I've had about 4 years out of the last 35 when I didn't play soccer. For a while, it was a year round thing on several co-ed teams. I'm a little overboard. But the first match I could be bothered to pay to go see was the Women's World Cup in 2003, which was the first international gals match close enough to home that my buddy Sarah and I could drive to go see. As I described to a team mate then, men's soccer seemed to be all about how much they could game the rules - fouls, faking injury, etc were just part of the match. The gals, however, just wanted to play.
Since then, we've had several national women's leagues start and fail. Considering the Olympic successes of Hamm and company, we can see we have the talent, but not the culture - how many years has that one talented person held so many records? If we want to continue to have that success, we need the culture. And on top of simply love of sport, women need more role models in all fields - sports, science, business, arts - we've got thousands of years of women hunkering down and getting the necessities taken care of while the histories more or less ignored them or gave the credit for their results to whatever male was handy - when they had time to do anything for the betterment of more than just their family. Imagine what the additional brainpower could have done for the state of the species.*
So for the Good Of Humankind, we need a pro women's soccer league to inspire and aspire. But it hasn't made business sense for a variety of reasons. With the latest incarnation, a better business model is being proposed, but it does depend on putting butts in the stands.
I'd never heard of a supporters group before I moved to Portland. The 107th
creates a whirlwind of support and excitement for the MLS Timbers team - holy crap those games are fun; even when the team plays poorly, the stands are a-rocking. The 107th is the reason the season tickets are really hard to come by.
The formation of such a group for the Thorns team started about the time they announced there would be a women's team in Portland. Before we even knew who the allocated national team players would be. And, like any group composed of multiple humans with differing goals and tolerance, the bickering started immediately. However, I've got to agree with this thought
"We may not have time to grow as the Timbers Army did. ...with the women’s league? If history is any indication, I’d guess we have two, maybe three years at the very outside to build enough support for this club that will financially justify its continued existence. And in that time, supporters groups in the other seven cities must do the same.
I have no idea what soccer support looks like in Rochester, but here,right now, it looks like a bunch of people yelling at each other on Twitter.
[...However] I met a 14-year old girl named Mo tonight. As far as I’m concerned, she and she alone is the founder of whatever this group becomes. She is our Nevets. You can all buy her a beer in about seven years.
She’s the reason that we’re putting this thing together. She and every other young girl who is looking forward to seeing her favorite player take the pitch at Jeld-Wen."
Young Mo is a friend of mine too, and I've got one of her starter-scarfs on order. I hadn't been willing to go to the kickoff meeting last night - I'm too busy, I'm stressed from other things in my life, I don't need to sit around listening to these folks who have been yelling on twitter. Quite honestly, I am in, no matter what the passionate ones agree to, as long as they eventually agree.
But now I'm reconsidering. Perhaps I should get in to these meetings, and make the time, since it may be the moderate ones who drill down to "what actions do we have to take" in order to get this off the ground.
And so we get the fans together, and the powers that be are tentatively convinced, and the players are taking care of each other :
Hopefully, by April 13th we'll. have the start, or restart, of something really exciting.
*Your opinion may differ, mine is religious in nature; which means I'm not listening to dissenting, heathen views, don't bother trying to reason with me.