Thursday, July 21, 2011

Women's National Soccer Team: What Happens Next?

Now that Women's Soccer has emerged into the national consciousness with the National Team's dramatic run through the 2011 World Cup, what will happen next? Can these new female athletic stars parlay their current popularity into lasting success?  Will the Women's Professional League see a bump from the populatiry? Next year is the 2011 London Olympics; how will the team look at that point?

Some points to consider:

  • Qualification for the 2012 Olympics for the American team will be held at the CONACAF Pre-Olympic Tournament in late January, 2012.  The top two teams from this tournament will advance to the Olympic field.
  • The team should largely stay intact, barring any unforeseen injuries in the coming months.  The oldest player on the team is Captain Christie Rampone.  However, at age 36, Rampone is still testing out as one of the fittest players on the team, so it's unlikely that she would be pushed out in favor of a younger, less experienced player.  
  • However, there are a few changes expected to the starting roster.  It will be rather inconceivable for Alex Morgan to not be starting at forward opposite Abby Wambach by next July, and Megan Rapinoe should find a starting spot in the midfield.  It will also be hard to keep Becky Sauerbrunn on the bench.  
  • Following the end of the Women's Professional League Season in August, it is expected that the women's national team will go on tour throughout America. It's unknown if they will be playing matches or simply doing appearances.
  • Attendance at WPS games is expected to see a bump at least for the short-term following the return of the World Cup team. Last night's Western New York-MagicJack game that featured World Cup players like Alex Morgan and Marta broke attendance records for a WPS game with 15,404 spectators.  It was also broadcast on the Fox Soccer Channel.
  • Potential endorsements have yet to be known for any individual players, but certainly Abby Wambach and Hope Solo should look to capitalize on exposure such as this:

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