“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.
Have you ever thought of coaching a youth soccer team, college level team, or a professional team? Is doubt getting in the way of you becoming a coach? Does the idea of entering a male dominated field hinder your ability to live your soccer lifestyle to the fullest?
No need to worry! There are tons of coaching events to help you get where you need to go.
For women who are considering coaching, events like this are a great opportunity to learn what it’s really like be a soccer coach at any level. These events give women the opportunity to pursue leadership and coaching roles. Women’s soccer is growing. And with that growth, there are many organizations out there paving the way by offering opportunities for all and providing great resources. It just takes a bit of research.
United Soccer Coaches is one of the best and most diverse coaches associations nationwide. Their mission is to try and inspire coaches through their programs while providing support. They offer many resources for various levels of coaching whether you are a novice, a club level coach, or a leader in your community.
Open Training WeekUnited Soccer Coaches hosted Open Training Week from April 2-8 in cities across the country. A total of 176 teams hosted these trainings. Nearly 1,200 coaches were in attendance. This event allowed coaches of all ages and levels the opportunity to experience new coaching styles and different kinds of play. These sessions provided some great recommendations for coaches when it comes to running practices and setting up their own daily practice plans. Any coach, at any level has a set plan for a training day. But depending on players’ feedback or energy levels, a coach must be ready to shift gears to get the best out of their players that day. The highlight of this casual, open practice within the community was to be able to observe high-level training sessions and learn from them. There is a lot of theory involved in coaching soccer. But, nothing compares to hand-on training.
Earlier this month, men’s and women’s teams at the college and professional levels welcomed local soccer coaches to visit men’s and women’s college teams at 176 cities across the nation.
As a novice coach, I appreciate these open practice sessions.I went to USC (University of Southern California) which is fairly close to my home. I was very interested in getting out to their stadium and meeting their coach. McAlister Field at USC is an intimate place to watch the game of soccer. It’s not a big stadium for a huge number of students and alumni, but this allows you to really see the game. USC Women’s Soccer team won the NCAA Championship 2 years ago and they continue to play at the highest level. Coach Keidane McAlpine and his Women’s soccer team led the coaches through a training session. We got a bird’s eye view of how these athletes communicate on the field, and got a sense of the intensity of practice, even though it’s offseason. After the warm-up, the Coach came over and asked for questions, and as practice moved on to small sided games and eventually the game itself, the Coach came took us through each process. This was the most valuable coaching session I have ever been to, seeing the players respond to the different intensity of the practice, and hear what the coach was looking to get out of these women for the 2-hour practice. Also, Coach McAlpine touched upon his recruitment process and NCAA rules and regulations that these women athletes need to adhere to while playing in college.
Dominique Randall, a USC grad currently playing for the NWSL Utah Royals reserves, joined her old Coach in the training discussion after the practice. What was so interesting was the Coach telling us that Randall was highly aware that she lacked technical skills of the game like some others in her league, but what she lacked in technical skills, she made up for with her attitude on and off the field, her tenacity, energy aggressiveness on the pitch, her confidence and leadership with her team. As he explained, Coaches need to instill an environment where players can excel in different approaches to the game and fit the dynamic of the team.
United Soccer Coaches is a great resource in for coaching education, networking, job opportunities, and more. Many amazing coaches and mentors are affiliated with this organization and want to share their knowledge of the game of soccer and principles of coaching. We are all learning every day, and it is important to encourage, motivate and mentor. Pass it on!
Women’s Soccer and Ice Hockey are winning Cups and Gold Medals. Does this signal a sustainable surge in our culture or is it just a trend?The similarities between these two women’s sports leaves me questioning for a brighter future. I must confess I didn’t follow Women’s Hockey all that much. I was aware of the league, and of the legal battle between these athletes and the Federation for fair treatment and gender equality.
What brought this to my attention was the message the US Women’s
National Soccer team was sending them during the Olympics. This, of course, simultaneously as they too fight the same exact battle but are a little further ahead in their fight for recognition and equality.
I do believe there is a trend in women’s sports. I believe that there are many characteristics between Women’s Professional teams that are on an upward swing based on viewership, talent and accomplishments both internationally and in our own country. Women are winning championships in this country where men are not able to compete. Let’s face it, the men’s soccer team not making the World Cup has left US Soccer with no other valid choice than to strongly get behind the women. If they don’t, there could be a backlash the size of which they’ve never seen. Women are not afraid to make noise anymore. Just in the landscape of our country, we see women standing up for one another, gaining confidence, holding higher positions in the collegiate environment and professional arena. USA Women’s Hockey and US Women’s Soccer stand out as hugely successful teams that just happen to be women.
In making a case that women’s soccer and hockey are on the rise, we have to acknowledge that because we label them as women’s sports, we are saying they are not equal to men’s sports. This is in terms of physicality and based on viewership. So, I will highlight the similarities of women’s hockey and women’s soccer because recently we have seen a growth in these sports, but it takes championships, like The World Cup and Olympics to enhance viewership and support of these teams.
For the first time in 20 years the US Women’s National Hockey Team won an Olympic Gold Medal. Canada had defeated them the past 4 Olympics. They have been fighting for equal pay and equal rights. They were involved in an equitable sports battle against their own federation. Not only did the Women’s Hockey break Canada’s grip on the Gold medal, but they also jumped another hurdle to ensure their belief and purpose for receiving fair and equal treatment in their sport. This team has had their taste as victor and as an underdog, but they keep fighting.
US Women’s National Soccer Team is the most successful international team in women’s soccer. They won World Cup in 1991, 1999 and then 16 years later won another World Cup title in 2015. They have won Gold medals medals in soccer and pretty much have always placed in the Olympics. There are always good years for these teams, but with success has come failure. It just goes to show you being the best in the World does not give you stability. These women work even harder, all other countries are getting better, and it is about always working harder. They have been fighting for equal pay and fairness, and seek justification on why treatment and salary is so lopsided and men are not winning.
We have Women’s Leagues for both sports that continue to bring talent and competition to
inspire youth. The US Women’s hockey program is one of the best in the world. Women come to the US from all over the world to play in NWHL. They are the first league to pay its players.
The NWSL is arguably the best soccer league in the world, players also coming from all parts of the world, and players also leave college to come play professionally. The NWSL is the 3rd soccer league formed and has lasted the longest, with many players representing their countries on National Teams.
In being a fan of both men and women soccer and hockey, I realize the women play so
differently. This is why I love watching women’s sports. Women’s hockey players are quick,
precise and creative with their play. The passing is just unbelievable and their grace of
skating with the puck is great to watch. These women hockey players are unbelievably
conditioned and strong. Women’s soccer players are similar. They have the best trainers and most physically fit of all teams outside the US. Their movement on and off the ball is precise, they communicate well and getting better technically all the time. This is what inspires young girls. Being part of a team, trusting each other, trusting the coaches, trainers and gaining fans around the world, is something that these women strive for, and know that every person on their team is working for another, working for gender equality and gaining respect.
So worlds collided today at the SheBelieves Cup when the Women’s hockey team came out at half-time, playing to the demographics of women’s soccer and the TV advertising. USA women’s hockey has never received the TV viewership like the women’s National Soccer team, or even signed a deal with a TV network. ESPN has streamed a few games, but The SheBelieves Cup stands for all women in sports, and that means hockey too.
Girls look up to these athletes as they strive to play professionally, to make the Olympic team or even just to make a living playing the sport they love and excel in.
As President Obama said it best, “Playing like a girl means you’re a badass’.
Today, I am hopeful to see many more badasses in the future on TV and with gold medals around their necks that will give our country and fans, not just females either, something to cheer and be proud about.
MAY 22 - RED CARD EVENT brings groups from all over LA to watch the LA Galaxy - San Jose California Classico
RED CARD EVENTS provides another great LA Galaxy event.
We always love when San Jose scores an Own-Goal for The Galaxy!…….The California Classico is always an exciting game. Each year LA Galaxy take on rival San Jose Earthquakes at StubHub Center and its always a great game. Red Card Events brought 500 people to the game and 250 people participated in The RED CARD pre-game event. The purchase of a ticket provides just so much more than a seat to watch the game. We also provided 55 on-field experiences to our RED CARD EVENT ticketholders; sitting on player's benches for both home and away teams was the highlight for many. The others were part of the high-five line and center circle banner spots on the field. Either way, our participants got to experience the fun of being on the field with their favorite players,
This year, Red Card Events hosted a pre-game event with mini-soccer tournaments being played on LA Galaxy practice fields, along with free, private tailgate and a great Sideline East to watch the game. Red Card brought groups from all over Southern California to the game including Real SoCal, EuroClub, and Barca-CA. Red Card and donated 30 tickets to the Tiyya Foundation for their group and coaches to come to the event, play and watch the LA Galaxy - for many it was their first professional soccer match.. We all traveled from San Fernando Valley, Santa Ana and beyond to drive the distance to the StubHub to experience this great sport of soccer.
We set up our tailgating tents early, and started the barbecues and provided a great atmosphere before the game. Many were newcomers to StubHub Center and enjoyed the sense of community this sport embraces.
Our sponsor TOPPS www.TOPPS.com provided the group with MLS soccer cards for the participants, and Kick Like A Girl provided us with a great product, Penta bracelets with charms - also available for purchase on www.RedCardEvents.com.
Mark your calendars for the next two Red Card Events: August 7 LA Galaxy vs. NY Red Bulls, and September 11 LA Galaxy vs. Orlando City FC. So before that, sit back and watch all the great soccer not only Galaxy has to offer, but the COPA, the Euros and the Olympics. See you on the field cheering for the Galaxy.
4-10 Red Card Event Draws Hundreds of Fans to Pre-Game Community Soccer Event as LA Galaxy Draw the-Timbers 1-1
4-10 Red Card Event Draws Hundreds of Fans to Pre-Game Community Soccer Event as LA Galaxy Draw the-Timbers 1-Bringing the love of soccer to the community, on April 10 - RED CARD EVENTS brings soccer experience to a new level. Before the Galaxy-Timbers Game April 10th participants got to play soccer on Galaxy practice fields, eat, and hang out with old and new friends at a private tailgate, and watch the GALAXY-TIMBERS game in great seats with the group. Tadeo from Soccer Workout www.Cuerpaso.com got the players warmed up and showed the exercise value of soccer. Our wonderful volunteers led Red Card players in soccer skills stations and finally teams were formed for a informal action soccer Tournament. Some kids were awarded the experience walking with an MLS player onto the pitch in the pre-game procession - a true opportunity of a lifetime they will never forget.
The LA GALAXY match against the MLS Defending Portland Timbers ended in a 1-1 draw after MLS Cup Hero Nat Borchers headed in an own goal in the final minutes. Nigel de Jong’s tackle of Darlington Nagbe brought on a Yellow Card and ultimately a Three game suspension.
Red Card Events first soccer game day event of the 2016 Season at the LA Galaxy game last Sunday, April 10 was a great success. We brought together over 500 people from al over Los Angeles community to offer a great soccer experience to fans, families, friend alike. Red Card has formed a partnership with the LA Galaxy for the 2016 MLS season. IN Addition to the 4-10 game agains the Timbers, RED CARD COMMUNITY SOCCER EVENTS will include 5-22 AGainst San Jose Earthquakes, 8-7 against the NY Red Bulls, and 9-11 when the LA Galaxy host the purple Orlando FC for the first time ever in StubHub Center. RED CARD EVENTS plans on bringing fun experiences to people who have either NEVER been to a game or fanatics who can experience the game they love.
We brought many groups together for such a fun afternoon. Groups from Welby Charter School from the San Fernando Valley, Barcelona CA FC, a soccer club located in Calabasas, CA, Real Socal, a soccer club located in West San Fernando Valley, AYSO players, Avid soccer fans and friends, entertainment partners, and even some people who had never been to a professional soccer game.
Red Card provided 500 tickets for the community, and seats range from General Admission, all the way to midfield and Sideline and sections where the players come out to the field.
Every guest that met us on the practice fields before the game went home with special VIP Red Card Lanyards containing 2 packages of MLS soccer cards provided by sponsor, TOPPS.
20 kids were chosen to walk out on the field with an MLS player. Walking hand in hand with these kids’ heroes was amazing experience a day these kids would never forget.
We have three more events coming up: May 22 vs. San Jose Earthquakes, August 7 vs. NY Red Bulls, and September 11 vs. Orlando FC. Please contact Laurie Baral at (323) 702-2532 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and how you could bring a group together for this event and create a fun, unforgettable day. Tickets for all Events available at www.RedCardEvents.com
Boots and Cleats - Letting Go
Cleaning out the garage we were finally able to let go of our families historical record of soccer and baseball cleats. They are now in the Goodwill Industries gift stream and we hope the find good homes.
Blazer Con 2015 November 13-14, 2015 - Joel Baral
I did it - got my tickets and planned my trip. Pies, Guiness, Pregnant Chelsea Fans, Soccer Commissioners and Fans Dressed as Marouane Fellaini with a Jack Wilshire doll eating his chest. Part soccer trade show, part Brooklyn soccer pub on a Saturday morning, part international sportfest at a convention center. Our favorite funny soccer loving podcasting brits put on quite a party and I was first in line. Literally. BlazerCon 2015 was the live manifestation of the cult that has grown up around hosts Michael Davies (Davo) Roger Bennett (Rog) MenInBlazers - Podcast, now TV show that this year moved onto NBCSN. It's on at 10pm on Tuesdays except when moved for hockey or rowing, or whatever non-soccer sports runs over. These two bald not very good looking gents wear blazers talk about soccer - always positive, well informed, passionate. They focus on the big and small and so did BlazerCon.
Some highlights -