The U.S. has been eliminated from the FIFA World Cup but Americans are still tuning in to watch, suggesting a growing passion for soccer among sports fans in the United States.
Two-time World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brandi Chastain joined me and my co-host Chris Markowski on Your Wake Up Call on News Talk Florida today to talk about a big reason why she believes the sport has grown so quickly — social media.
According to statistics released by Twitter, there were 4.9 million tweets cast during the #GHAvsUSA match, with Clint Dempsey’s goal in the first 34 seconds recording 173,738 tweets per minute and John Brooks’ goal registering 168,139 tweets per minute.
I asked Brandi to revisit her unforgettable moment at the 1999 World Cup, when she clinched a victory for the U.S. women against China on American soil, and how that might have been received on Twitter, which has practically become America’s favorite sports bar. We also talked about how it impacted soccer and women’s sports in the U.S.
“Having that 1999 moment — it catapulted soccer. I think it did shed a light on women’s sports for sure, but it gave soccer more credibility in this country than maybe it had before,” she said.
“And now, that’s right now, what’s happening with U.S. soccer, with the Men’s National Team, I mean, Tim Howard is — I’ve seen so much about Tim Howard, and I love Tim Howard, I watched Tim Howard play in the English Premier League — I just think it’s fascinating now how people think this man can save the world. He can save a lot of shots on goal, but now he’s saving the world. And that’s just fun that soccer is making that type of impact on everyone’s lives.”
We then discussed if the momentum Howard and Clint Dempsey and others helped build can be sustained when it’s the women’s turn to play next year in 2015. I also asked what it’s going for the U.S. women to return to the final.
“There’s no reason why the U.S. Women’s National Team won’t be in the final and winning the championship for the World Cup next year in Canada. The pool of players that exists here in the United States, I don’t think it’s ever been so deep. I think the biggest obstacle will be finding the right players and finding the right 11 that will play well together come the World Cup.”
She said chemistry is what’s most important.
“Can those 11 players on the field come together at the right time, with the right chemistry, all with the same objective and get the job done? I think what we’re seeing is that there are more countries around this world with women’s soccer and the quality of play has intensified to the utmost degree, and now it’s going to be more difficult. But I think that the players here in the U.S. can get it done.”
You can listen to the entire interview here:
Your Wake Up Call is a news talk radio program airing Monday through Friday from 6 – 10 a.m. in Tampa Bay (AM 820 News) and Orlando (AM 1190 News).