“There is no force equal to a woman determined.” – W.E.B. Dubois
It has been a stellar year for women. Women are fighting for equality in all facets of life:
sports, technology, politics, leadership and the list goes on, and their male counterparts have been supporting them. Sports is platform that rings loudly to the youth today. They are being inspired by strong women of the future. There will always be obstacles, but at this moment I can’t help but think about women’s professional soccer.
The Boston Breakers, the most historic women’s professional soccer team, has folded and now the players are being disseminated to the other 9 existing teams, creating a second draft of sorts. This is concerning because the Boston Breakers have always been a metaphor for stability throughout the history of women’s professional soccer leagues. They have been a brand for women’s soccer since the inception of professional women’s soccer leagues since 2001. The team played on Soldier’s Field at Harvard University, had previously acquired talent like Sydney Leroux, Kristine Lilly, Kristie Mewis, Kelly O’Hara, Lauren Cheney, and Meghan Klingenberg. They have been led by coaching staff such as Pia Sundhage, Tim Durkin and Matt Beard. The Boston Breakers were really a stable, competitive organization.
Lately, we have been hearing about financial worries about this club. Three weeks ago we
saw the NWSL, Coaches and young female soccer players sitting among Executives and
Media. College players were learning their fate – where they would be playing in the NWSL.
The Boston Breakers drafted Savannah McCaskill, a top collegiate player from South
Carolina. She had just received her first call up for the US Women’s National Team. After a
few dismal seasons in the NWSL, the future looked hopeful for the Boston Breakers with stars Rose Lavelle, Megan Oyster, Katie Stengel and many others headlining their roster.
So you would think with all of this history, with loyalty, that the soccer community wouldn’t lose the Breakers. Even though the floodgates didn’t open with fans, there was still that sense of intimate and approachable spectacle that in a way we were all part of…we could touch, experience and make it our own. The Breakers compete in a sport that inspires us all by showcasing the ingenuity, strength, beauty and talent of women.
The NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League), the professional umbrella the Breakers fall
under, continues to report that the league is stronger than ever, that having only 9 teams will make for more revenue. Yeah, I don’t get that. You try and contact NWSL or look on their website and their is no way to contact them, no one to speak to with a clear title. I think the NWSL needs better leadership, more sponsorship, more U.S. Soccer backing. We need Robert Kraft to take an interest and run a club like the Patriots. NWSL is the most talented women’s soccer league in the world as a whole, where international players are seeking to play in the US. We have the best women’s collegiate soccer programs – Stanford, UCLA, Duke, Princeton, providing the best education in the nation. There has to be a better way, a better plan to keep the Boston Breakers as a mainstay in the professional world of soccer.
Boston is “The city that raised me,” but I don’t live there anymore, I live in Los Angeles, a
town not loyal to the sports community, a town very divided with its vastness to so many other interests. But I will always stay true to my roots and cheer on Boston, “you’re my home” and I still feel that affinity with the East Coast. It’s those Sunday phone calls to my Dad to discuss Tom Brady, the Patriots, how we get so nervous, and then there is the phone call after filled with excitement that our team won. I shared my love of Boston teams with soccer my favorite sport, and brought my Dad to see the Breakers one beautiful summer evening, to Soldier’s Field. He took me to Fenway growing up, explained the game of baseball, and now I could share my knowledge of women’s soccer. Sharing these moments gives way to memories.
Now my dad keeps asking about the Boston Breakers, and I have to tell him Boston has
disappointed us with our soccer team, but the memories will last a lifetime. I hope that the
youth soccer clubs will continue to inspire young girls to play, watch and learn from these
strong female athletes. Maybe we will get a professional team back in Boston, but until we do I am hoping that the youth will continue to go see collegiate players all around the city. I will continue to support all women’s teams in the NWSL, WPSL and international teams.
For now, though, I’m excited to watch the women’s soccer community here in Los Angeles grow and support Mia Hamm’s promising Ladies of LAFC! There’s a saying that goes, “Grow where you’re planted” and I plan to do that right here in my adopted city. Maybe women’s soccer can take off here in the way I imagine it can and feels it deserves. This is, after all, Hollywood, where the underdog often takes center stage and steals the show.