July 16, 2011
By Charles Cuttone
U.S. players appreciate groundswell
It seems everyone has jumped on the U.S. Women’s National Team bandwagon. ESPN, which is airing the ongoing Women’s World Cup, has been virtually non-stop in showing highlights, interviews and talking heads yakking it up about the tournament. The network even made a quick change at its recent ESPY awards, giving the play of the year to Abby Wambach’s game-tying header against Brazil last Saturday.
Network news operations from CBS to NBC and the even the Travel Channel have jumped on board, as has almost every major newspaper in the country.
The players, though half-a-world away, are definitely getting a sense of the excitement.
“Personally, my Facebook page has been very popular with all my friends and supporters, so that’s been really cool to see that outpouring of support,” said defender Rachel Buehler.
“Definitely with the technology today, it has been easier for us to feel what’s going on in the states. Although, I personally haven’t been able quite to see exactly-- we’re not at home, but I’ve felt so much support and it’s been great to have that.”
The support has come from all over, from marriage proposals, to the U.S. serviceman who asked Hope Solo to be his date at the Officers’ Ball. It has certainly been noticed by the players.
“It’s been amazing and totally overwhelming,” said defender Ali Krieger, whose fifth- round penalty kick in the tiebreaker gave the U.S. the win in the epic quarter final against Brazil.
“ As the tournament has gone on, we’ve obviously gotten a bit more support. There is more interest in it and the news and media have kinda been on top of things and are following us through the tournament, which only can progress our sport, not only at home, but throughout the world.
“The support---we’re getting messaged on every social media outlet, from Twitter to Facebook and e-mail and so on and so forth, and blogs. Everyone has given us shout-outs and support from home and are behind us 100%. I know people are having viewing parties- all of our friends and families at home. It’s been really overwhelming. It just gives us motivation to play really well.”
The last two U.S. World Cup games drew impressive ratings on ESPN, with both ranking in the top four among all-time Women’s World Soccer telecasts, topped only by a couple of games from the 1999 World Cup, which was held in the U.S.
“We saw people jumping out of their seats,” said forward Abby Wambach of the response to the games and her goal, which sent the man-down U.S. into penalty kicks with Brazil. “Imagine the energy of millions of people back home supporting us and now we’ve won over the support of the Germans.”