08.08.08. The Global Growth of Women’s Soccer from China 1991 to Today

I was computer-nerding out in Google Analytics this afternoon, and saw that ooosasoccer.com sends a good percentage of traffic over to the WPS homepage. I thought this was interesting considering that ooosasoccer.com is dead (ok, well maybe just in hiatus since its author, Karyn Lush, started working at the WPS League office).

I got excited and thought, maybe, just maybe, she’s found some time to update the page and replenish the international news feed we’ve all learned to rely on and love so much. So I took a hop, skip and a jump over to her page. Sadly, the headstone still reads 2008.03.29.

However, the silver lining was that for the first time, I clicked on the big red button living on the left sidebar that reads “China 1991 – The Birth of a Legacy”. I found a .pdf with some GREAT history of the US National Team. Click here to open the page, it’s totally worth the read.

Here’s a sliver from the first chapter:

The Birth of a Legacy
The Story of the 1991 National Team
By Karyn Lush

(August 2007) – Beginnings sometimes get overlooked.

Embryonic events can be obscured. Nascent signals can be concealed. Burgeoning significance can be misplaced.

Consider the start of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s legacy as evidence. What do you see?
Brandi Chastain lacing a penalty kick into the back of the net, whipping off her shirt to expose a black Nike sports bra, twirling her jersey in the air, falling to her knees, clenching her hands and unleashing a scream only to be drowned out by the cheers of 90,185 fans.

No, the pedigree of a dominant champion was not born on the Rose Bowl floor on a hot July afternoon in 1999 with an estimated 40 million viewers watching on ABC. Go back further.[…]

The true seeds of the legacy are found in the saga of the 1991 National Team when a handful of female soccer players, a few coaches and team personnel, and a smattering of family and friends traveled to China for the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Championship. There was no added luggage of expectations, media coverage or fan approval. All that accompanied them was a dream to be the first World Champions in women’s soccer.

Today, 08.08.2008… the day of the Opening Games in China, seems a fitting time to remember the events that started it all.

At the 2008 NSCAA Convention in January in Baltimore, Emma Hayes and I presented a session about the Global Growth of the Women’s Game and Reflections on the World Cup. There’s a great bit of history in this Power Point if you want to download it.

First, we covered “ancient history” of the game. We took a look back at the changes in the Women’s Game since the first World Cup, which includes in-depth analysis from FIFA’s exhaustive technical reports. 1991 China… 1995 Sweden… 1999 USA… 2003 USA… 2007 China.

Second, we addressed multiple modern developments in the game, both on the men’s and women’s sides as it’s important to learn from the extensive history of men’s soccer to recognize what kinds of changes may lie ahead for the women. We also bring up things like ball speed, improved playing surfaces, larger player pools, etc. We picked out relevant trends, numbers, and quotes from leading publications and coaches.

Finally, we made some predictions about the future technical and tactical development of the women’s game. From the physiological to the technical and tactical. Even specialists that may enter the game in the coming years.

It’s fair to say that reading the power point on its own is no substitute for discussion, and if you were in the room when Emma presented it to the group of about 250 NSCAA coaches, I have no doubt you would have been impressed. My particular favorite was when she called to Anson Dorrance (the winner of 19 National Championships at UNC Chapel Hill), who was sitting in the back of the room, to ask him about his experience as the Head Coach of the US National Team at the 1991 World Cup in China.

My favorite quote from Anson is on Slide 6: “I felt like I was creating diamonds in my lower intestines from the pressure.”

I wonder what Pia is thinking today?

One thought on “08.08.08. The Global Growth of Women’s Soccer from China 1991 to Today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *