A Therapeutic Rant From A USWNT Fan

Ok, US Soccer let’s have a chat.  It seems you’re moderately excited about the upcoming Women’s National Team game this Sunday against China in Philadelphia.  Sorry, but I really can’t in good faith, use a better adjective than “moderately” when describing your excitement level.  If I’m wrong, please correct me.  But furthermore, if I’m wrong; please prove it and act like it.

I am always willing to give an organization the benefit of the doubt when I know that there are many different aspects that I am unaware of.  I don’t work for US Soccer, I’m just a comedy writer who is a well educated fan of the game who speaks bluntly and wants some freaking answers. (To be politically correct)

The upcoming WNT game vs China is not going to be televised.  Fine.  It’s a friendly, it’s not a current rivalry, it’s not on at 4am; which seems to be the only time of day ESPN likes to acknowledge that women’s soccer exists.  As much as I would love for every game (no matter how important or unimportant) to be televised; I don’t live in an idealist’s fairy tale land where everything is fair and everything is made of candy.  I understand it comes down to money.  So that’s fine that it won’t be televised, for now.  I still truly believe women’s soccer can one day be a major money maker in this country, but I also understand right now we are still growing.

So here is my question to US Soccer:

If we want the sport to grow and gain more viewers and sponsors…how exactly will we do that if there is no way to watch games half of the time?

Oh, I know!  I’ll hop into that idealist’s world with trees made of candy and I’ll pull people who have never seen a game before out of thin air and turn them into sponsors and fans!  Then while I’m at it: I’ll turn all mean people into bunnies and solve world peace by singing smooth adult contemporary songs about friendship to all warring nations!

Oh wait…you mean that all sounds farfetched and unrealistic?

After my exaggerated rant, all I am trying to ask is, “How is a sport expected to grow if no one can see it?”  If it is too much money and they don’t think they will have the viewers and sponsors to get in on TV, then why no live stream?  It’s cheaper and it’s easier.  I know of at least a couple W League teams that are live streaming their regular season home games this year.  If W League teams can afford it, how is US Soccer denying us of one?  That’s like Taylor Swift saying something is too expensive while the transient who lives under the bridge swoops in and buys it instead.  (Sorry, W League; I’m not trying to call you a bum.  I love you.  Please forgive me.  xoxo, Amy)

If money is not the issue for a live stream and it has to do with something like copy writing issues or whatever it may be; at least tell us.  Because now, instead of a large group of disappointed, but understanding fans; you have a large group of pissed off fans that are going to relentlessly hassle you and bash your good name out of anger.  Everyone will either assume US Soccer is not willing to spend money on the women or they will draw their own mislead conclusions.  Either way; they will be mad and most likely ill informed due to lack of information coming from the horse’s mouth.

I truly believe that US Soccer wants the women’s team to succeed.  I am in no way saying they don’t support them or don’t want them to be televised and make money.  Of course they want them to make money.  But for some reason they still tend to neglect certain things on the women’s side which hinders their ability to grow.  So prove us wrong, US Soccer.  Show us you can be more than moderately excited about a women’s game, and not just men’s games.  I love both teams; men and women.  But have always been a much, much bigger women’s fan.  It just blows my mind that the women can be ranked #1 in the world, be going to the Olympics this year and be coming off of a 2nd place finish in last year’s World Cup and they still cannot get half the attention of the men’s team. (Which is not even ranked in the top 25, is not going to the Olympics and didn’t place in their last World Cup.)  I understand the competition levels are completely different, but it’s astonishing to me that we would not want to be proud of our women’s team for the superb record they have held for years and show them off a bit.  If you got it, flaunt it, girl.

Women’s soccer has come a very, very long way in the US in the past 20 years.  The strides that they have made are huge, and I am not unaware of that or ungrateful for that.  But is it too much to ask for progress moving faster than a snail’s pace?  Don’t we owe it to ground breaking legends in women’s soccer like Michelle Akers, Kristine Lilly and Mia Hamm to continue the legacy and keep building on the strides they made?  We have a top ranked team which is extremely marketable.  Hope Solo was on the list of the 50 Most Marketable Athletes of 2012.  (Ummm, hello dumb dumbs.  What more do you want?)  Ask 100 people who Alex Morgan or Hope Solo is and I bet 90 of them could tell you.  Then ask those 90 when their next game is, I bet 10 of them could tell you.  If they know who these women are, but don’t know where or how to watch them; how are we ever supposed to expect more fans?  If US Soccer is not even willing to stream all domestic games as a minimum for now, we can expect Snooki’s grand-kids to be gearing up for season 47 of Jersey Shore before we consistently see women’s games aired on TV.

These are just opinions from a fan.  I just want answers at the end of the day.  Why is a live stream not a given for all domestic games?  Why are they not capitalizing on an Olympic year with a team filled with marketable players?  Why does everyone and their mother’s dog know who Hope Solo is, but can’t watch her play?  And do those dogs have a hard time watching soccer deciphering between red and yellow cards due to their color blindness?

All important questions…maybe some more than others.

I’d love answers, but even more I’d love to be able to watch the best team in the world of women’s soccer, play this Sunday.

 

PS to US Soccer: PLEASE stop talking and tweeting about the new uniforms which will be debuted at this Sunday’s game for “all” to see.  All you’re doing is turning the knife that has already been jabbed into our stomachs.

Woso Fans: Stop, Drop and Read

Now that there is no more Women’s Professional Soccer to give us our women’s soccer fix like a bunch of addicts who Dr. Drew is just waiting to get his hands on; we’re all turning to our local W League, WPSL or WPSL Elite teams.  As much as I hate seeing another professional league start to bloom just for it to be chopped down by a big metaphorical douche bag of a weed-wacker; it could mean an enlightening experience.  Giving these other leagues more support will open our eyes to new teams and new players.  Shame on me and every other women’s soccer fan who didn’t pay enough attention to them before.  In fact, I’m putting myself in time out for my ignorance.  Be right back.

 

…Ok, I think I learned my lesson.  Each of these leagues will be boasting players from the US Women’s National Team, college stand outs, international talent and dozens of relatively unknown’s who are anxious to blow us away.  If you’re wondering where I’m going with all of this; you’re not alone.  I’m not really sure either.  Let’s figure it out together.  I think what I’m trying to say is…eh, who am I kidding…I’m not sure, so I’ll just keep rambling.

Oh, how about this!?  I’d like to talk about some of my favorite players who I think deserve a lot more hype than what they get currently.  They all have a good following, don’t get me wrong, but they are players who just really stand out for me.  And they are players who we will have the joy of watching in these leagues just like we got to watch them in the WPS.  If any of you know me at all you can probably guess who I am going to start with.

 

Leslie Osborne.

A central midfielder.  A leader.  A communicator.  A fierce competitor.  A chameleon of the field taking on any challenge necessary.  If you need a central midfielder who can tackle hard but also play with finesse, charge at the opposition but also be wise in her decisions and lead a team but also be a humble team player then look to the Boston Breakers’ Captain #12.  (I’ve done sales work for over 5 years so please forgive my sales pitch of a description.  But tell me it didn’t work…you’re dying to watch her in action, yes?)  She is an irreplaceable force on the field as well as off.  If she’s not playing for her club she is modeling for Puma or training fellow athletes or coaching a local club.  She’s kind of… well…UNSTOPPABLE.  I can also say she is one of the nicest people I have ever met.  Knowing that she knew me by my twitter name, Gillian E Dubbs; I met her at a soccer expo where I nervously approached my favorite player of the past 5 years and awkwardly spit out, “It’s me, Gillian E Dubbs!” like a goofy 6 year old.  We then talked for about 15 minutes or so.  She was humble, smart and well spoken.  Plus I managed to get through the whole encounter without tripping over anything too, so I’d say it was a stupendous day.  But back to her: Never, EVER underestimate the importance of a strong central midfielder who holds the team together.  Ever seen a game that looks more like ping pong than soccer?  That’s because there was no one in the midfield to settle the game down and control tempo or possession.  That is what Leslie Osborne does so well and that also leads me to my next player who does the same…

 

Brittany Bock

I refer to her as the Fighting Irish Ninja.  If you don’t understand why I do, let me explain: She went to Notre Dame and…SHE IS A FREAKING NINJA.  You cannot contain this girl in the midfield.  She is a freight train of power, skill and smart playmaking.  She covers more ground in a game then some players will in three games.  One of the things I like about her play the best is that she is fearless.  She goes in strong and fierce.  You also can’t keep track of her.  One second she is taking down the opposing team with her ninja tackles and the next she is sending a beautiful through ball up field to a teammate.  I love nothing more than a game that is battled out in the midfield.  If I was ever to go into battle on the pitch there is no one I would rather have by my side than Bock.  Scratch that.  I wouldn’t want her at my side; I’d want her in front of me.  (I flinch easily; I think I’d feel safer behind her)  And similar to Leslie, off the field she seems like a genuinely awesome person who is great to her fans and is pretty inspiring as well.  As far as central or defensive / possession midfielders go, Bock and Osborne are at the top of my list who are not on the current USWNT roster. *cough cough* *Attention to Pia* *cough cough*

 

Becky Sauerbrunn

I am among the hopefuls that wish to never see the day where Christie Rampone retires.  But I am also confident in life for the USWNT defense after Rampone.  No one will ever truly replace her, but Sauerbrunn, in my opinion is going to do one hell of a job of filling the void.  She plays with a quiet knowledge about her that must be intimidating to opposing players.  I would rather take on a lunatic defender charging at me with a trident screaming bloody murder than go 1 v 1 with the composed and confident Sauerbrunn who wisely matches her opponents step for step before devouring them.  She has speed, she has skill, she has consistency and composure that any central defender would kill for.  PLUS: she doesn’t tweet often but when she does she seems to have a great wit.  What beats that?  A witty super soccer athlete?  Come on now!  Which brings me to the fact that she also happens to be a beast of an athlete.  Rampone is my favorite Soccer Machine Robot Lady as I have mentioned.  Anyone who wants to try proving she is human to me; good luck.  But I can see Sauerbrunn becoming the next Soccer Machine Robot Lady who I hope will grow with this team for many, many years to come.  She directs the back line like a wise leader and plays like a possessed soccer beast.  That’s a good combo.

 

Ashlyn Harris

Watching Harris in goal is like watching a panther protecting her home on crack.  She is agile, feisty and fierce.  Her reactions are incredible to watch, especially for someone like me who waits until a ball has already practically hit me in the face before I think to put my hands up and catch it.  She has split second reactions that enable her to come up with saves that leave spectators in awe.  She also is a vital part of organizing the team.  While watching scrimmages of the team where you can hear everything, she is one noisy lady.  She is continuously directing, encouraging and organizing.  She puts off a vibe of confidence and swagger that would make any forward think twice about their next move.  And while that forward is thinking, Harris strikes like the cracked out panther that she is and protects her home from intruders.  And on top of all this, she just seems like one dope chick, who also happens to have one hell of a celebration run. (Please reference her epic run after her massive PK save in the WPS Final last year)

I’ll continue this sometime with a few more players who I love to watch and would love to see more of.  I’m excited to watch these four through domestic leagues and international play for years to come.  And as I am still a little unsure if this had a point other than a chance for me to ramble about some of my favorite players; I’ll leave you with this….

No seriously…I’m leaving you with that.  Bye!