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As a fan of women’s soccer in the United States, there are several remarkable moments that come to mind. One such moment is when Brandi Chastain dramatically fell to her knees and tore off her jersey after the country won the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in 1999. Another unforgettable moment is Hope Solo’s miraculous and widely-shared save that led to victory against Japan in the 2012 Olympics. Additionally, the 2022 agreement on equal pay for female soccer players is a landmark achievement that ensures fair compensation for these talented athletes until 2028.

As someone who has been involved with soccer from a young age and has remained an avid fan throughout my life, it’s disheartening to see that professional soccer, particularly women’s soccer, doesn’t receive the same level of appreciation in America. In fact, women’s sports as a whole have often been viewed as inferior – less dynamic, less skillful, less engaging, and less popular among audiences – compared to men’s sports.


Fortunately, things are looking up for the US Women’s National Team as we approach the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. This is partly due to the impressive skills of these athletes, but also thanks to the involvement of some notable celebrities. The popularity of soccer has been steadily increasing, and 2020 was a particularly significant year in terms of celebrity investment in the sport. For instance, Brittany Matthew Mahomes, wife of Kansas Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, invested in the Kansas City National Women’s Soccer League, while Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney took control of English football club Wrexham AFC and documented the experience in a full-length film. In the following year, A-list investors such as Natalie Portman, Jennifer Garner, Gabrielle Union, and America Ferrera helped bring the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) to Los Angeles with the establishment of Angel City Football Club. Additionally, Naomi Osaka became an investor in the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage in 2021. Most recently, Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth joined Nashville Soccer Club’s ownership group in April 2022.


Numerous celebrities are joining in the soccer frenzy, and sightings of them at recent games have only added to the hype. For instance, the Paris Saint-Germain game in March 2023 had the Kardashians in attendance, with Kim’s jersey going viral. This influx of star power has inspired more Americans to pay attention to soccer, particularly women’s soccer. Following the 2022 FIFA World Cup for men, CNN revealed that soccer had become more popular than ever in the US. Additionally, Samba TV, a television analytics firm, reported in November 2022 that viewership for women’s sports had hit record levels, with a whopping 453% increase for the National Women’s Soccer League Championship Game. Morning Consult also discovered that younger generations have been leading the charge, with over half of soccer fans under the age of 45.


Lionel Messi, a well-known Argentinian football player and celebrity, made a name for himself in the US during last year’s men’s World Cup. His team’s victory in a thrilling match captured the attention of many Americans. Recently, his trade to Inter Miami caused a stir, generating tremendous interest in the Miami football club and skyrocketing ticket prices. This is an indication that soccer culture is finally taking hold in America.

One TV show that has contributed significantly to the rise of soccer interest in America is Apple TV’s “Ted Lasso,” which won an Emmy award. It follows the journey of a British soccer team managed by an American football coach, providing Americans with insight into the deep connection between non-American cities and their soccer clubs. In Europe, Africa, and Australia, people grow up with soccer clubs as part of their DNA and idolize hero players from an early age. This type of culture is not yet prevalent in America, but hopefully, more people will become obsessed with “Ted Lasso,” and celebrities will continue to give the game the attention it deserves.


It’s undeniable that celebrities, TV shows, and movies have a significant influence on our cultural attention (just observe the Barbie movie craze). With their growing interest in soccer, they are also encouraging us to pay more attention to the sport. This was evident during the Women’s World Cup, which started on July 20. US Soccer recognized this and leveraged it to their advantage by announcing the USWNT World Cup roster with a video featuring popular celebrities like Issa Rae, Taylor Swift, Blake Lively, and Megan Thee Stallion. Each player was given their own spotlight with a different celebrity expressing their excitement about their skill set and the team’s prospects on the field.

The Women’s World Cup has garnered significant global attention according to Nielsen reports. This increased excitement could be attributed to the years of athletic excellence by the women’s soccer team, as well as a well-planned marketing campaign. This momentum has positioned the US to support the USWNT as they aim for their third consecutive World Cup win. These talented athletes have not only made history on the field but have also fought for equal pay, fair treatment, and against systemic abuse that extends beyond sports. With the spotlight now shining on soccer in the US, these athletes will have the resources and attention they rightfully deserve as they prepare to take on the world stage.

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Giving importance to soccer in the United States, a nation that boasts of having the finest women’s soccer team worldwide, can potentially lead to a change in the way women athletes are perceived and evaluated. This shift in perspective can inspire young girls to aspire to play at the highest level of the game and redefine their notion of what is achievable. Although it may seem like it all boils down to soccer, the impact of this change goes far beyond the boundaries of the sport.

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