think too, like, we couldn't really have these conversations where we could have them now. And I think, you know, the United States stepping up for equal pay. You have the Netherlands, you have Spain, you have all these incredible domestic leagues. You have England women winning the euro, selling out Wembley. You have English Premier League players at Wembley celebrating with these players, asking these women for tickets to the game. Like if England can do it, the old school mindset of women should be in the kitchen cooking and cleaning, selling out Wembley. I mean, they just sold it out again against the United States. Again, it doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make any sense.

Anastasia:  Boom! I could talk to you for 5 million hours, so maybe we just pitch a show together. I don't know, like, mean, how do we work together?

Kaylyn Kyle:  I feel like I could get you in a lot of trouble, though.

Anastasia:  I need a little trouble in my life. I've been holed up in my house. No, seriously. Thank you so much for being on the pod. And again, you got to come back. And I think we should have Melissa Tancredi, you should give me live updates from Qatar. Are we saying QaTAR? Are we saying QATer?

Kaylyn Kyle:  I'm going to get clarity because when I was there, I was saying Qatarr and they're like, that's fine because you're from this side of the world. But over there they do pronounce it differently, oh my God, how they pronounce it!

Anastasia:  I've always said Qatar.

Kaylyn Kyle:  No, it's not. It's definitely not Qatar.

Anastasia: Okay, so don't listen to me. We'll edit this one out. You know, you are a beauty. I appreciate you so much. Thank you so much.

Kaylyn Kyle:  Thank you so much for having me.

Anastasia:  Peace.

Kaylyn Kyle connected with me from her home in Florida, and I rolled our chat from my home in Toronto. Players own Voice podcast is a CBC sports production. We're available on CBC Listen and everywhere else you get your podcasts. Hashtag player's own voice. I'm Anastasure on all things social. Olivia Pasquarelli is our editor. David Giddens is our producer. Thanks for listening.