Just a friendly reminder to everyone - if you're a fan of the NWSL, please commit to yourself to attend the matches so we can have a league for yet another year. Seven games into the season and the Portland Thorns are bringing in around 15,000 fans! What a soccer culture Portland offers - let's all move there. And let's remember and celebrate each and every one of the 23,403 fans who broke attendance records for the first Orlando Pride match. Way to show up for your new team. Okay, that's not practical, so let's support the other teams, average attendance is around 6,000 (that includes the high curve of the Thorns). Here are my top 10 reasons to support the NWSL:
Top 10 reasons
10. These are highly-skilled professional athletes, usually giving a fantastic 90+ minutes of affordable entertainment. Turn off the tv or computer and get on some public transportation to the stadium to make sure the players get paid. Yes, even though it's disgustingly and significantly less pay than the wonderful men of the MLS. #equalplayequalpay
9. You'll have a chance to watch some of your favorite U.S. National Team superstars, like Alex Morgan and Carly Lloyd, Tobin, Crystal, Julie, Morgan, Ali, Christen (my fingers got tired, had to stop. Heather, Becky...Hope!) when they travel through your town. See them before they become 2016 Olympic Champions! I'm avoiding mentioning the Zika Virus threat in Brazil - so scary.
8. Stadium food is getting that hip food-truck styling we all love. Cheesesteak, meat pies, tacos, beet fries(?!). It's interesting, local, and usually delicious. I think in most stadiums you can wash it down with beer. Poor Seattle, no beer for you.
7. Up and down the stadium stairs - butt & thigh workout! #trainlikeyouwantit
6. Make friends or maybe even a love connection - thousands of people with a similar interest, all around you. Strike up a conversation with the person in the next seat, ya never know who you're going to meet.
5. Team gear! It's titillating to browse through the branded jerseys, scarves, and lanyards. Go team! Plus you'll look extra spiffy in your match day selfie wearing team colors. Let the world know who you cheer for. Scarves up!
4. Soccer fan chants - usually led by the fanatical and entertaining supporter groups. "I believe. I believe that we will win" - okay that's the national team chant but one we all know, right. Admit it, you're singing it in your head right now and remembering Abby and Rapinoe at the New York parade singing it. Get to the stadium, do the wave and chant - ya can't do that at home or work. Or can you? If you do a chant at work tomorrow, please take video (turn the phone sideways people) and post on our Facebook page.
3. Autographs! I think all of the teams make sure the players are available post-match for some fun fan engagement and photos. They want the league to flourish too, and will gladly sign your jersey or program and pose for a selfie which will make all your Instagram fans jealous.
2. Goaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllll! That exhilarating moment when your team puts the ball in the net. There is nothing like the rush of adrenaline that forces us to launch out of our seats and scream and cry. And what if it's in stoppage time? Each match has its own storyline with beloved characters, both villans and heroes. And oh my gawd, when your hero puts it past the keeper at the 93rd minute...I'm getting emotional just thinking about it. On tv is one thing, but being in the stadium watching it in person is the ultimate experience - go buy tickets right now.
1. Women empowerment. The women's game needs massive support to make it past four seasons. Let's keep the seats bought and filled to support our fave female athletes as they inpire and teach the young female players that there's a place and future in women's professional soccer. Imagine a world without a professional soccer league for our American women. Sorry I made you sad. Don't fret, there is a league and you can buy tickets for a game near you, or far if you can afford the airfare. CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS!