Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Will women’s pro soccer gain much in way of benefits from World Cup win?

The part of the world that cares much about professional soccer in this country will actually be paying attention to the Chicago Red Stars, if indirectly.

Chicago's new fabulous femme athlete?
For Chicago’s club in the National Women’s Soccer League has four of its players who were part of the team that represented the United States in the Women’s World Cup tourney this year.

OF COURSE, THE next time the team takes to the pitch, there will be even greater attention. Because they’re scheduled on Sunday to play the Houston Dash – the team for which Carli Lloyd plays for.

I’m sure the Red Stars are miffed that this particular match is being played in Houston. There’s no chance of a record-setting crowd for the Red Stars consisting of people who are curious to see what all the fuss is about.

The Dash won’t make their lone Chicago appearance for this season until Sept. 6 – their final regular-season match of the year. By which time, it’s likely that the public attention (some 26.7 million U.S. viewers Sunday on television, including the Spanish-language broadcasts) has passed, and the “Lloyd” name won’t be considered as big a deal.

Although it’s possible that every team in the women’s league will gain a bit of a plus. We’re likely for each team to go out of its way to let us know which of the U.S. team members are actually a part of their own ball clubs.

THE RED STARS (a reference to the Chicago city flag) were quick to put out a statement (picked up on by the Associated Press) letting us know of Shannon Boxx, Julie Johnston, Lori Chalupny and Christen Press.

The same Press who gained her own bit of fame in recent weeks from those Coppertone television ads where she “shows off” by heading a beach ball into the pool.

She may well become the glamour girl, of sorts, of the Chicago sports scene. Unless someone from the Chicago Sky (women’s professional basketball) manages to do something to catch on.

I may come off as a bit sarcastic here. It’s just that I’m fully aware of how fleeting “fame” can be, and how quickly it will be before the Women’s World Cup and the U.S. victory will become just a footnote in the public culture eye.

Lloyd coming to Chicago Sept. 5
SO WHAT ARE the chances that much of anything will happen for the Chicago professional soccer scene as a result of Sunday night’s victory?

I’d be willing to guess that most people in Chicago don’t have a clue where the Red Stars play; even if they were interested in checking out a match or two.

While the Chicago Fire men’s professional team has rose to the point of having its own stadium – and a fairly nice structure at that – in suburban Bridgeview, the Red Stars use the athletic facilities at Benedictine University in suburban Lisle.

I’m not knocking the facilities there. But they’re worthy of a small-school athletic department, not a professional sports team that purports to represent the city of Chicago in its respective league.

WHICH THEY HOPE to move up from someday, just as the Chicago Bandits professional softball team used to play in Lisle until they eventually got better facilities in suburban Rosemont.

Although the small, suburban image will stick in the minds of fans who try to check out the league. After seeing the women’s national team win a World Cup in front of a crowd in excess of 50,000 people, will they take seriously a team that draws a couple thousand people (at best)?

To the point where they will wind up missing out on the quality of play on the pitch. Which is their loss more than anything else.

Particularly for those people who are interested in finding a diversion from the knuckleheaded budgetary activity our political people have been engaging in – and will continue to in coming weeks.


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