Will their be Further Growth and Investment in Ladies Football Following the 2015 Women’s World Cup?
Soccer, men’s or ladies football, has never been the sport in the United States. While fans in England, Spain, Germany, Italy, and countless other countries around the globe adore and follow association football with unrivaled passion and dedication, interest for the sport in the USA tends to depend entirely on how the American teams are doing at marquee international events. Major League Soccer has a niche following, but it can’t compete with America’s more beloved pastimes, like baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. But when a United States national team is doing well—as the men’s USA soccer team did at last year’s World Cup in Brazil—American sports fans will still tune in and show interest in soccer. It’s just that, generally, that interest fades once the big marquee tournaments are in the rearview.
For the USA women’s soccer team, then, the battle to attain a following in their own country has been two-pronged. For one thing, USA sports fans are not huge on soccer to begin with. For another, women’s football does not generate the global attention that the male incarnation of the sport does. Where men’s football has household names like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, women’s soccer really has no global celebrities of that scale. And where the men’s World Cup tends to attract huge audiences in every corner of the globe, the ladies World Cup tends to generate markedly less attention and excitement.
The 2015 Women’s World Cup: A Turning of the Tide
However, could the 2015 Women’s World Cup be a turning of the tide of sorts for the sport? Could it encourage further growth and investment in ladies football on a global scale? And could it engender a greater following for soccer—both male and female—in the USA?
Of course, only time will provide answers to those questions. Right now, in the days immediately following the conclusion of the 2015 tournament, it certainly seems as if excitement over ladies football has reached a new high.
Certainly, fan engagement was up for this year’s Women’s World Cup. Thank social media and the Internet for the uptick in interest. With more publications covering the event on a game-to-game basis, the event was easier to track and follow than it has been in the past. The amount of conversation about the tournament on Twitter—especially during the final between Japan and the United States—also showed growing interest and engagement in female soccer.
A Big Win for United States Soccer
If the 2015 Ladies World Cup is going to have a major impact on how anyone perceives the sport of football, though, that impact is going to be felt in the United States. The USA ladies team not only won their first World Cup title in 16 years, but did so in such a thrilling fashion that many soccer skeptics may have been converted from casual fans into something more.
He was wrong. The July 6th match was just as thrilling as the 1999 final, but in a different way. Instead of coming down to the wire, this victory was decisively in the USA’s favor. The victory came thanks to the three goals that Carli Lloyd scored in the first 16 minutes of play—the fastest hat trick in either men’s or ladies World Cup history. If anything could simultaneously increase the global visibility of women’s soccer and make United States sports fans pay more attention to association football, that thrilling showing could be it.
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