Sunday, July 17, 2011

Great Women's National Team Soccer Articles from Grant Wahl

Grant Wahl is my favorite print soccer analyst, and he's pulled out some articles from the Sports Illustrated vault that he wrote about the Women's National Team over the past few years.
  • The first article is from 2008 and is a detailed look at how Hope Solo dealt with her banishment from the national team after some heated comments at the World Cup semi-final loss that were taken by her teammates as a direct slight against Briana Scurry, the goalie that had started in place of Solo for that game.  It finally took a sit-down with team leader Abby Wambach and a long heart-to-heart with Goal-keeper Brianna Scurry for everything to be truly forgiven.
  • The second article was written this past June, just prior to the start of the World Cup.  It focuses on Abby Wambach as the veteran goal-scorer, and then describes how she's mentored young Alex Morgan, who many believe to be the next goal-scoring star for the U.S.  
  • The third article is another one from the vault.  It's from 2008, just after the Olympic gold medal victory, and talks about how Solo had come full circle from the year before.  It also discusses the changes that new coach Pia Sundhage had made to the team to encourage a more skillful type of play that many of the top international teams use
  • Finally, the last article of Grant Wahl's that I will link to before this Championship Final is a piece he just wrote about the emergence of women's soccer onto the international soccer consciousness.  It's a wonderful piece about how popular this Women's World Cup has been (700,000 tickets sold for 32 games; record tv ratings in host country Germany, and in 2015 host country Canada).  It discusses the parity that is building in the women's game, and also about the hope that the next World Cup will feature 24 teams, up from 16 this year.  Absolutely fantastic piece of writing, and a nice positive outlook for the sport.

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