2015 USWNT Recap Blog on WSN247

U.S. Women’s Soccer Fans! Head on over to www.wsn247.com to check out my latest blog for them. 2015 was a hell of a year for the USWNT so I of course had to do my fair share of gushing over our favorite girls.

Read The Article on WSN247 Here!

 

The Team To Envy – Pali Blues

I have been feeling guilty lately and I just need to air it out.  I’m feeling really bad for all the people who don’t live close enough to Pacific Palisades, CA to be able to witness the Pali Blues women’s soccer club play games live.  I feel like I’m hogging all the magnificence.  But now that I say it out loud; I don’t feel that guilty anymore.  I feel kind of awesome actually.  Let me tell you why…

I live 30 minutes from The Stadium By The Sea where the Pali Blues tear up the pitch on a regular basis.  They are legit in their stadium name, too.  It’s as great as it sounds.  It’s not like one of those motels that boast their color TV sets and indoor pool, which is essentially a puddle out back, and then calls themselves ‘The Grand Ocean View Motel’; when it’s 6 miles from the beach.  This stadium is a beautiful turf field that is right around the corner from the gorgeous Pacific.  Sorry if I sound like someone from the tourism board trying to sell you a tour, but it’s pretty super there and I just can’t help it.

But enough about the stadium, let’s talk about what happens inside the stadium.  “What happens in The Stadium by the Sea stays in the Stadium by the Sea.”  You guys like that?  I just made it up.  It does sound familiar though…

When you enter the stadium you enter it knowing you are going to be right on top of watching women’s soccer at its highest level in the US.  You enter knowing you made the right choice to come to the game and ditch the $15 movie you were going to attend instead.  The Pali Blues have put together an impressive roster that has led to an amazing start to their season.

Raise your hand if you love watching a midfielder who connects plays, finds openings and plays a physically demanding style of soccer which you can respect all day long.  (I will assume your hand is raised.  If it is not raised I will assume you are incapable of reading the written word and / or have no pulse.)  I’m speaking of Sarah Huffman.  She’s a hard working midfielder who takes a hard tackle as well as she gives one.  And trust me; she takes plenty.  She is a midfielder willing to put her body on the line for the sake of her team.  She’s got a killer shot, a smart mind for the game and a strength all young aspiring players should strive for.

Now raise your hand…actually no.  Let’s jazz it up.  Do ‘The Dougie’ if you love watching a forward with speed, skill and impeccable vision for the game.  (If you are not doing ‘The Dougie’ I will assume you just an old white person with no rhythm or again, have no pulse.)  This time I’m taking about Liz Bogus.  A defense can never rest or look away from this player for a minute.  If they do, you can be sure she will quickly punish them for it.  She has experience, quality timing on the ball and a super awesome name.

Still not understanding why I feel awesome about living so close to this team?  Fine.  I’ll give you a few more reasons to hate me.

We have a spider monkey with cat like reflexes as a goalkeeper.  BOOM.  Straight from the Italian national team, Anna Picarelli is one feisty little goalkeeper.  At 5’4, some forwards may underestimate her and think they will have an easy time beating her.  Those forwards are what we call in the biz; dumb-dumbs.  Whether you go high, low, far post or near post she will get there.  She is enormously fun to watch and is a major part of this finely oiled machine we call Pali Blues.

Then there is Whitney Engen who has been getting consistent call ups from this little team you may have heard of; The US Women’s National Team.  Coming off of a Women’s Professional Soccer championship last year with the New York Flash and the Defender of the Year honor for the league in 2011 she is more than worth the trip.  Want to hear bad news for all opposing teams?  Before you even get to Picarelli and her spider monkey saves you have to get through Whitney Engen.  Good luck with that.

And this is all without mentioning names like Nikki Washington, Cami Levin and Mariah Nogueira who are all young guns making moves.  This team, as a whole, is a collective unit and a shining example of the beautiful game being played by a roster full of class players.

So although I do feel kind of bad that not everyone gets to witness this team live; I feel a stronger sense of overall awesomeness.  If you do live anywhere nearby, do yourself a favor and check out some of these games.  If you don’t live anywhere nearby, do yourself a favor and move here.  Ok, so that may be a little drastic.  How about instead, you just check out their live streams and show your support through their Facebook page and Twitter accounts?  (www.facebook.com/PaliBluesSoccer and @PaliBlues)  And for that matter, do the same for your local W League or WPSL club if you haven’t already.

They take on the Seattle Sounders Women today, June 20th, which is sure to be a doozie.  With that much talent on one field coming from both sides, meeting on the pitch, I am predicting some sort of explosion or combustion.  Get ready for fireworks.  Check out the livestream from the Sounders to watch some top shelf soccer and put in your earplugs if firework boom-booms scare you.  Because it will be going off.

Enjoy the game!

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.

The Japanese Are Coming!!

Dear Fellow US Women’s National Soccer Team Fans:  As hard as I tried, I was not able to change the shape of the globe and alter time zones.  My apologies.  So instead, I will be watching the USWNT vs Japan at 3:30 am Pacific Standard Time from the comfort of my living room this Sunday. Some friends will join me as we watch the USA and cheer relentlessly until I am certain I will be thrown out of my apartment.  Let me give any non soccer fans a little background on what this game means…

Japan has become what we call in the business, a giant pain in our ass. The technical term is “chronic ass-pain implementing distributors.” Since they beat us in the final at the World Cup this past summer (I still cringe just typing that) we have had one crack at them in the Algarve Cup this past month. We were defeated in that match, furthering their pain in the ass status.  This next game just so happens to be being played in Japan.  It’s also on April 1st, April Fool’s Day. The outcome I’m hoping for is a huge win, where we silence every Japanese fan in that stadium. The outcome I’m worried about is some of those kooky Japanese game show hosts coming out for April Fool’s Day and creating an obstacle course on the field as part of their show.  So I’ll be on the lookout for any old Japanese men in suits that belong on American used car salesmen from the 70’s holding a microphone and little Japanese girls wearing Hello Kitty helmets ready to win a karaoke machine.

The Japanese team has made some amazing strides in women’s soccer in the past couple of years. Homare Sawa, who won the Player Of The Year award for 2011 is one of my personal top international picks.  I really do think that the progress we see from them is great news for women’s soccer across the globe.  With that being said; I still hate them.  I’m not going to tip toe around this.  I want so badly to like this team of possession oriented, skilled players who have come very far but I can’t.  I have respect for them and I love seeing the positive progress in another country of the sport but every time I see them I just feel violent.  And I’m not a violent person.  The only time I ever threw a punch it was in self defense and it was done with my eyes closed and was immediately followed by me running away screaming like a 4 year old waving my hands over my head trying to protect my face.  So for them to make me feel violent says something.  It says I do not want to see another loss to them.  I do not want to see a tie with them.  I want to see a good old fashioned USA smack down laid out on them.

In my humble outsider opinion, this is how we do that:

PLAY OUR GAME.

Simple, right?  Don’t let them dictate.  When we play our game, there is no stopping us.  When we use our strengths, instead of caving early to letting them control the pace we cannot be stopped.  I don’t care how good they’ve gotten; if Heather O’Reilly takes on a defender 1 v 1 (burns them obviously) then takes the ball end line and serves a tasty dish into the head of Abby Wambach who will then bury that ball so far into that net the keeper can’t find it to fish it out – they cannot stop us.  If Lauren Cheney picks off a ball in the mid field and finds Alex Morgan on a diagonal through ball so perfectly placed you assume there is a magical path linked between their feet and Morgan takes out each defender and keeper with speed, agility & a killer finish – they cannot stop us.  If Hope Solo stands there and stares down each player until they are too insanely terrified to attack goal – they cannot stop us.  My point being, we need to play to our many, many strengths and not allow them to get under our skin.  Whether it be Abby’s head, Morgan’s finishing, HAO’s speed, Lloyd’s vision, Cheney’s connecting plays or any one of the other dozens of strengths we have; we need to utilize them.  When we dictate early and make that statement we’re an unbeatable force.  But when we sit on our heels for too long and let them begin to control the pace is where we lose.  And I have immense faith that this team will come out on April 1st ready to control that game.  There are a ton of things I could go on and on about that I would like to see happen but I feel controling the pace early is the biggest key.  Hold the ball, make smart decisions, play to our strengths so we control the game and don’t let those fricken mini possession monsters get the ball for too long.  They’re like bed bugs.  Once they take control of your hotel room, there is no getting rid of them.  Just like once Japan gets the ball for too long, there is no gaining control back of the game.  I have a feeling Pia is packing some heat for this annoying infestation though.  Just call her the exterminator. (cue intense movie music)

This week requires pulling out all the stops in fan preparation.  When I was a kid, my best friend and I used to run around my yard screaming in British accents, “The Chinese are coming!” And then we’d attack them with chop sticks. (Yes, we beat imaginary Chinese people with their own eating utensils. Don’t judge me.)  Why am I telling you this embarrassingly odd child hood tale?  Because, the accent will be coming out in full force and “Chinese” will be subbed out for “Japanese” as I warn my fellow man of their upcoming attack plans.  This is war.  No longer will they be chronic ass-pain implementing distributors to us.  April 1st we’re coming for you, Japan.  In true American fashion we’re going to come strong, proud and ready.  And none the less; on a day where we honor crafty tomfoolery.  So Japan, get ready to be tomfoolerdied… tomfoolersted… tomfoolerized.  Yes, tomfoolerized.

USWNT fans near and far: Get ready to cheer your hearts out and support our girls because (Please read the following in a British accent) The Japanese are coming!! (Decease British accent)

Who else will be gearing up this week and pulling the all nighter / early morning wake up to watch this epic match?  What do you think we need to do to win?  Tell me about it here and on twitter!

 

GO USA

 

So Marta Is Leaving WPS…

Ever heard that expression, “Don’t wake the bear?” Well consider me a bear that has just been poked with a particularly annoying Brazilian stick.

First, let me start off by saying that I never, ever like to speak ill of any women’s soccer player.  Although I have my favorites, and my not so favorites I have an extreme overall love, admiration and respect for this sport and the women who play it.  If you haven’t guessed it, the Brazilian ‘stick’ waking me, is Marta.  The topic of Marta has always gotten me all fired up for many reasons. The still young career of 5-time Player of the Year, Marta has been an impressive one.  She has never been a favorite of mine nor will she ever be a favorite of mine.  But I will start by saying that I believe she is the most skilled female player in the world over the ball.  There is no denying her incredible ability including her first touch, her quick feet and her deceptive moves befuddling defenders.  But I don’t find her vision to be anything extraordinary, I don’t find her shot to be one of the best in the world (although still very good), and I don’t find her leadership to be…well…I don’t see any leadership.  When her team goes down she resorts to yelling at them, yelling at the ref, diving and getting chippy (to say the least) against the opposing team.  Just because someone is monumentally skilled over the ball doesn’t make them a Player of the Year in my book.  That makes them the “Most Skilled Player of the Year”.  She has made great strides for women’s soccer in her country and has helped Brazil become a top contender.  So again, I give credit where credit is due.  But I just cannot get behind a Player of the Year who is phenomenal in one or two aspects of the game, very good in other, and nonexistent in some.  I want to see a woman win that award who is a consistent force to be reckoned with in every aspect of the game.  Homare Sawa and Abby Wambach’s nominations this year made me thrilled for that reason.  They are both true leaders and all around impeccable players.  Wambach and Sawa, without a doubt lead their countries through not only their talent and skill but in motivation and belief.  Sawa’s win, (although I was strongly pulling for Wambach) was a refreshing change and I was thrilled for her.  She made things happen for her team that some could never fathom.  The loss still stings from the WWC, but Sawa is beyond deserving.  But seeing Marta still come in above Wambach made my stomach feel like I had just eaten gas station sushi.

For the past few years while Marta has played in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) here in the USA, she has been raking in the dough.  Pay close attention now: I will NEVER be upset that a female soccer player is being ‘overpaid’.  Because guess what…compared to any men’s sport there is no female athlete on planet earth who is being overpaid.  But, I will be upset when there is someone being overpaid in comparison to other athletes on the pitch who do more to grow the sport here.  Does anyone really think that after the Women’s World Cup those 15k+ fans poured into Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester to see Marta?  No. They paid for a ticket to see Abby Wambach speak at halftime and other U.S. stars like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe to play that day. They went and bought #13 Western NY jerseys and screamed and cried for Wambach’s autograph.  We’re in America.  This will be the case in any WPS game. (That being my example due to the record breaking ticket sales that day.)  My point being…in an American league, American players are going to bring more people into a stadium, therefore making the league more money.  I am more than willing to admit (unlike some who insist on putting false information or made up guesses made out to be facts out there) I’m no financial expert or sports agent so I don’t know exactly how all that works.  But it seems if they are the ones bringing the money in, why is Marta the one financially being treated like she’s the Michael Jordan of the WPS?  (I don’t know enough current sports people outside of soccer so you’re just going to have to deal with my 90’s NBA reference)

Furthermore, I know Marta doesn’t speak fluent English.  So it is hard for her to do many interviews or press related events. I have nothing against her as a person and have heard she is a fun person to be around but not many would know that because interviews or media events with her are few and far between.  So anyone saying that she brings in media coverage is as delusional as Brazil was when they thought they were going to beat the U.S. at the Women’s World Cup this year.  I don’t blame her for not speaking English fluently (although she has been here for long enough to be decent at it) but it just doesn’t make sense to try and say she is going to be some sort of media darling in the U.S. if she can’t even conduct an interview without an interpreter.

Briefly, I want to bring up Hope Solo.  Solo has received some really harsh criticism from many people over her dedication to the WPS.  They have said she is “Hollywood” now and only cares about herself and the U.S. Women’s National Team, not caring about the WPS.  If I could speak to these people directly it wouldn’t be a pleasant meeting that would be appropriate for anyone under the age of 18.  Hope Solo has done more for women’s soccer in this country in one year than some people are able to do in a lifetime.  Do you honestly think that if she is that dedicated to USWNT, that she wouldn’t also be dedicated to the league in this country that helps form the USWNT?  A league that will in the future, help mold and develop new young players for the USWNT?  And recently, she made the decision that I hope blew up directly in her critics’ faces when she signed with her hometown W-League Team, Seattle Sounders Women.  So not only is she staying domestic, but she is going to her home turf making endless amounts of fans thrilled.  She is the best goal keeper in the entire world.  She could have gone anywhere.  But she chose to stay domestic.  Now what does all this have to do with Marta?  Well, let’s see…while Solo was being blasted for not speaking up on the WPS situation and being slammed for saying she doesn’t care about WPS…where was Marta?  Was she making grand speeches about the importance of WPS?  Was she speaking out in favor of the league?  Not a chance.  So why is Solo being held solely responsible for being a star who apparently “doesn’t care” about WPS when the highest paid player in WPS sits back in the shadows silently getting no ridicule, planning her departure to Sweden?

Last, I’ll be completely honest; I think it is just hard for me to want to like anyone from the Brazilian team.  I’ll never be able to look at Marta and not see her and her entire team doing everything in their power to beat their opponents in ways that disgrace the beautiful game. It’s true…on any team in any league there is a large amount of acting, diving and flopping.  Every one dives here and there, everyone deserves their own Oscar from time to time; USA included.  But Brazil deserves the entire Kodak Theater at Oscar time and every single last Oscar trophy in it.  I simply cannot respect that style of play.

In conclusion of my coffee fueled rant, it comes down to this: There are aspects of Marta’s game that amaze me.  But as far as her leaving the WPS; I have no morsel of sadness. I wish her the best of luck in Sweden who has a very competitive league and I’m sure she’ll do great there.  But I will not miss her here.  It’s time to focus on the W-League and the WPSL making an impact this year.  Especially with the help of players like Hope Solo making the decision to stay domestic.  I look forward to seeing the development in this country with our women’s leagues with or without Marta, while I also look forward to seeing us play against Marta on the national stage.

Oh and PS: Marta, I’m still trying to find an address to send a gift basket to you and the Brazilian team. The card reads: “Thank you for giving the U.S. ample amounts of stoppage time to score after your truly inspiring performances crawling around on the turf at the World Cup this year.” I hope you guys like Edible Arrangements!

 

…Sorry.  Couldn’t resist.

 

Beauty On And Off The Field

Ask me if I’d love to see the day when a female athlete gains more recognition for what she does in her sport than how she looks?

My answer is ‘yes, of course.’

Now ask me if I think it’s wrong for women like Hope Solo and Alex Morgan to pose either nude or with only body paint because it’s a bad reflection on them and a step backwards for women’s soccer?

My answer is ‘what the hell is wrong with you?!?’ (And that is the family friendly toned down response)

This topic gets me a little fired up.  I am more passionate about U.S. Women’s Soccer than almost anything (this of course excludes my mother’s lasagna).  I love and respect this team and the beautiful game.  I also respect the decisions of players making moves to help promote their name and the sport they play.  If an opportunity arises that allows them to do this, why wouldn’t they? Especially if it is an opportunity that would showcase the obscene amount of hours they put into getting amazing bodies.  Sure, the true pay off for them comes in the 90th minute of a game when the other team is starting to feel the ‘jell-o legs’ settle in while they’re ready to go another 90.  By all means, the hours of work they put in are to better themselves as athletes and contribute to improving their game; which it obviously does. The US Women’s National Soccer Team is probably the fittest in the entire world, and it shows on the field.  But once the final whistle blows and these players walk off with a sense of pride and accomplishment wouldn’t it also be nice to be recognized for their hard work by others as well?  Last I checked, if an artist spends every day working on a painting; perfecting it, making sure every last detail was flawless, they’re not going to light it on fire once they’re done so it’s never to be seen.  (Unless they’re like ‘Van Gogh crazy’ and the voices in their head told them to)  They’re going to hang it on a wall or sell it to a gallery.  They’re going to take pride in their work and say, “Yes, I spent endless hours of my life dedicated to this.  And because I did, I came out with a beautiful painting which I can be proud of, and now I’d like everyone to see it.” Well guess what; The USWNT and Alex Morgan and Hope Solo have been painting their asses off. They have dedicated their lives to something which they are brilliant at and that they love. Their hard work has paid off on the field and now I’m happy it’s paid off for them in these opportunities as well.

Can we also keep in mind what these photo shoots were for as well? Hope Solo posed for the Body Issue of ESPN. It’s dedicated to show off athletes at the peak of their physical fitness.  Alex Morgan posed for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition as one of only 3 female athletes chosen for it because of her toned physique.  Notice I said ESPN and Sports Illustrated, not a cheap porn site. They’re not doing anything tasteless or risqué.  They’re not going out on weekends, getting smashed and giving TMZ nip slip photos. They’re posing for sports related magazines showing that hard work pays off. People need to relax and look at the positives; that they are getting good publicity and that they are becoming household names as good, strong role models for anyone to look up to.  I haven’t even mentioned the biggest reason for why people shouldn’t care if they’re doing these shoots:  If they want to do it, and they enjoy doing it then why the hell not? They’re hurting no one and they are young and beautiful, so why not work it?  It is not up to any of us to decide if it’s “What they should be doing” or not.

With that being said, going back to my initial statement; yes, I want to see the day where female athletes are recognized more for what they do in their sport than how they look.  I will stand behind these next two statements no matter what.  In my opinion… 1) Hope Solo is the best female goalkeeper in the entire world.  2) Alex Morgan is young and has a lot to prove, but is still one of the best female strikers in the world and has the potential to become the best we’ve ever seen.  So would I like to hear people talking about them for those reasons or because of how they look? Obviously for the reasons I listed on their talent.  But the fact is, in female sports how someone looks weighs heavily on how much publicity they are given. That doesn’t change their talent level though.

Let’s say this swimsuit edition gets 500,000 people who never gave women’s soccer a second look; noticed Alex Morgan and said, “Wow, she’s hot.  Who is she?” Then they notice she plays for the USWNT. Out of those 500,000 people; even just half of them decide to check out the next game just because they like Alex Morgan now. And out of those 250,000 people: half are impressed by the skill and poise they possess in a game and decide to keep watching future games and become true fans. That’s 125,000 new fans to the game just because of a couple of beautiful pictures in a magazine.  They may watch their first game with no intention of continuing to watch, saying they just want to get a glimpse of Morgan.  But if from that, they get hooked…that’s amazing!  And if they don’t, then who cares?  It’s not going to be for everyone, but at least they are giving it the chance.  And that’s what publicity is for.  To reach new fans who may have an interest in watching, but haven’t had that one thing that has hooked them to actually sit down and watch a full game.  (These numbers are completely hypothetical to prove a point, so if you’re ready to pounce on me about them- take a Valium and go away.)

There are luckily only a small group of people who seem to have problems with these photos.  Mostly everything I have seen has been very positive and people are thrilled for them; as we should be. I’m in the front of the line waiting for female athletes to be judged less off of how they look and more off of how they play, but until that happens can’t we just be happy that we have athletes that are both gorgeous and immensely talented and being recognized for both?  What more do you people want?  Do they need some sort of magical power now too?  Hope, Alex: you heard it here first.  We not only need you to continue to be top shelf soccer players and really pretty but we also need you to fly, master time travel and breathe under water to make everyone happy.

Embrace the fact that they are getting publicity and embrace that they are phenomenal at what they do.  And oh yeah…one more thing…THEY LOOK UH-MAZING!  Congrats to Solo and Morgan for not only being some of the best female soccer players in the world but also for getting some rock star status publicity.