With the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup upon us, we tend to forget about the women’s game. And perhaps arguably so. But since the inception of the Women’s World Cup in 1991, interest in the women’s game here in the United States has soared. The United States National team was formed in 1985 and did not win any games, albeit 4 matches. So they bring in one of the most successful college coaches in history-Anson Dorrance and from 1986-1994 they won 66 out of 93 matches and were ranked number one in the world from March 2008 to December 2014. This truly was the beginning of something great for women’s soccer in general not just the United States.
They would go on to do something that the USMNT can only dream of and that’s win a World Cup. They did it not once but twice (1991 & 1999). The 1999 squad truly started a soccer revolution among young girls in this country. Who can forget Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm, Michele Akers, and perhaps the most famous goal of all time in women’s soccer-Brandi Chastain’s penalty kick.
There have been two professional leagues formed since the enormous popularity of that memorable World Cup, both failed miserably. The WPSL was launched in 2103 and now enters its third year, and is loaded with stars from around the world. Youth soccer participation among girls has risen steadily over the last 15 years. In 1990, there were 1,615,041 players registered compared to 2014 where there is now over 3 million kids registered and females make up roughly 49 percent of that.
There are now over a dozen women’s professional leagues throughout the world from the United States and Canada to Europe to Asia. And the college game is starting to produce players as well. The last Women’s World Cup set attendance records like never before and TV ratings were very good. They say success does not breed success; it breeds failure. It is failure, which breeds success. If that truly is the case then the women’s game truly is proof positive of this. Over the next month, if you’re a fan of the game, take time to watch the women’s version of Messi and Ronaldo with the likes of Canada’s Christine Sinclair, Viviane Miedema of the Netherlands, Marta from Brazil, Abby Wambach and Sidney Leroux and enjoy the beautiful game.