Have you attended a MLS (Major League Soccer) match recently? While the games are exciting, full of energy and a great display of top male talent, the cost to attend with skyrocketing ticket prices ($40), parking ($20), food ($15) for a family of 4 ($250??!!) can really take a bite out of your budget. Along with that, the “vibrant” atmosphere at the games may not be the best environment for younger fans. (“Mommy….what’s that F word they keep yelling at the keeper?”)
If you haven’t heard there is a new player in the professional sports market- the newly created National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). In its sophomore season, The NWSL is the third incarnation of women’s professional soccer in the US. With teams in 9 major markets (Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, Portland, Seattle, New Jersey, DC & Rochester) the NWSL is already attracting top female talent from around the world and the stars of the Women’s US National team.
If you’re a soccer loving person or family, it’s likely that your favorite female player plays in the NWSL and may be coming to your town soon!
If that’s not reason enough to go out and catch a match in person, here are 5 more to highlight the family friendly experience and great value:
Less cost and hassle to attend than MLS
Attending an NWSL match is a fantastic value compared to a comparable MLS match. With single match tickets ranging from $13 to $35 you’ll spend half of what you would for an MLS match. Factor in reasonable parking and food prices and easy access in and out of the stadium and you’ve got an afternoon that’s kind to the budget and kid’s patience for the length of an outing!
Family Friendly Atmosphere
We live in Seattle, and what they say about the crowd noise in our stadiums during Seahawks and Sounders games is true. It is LOUD. At Sounders games most people stand the entire match making it difficult for children to see and there are plenty of insults hurled at the other team. It’s not the best atmosphere for small children.
In contrast, at our Seattle Reign NWSL matches the crowd is smaller, filled with children of all ages and much more polite. At the last match we attended we sat in front of a couple who were fully decked out in Reign colors and flags. They tapped us on the shoulder to inform us that they were quite loud and didn’t want to scare our daughter. So polite! We moved but all of their shouting was nothing but sportsmanlike cheering for the home team.
Incredible show of athleticism on the field
At each match you are going to get an amazing and inspiring show of athleticism on the field. Watching NY Flash forward Abby Wambach defying gravity to head a ball into the net or 38 year old (and mother of two!) Sky Blue FC defender Christie Rampone run down speedy 23 year old forwards, you appreciate truly how strong and talented these female athletes are.
These women are out there to play and the game they play is free flowing with minimal stoppage. There is no rolling around on the field faking an injury in this league! It’s all about athleticism and sportsmanship. And inspiration for this mom to get her butt back into the gym? Absolutely!
The league needs our support
The NWSL is the third incarnation of women’s professional soccer in the US, its 2 predecessors folding due to poor financial planning. Learning from the lessons of the past, the NWSL is starting out with a different structure and being more methodical about marketing, PR, merchandising and attracting season ticket holders.
With the grass-roots efforts employed by many of the teams in 2013, attendance at games averaged 4,271 in the regular season (Portland attracted an average of 13,320, swaying this number) which is on par with past women’s leagues. This number appears to be growing in 2014, and the best way to keep this league going and growing is to get fans into the stands and to spread the excitement about the experience at the games.
The players are excellent role models
The way the women of the NWSL compose themselves on and off the field instills strong values into the younger generation watching. You won’t see them in the papers for anything less than positive reasons. The players are accessible, staying after the game to sign autographs for young fans. On the field they display the importance of team, hard work, perseverance and sportsmanship…all wonderful lessons for the girls in the stands aspiring to be them one day!
To find out more about the league, teams and players visit www.NWSL.com
Games can be streamed live on YouTube at www.youtube.com/nwsl