My take: Coaches, parents should be taking players to see the very best
The National Women’s Soccer League is heading to the postseason after finishing the regular season on Saturday night. The big news in women’s professional soccer is that the NWSL set an attendance record in 2019 – on the heels of the U.S. victory in the World Cup in France this past summer.
The league averaged 7,386 fans per game this past season, a 23 percent increase over last year’s 6,024. It’s not the highest – the best season average was 8,116 set in the WUSA’ inaugural season in 2001.
Familiarity is a recipe for success. Because of the exposure of a World Cup, more fans got to see and learn about these amazing women playing the great game at a very high level. The NWSL is a chance for fans in the states to go and watch them play and hopefully enjoy that experience as well.
Hopefully, many of the fans are youngsters and will make following the NWSL a ritual – like I do with the Premier League or the N.Y. Mets or the Buffalo Bills – teams I grew up rooting for and still do (unfortunately for the later two).
What can the NWSL do to reach more fans? Are they marketing the game the right way? Are they getting U.S. Youth Soccer involved and building that relationship to help build their future.
Parents and coaches and teams should be supporting professional soccer at all levels. Seeing the game played at the highest level not only creates interest but can be a great motivator for a young player. They see Tiffany McCarty or Sam Kerr or Jodie Taylor and want to be like them and that starts in the back yard with a soccer ball and a friend.
Lindsey Horn’s path to stardom began with US Youth Soccer
Lindsey Horn has earned 75 caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team and a key member of the World Cup team in France. Horn was NWSL MVP last year and currently plays for the Portland Thorns FC. Like almost all successful professional soccer players, their road to success traveled through years of playing with US Youth Soccer clubs. Horan was certainly no exception to the rule.
The talented forward played U-5 through U-10 for the TMSA Great White Sharks and then played from U-11 through U-12 with the Colorado Edge. Horan then moved up to the Colorado Rush where she played U-13 through U-18.
“Rush was pretty much everything to me,” she said. “They gave me so many great training opportunities and outstanding coaches who gave up their time for individual training and provided whatever I needed – including training with older girls and even the boys.”
“Everything I did with them helped in my development. And some of the coaches I had there are some of the best coaches I have ever had in my life.”
Horan’s Colorado Rush won the US Youth Soccer State Cup from 2006-2010. She was named MVP of the State Cup in both 2009 and 2010. The team was Regional champion in 2010 and took third place in US Youth Soccer Nationals. “We never won a national title which was unfortunate,” she said. “But three or four girls off those teams are my best friends I have to this day.”
Chelsea gives a lesson in shooting and goalkeeper drills
Check out a drill from the Chelsea Football Club. Here, Chelsea’s Gonzalo Higuain and Callum Hudson-Odoi were on fire in the men’s team shooting drill, Joe Cole shows that he’s still got it in U18s training and the women’s goalkeepers get put through their paces. Check it out!
Send story ideas, comments and suggestions to Terry Jacoby at email@example.com