Salem Radio Network News Saturday, September 23, 2023


Soccer-NWSL’s new Bay FC hope to ride World Cup wave of excitement

By Nathan and Frandino

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The founders behind the new National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) expansion team in California’s San Francisco Bay Area believe this year’s Women’s World Cup will only add to their momentum as they kick off their inaugural season next year.

Bay FC, the NWSL’s 14th club, will start play in 2024 and its founders feature former U.S. national team members Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton and Aly Wagner

“Hopefully we’re going to see more of a presence and excitement around the Women’s World Cup in our community, and that’s what it’s all about,” Osborne said on Saturday at the team’s launch event in San Francisco.

“We can’t wait to host viewing shows and watching the games together within the community. Some of us are going to be calling the World Cup, so to see Bay FC involved in the World Cup and vice versa, it’s only going to help build the momentum.”

Chastain’s role at the World Cup is among the most iconic for the U.S. She scored the deciding penalty in 1999, sealing the win against China at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena.

Chastain said that holding onto the World Cup excitement this year and bringing it to their games next year will be about making fans feel valued as part of the team.

“I think in terms of the excitement and the emotion of these people, reminding them about them bringing their true authentic selves to the stadium every day, not just on a big stage,” Chastain said.

“They will feel their significance and importance to our team. Energy today will be brought to the stadium every time.”

The cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand on July 20. Roughly a third of the U.S.-based league’s players are expected to feature, NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said this week.

Also appearing at the launch event was former Meta executive Sheryl Sandberg and her husband Tom Bernthal, both of whom are strategic investors in the team and have pledged to put their energy in leadership training and development for women and girls through soccer.

(Additional reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Daniel Wallis)


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