Extreme soccer fans and players are hoping that the U.S. team’s shot at the World Cup increases the struggling American women’s professional league and provides young girls their personal cohort of heroes.
A Boston College soccer player, Jill Mastroianni said, “I feel like the whole country is starting to get behind women’s soccer, which is a huge step for the U.S.”
One more BC player and a Hanson inhabitant who seeks to play professional soccer, Kristen Mewis said, “The country is excited about it, and it could change the face of women’s soccer.”
The United States gets on Japan in the World Cup finals, held in Germany. The game launches at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN. It’s the first time the U.S. women have reached the World Cup finals since the theatrical 1999 triumph, when soccer superstars Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain became family names.
“When we were little girls that were our dream someday,” Mastroianni said of the 1999 win.
An Olympian who was on the 1999 team, former pro soccer player and Boston-area resident, Kristine Lilly said that soccer lovers are eager to renew that magic and there’s proof that it’s happening.
Lilly, who retired this year from the Boston Breakers said, “When American teams win we rally, and right now you can see that rally and it’s incredible.”
Spokesman Ryan Wood said that the buzz has increased Breakers ticket sales which shot up following the U.S. team’s theatrical triumph over Brazil in the quarterfinals. Five members of the Breakers will ensemble up for the United States nowadays, and a sixth will play for Japan. He said, “We’re hoping for a boost.”
The Women’s Professional Soccer League is in its third year. Wood said that the earlier women’s league unsuccessful after three years.
Wood, who added that around 3,800 Breakers fans be present at every home game at Harvard Stadium said, “This is the make or break year.” Boston Breaker Kasey Moore, 23, who was 12 when the U.S. women last won the World Cup said, “Hopefully it brings more notoriety to the league and the sport, it’s great that the little girls in the U.S. are having another opportunity like that to see the U.S. win another championship on the world stage.” Mike LaVigne, a volunteer assistant coach for women’s soccer at BC said, “It’s going to affect a new generation of women.” He expects the enthusiasm interprets into league ticket sales. And he added, “Everybody’s talking about it, but we’ve got to get young girls and their parents to really start supporting these teams.”
Caroline Foscato, one of the creators of South End Soccer, a free program for city kids, said people are forced. She said, “I hear families and kids talking about it in ways I haven’t heard them talk about it before.”
South End soccer player Kelsie Rizzo, 8, said she desires to be playing for a long time. She said throughout a practice at Rotch field yesterday, “It’s my favorite sport, it gives you energy and it is fun.”