A thrilling 2011 Women’s World Cup recently came to a close.
Audiences were treated to an entertaining final match that hopefully whets the appetite of Americans for more soccer. Women’s soccer.
After the US World Cup Title in 1999, Americans clamored for more. In response the WUSA was founded as the top notch league of its time. Unfortunately overspending and waning interest forced the league to shut down operations in 2003. Many of the players opted to play overseas or in semiprofessional leagues around the county. The nation was without a pro soccer league or an outlet for their favorite female members of the USWNT.
Fast forward to today: the US competed in their first World Cup Final in twelve years, and Americans are once again hungry for women’s soccer. The star power of Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and Kristine Lilly is replaced now by Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan. Social media can be used to forward the image and message of women’s sports. Immediately after the semifinal victory over France, Alex Morgan’s number of twitter followers jumped to over one hundred thousand. Many, many, many people are paying attention to women’s soccer and the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) is the perfect outlet.
In the WPS, not only can Americans see the best US players, they can see the best players in the world. For example, the Western New York Flash have not only the best player in the world, Marta, they also have Swedish captain Caroline Seger, Canadian captain Christine Sinclair and rising superstar Alex Morgan.
The WPS began in 2009 with seven teams spread across the country. Attendance was less than expected and multiple teams were forced to fold over the first two seasons. Halfway through the third season, six teams remain. In addition to the Flash, there are also the Boston Breakers, the Philadelphia Independence, NY/NJ Sky Blue, the Atlanta Beat and Magicjack in Boca Raton.
The league coalesced to include only teams in the Eastern United States. Attendance is averaging less than three thousand per game, but the talent is there. The league is the highest quality women’s league in the world. Television ratings for the World Cup were their highest since 1999. The WPS has the product America desires, now the only question is, will Americans increase the national visibility of the WPS?
The league is teetering on the brink, and hopefully the new found popularity of women’s soccer will be enough to sustain the league.