You’ve probably heard that watching the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) play soccer is good for little girls, but the truth of the matter is that watching women’s pro soccer is good for everyone. Little boys, big girls, even grown ups benefit. Now that team USA has won the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the second time in a row (and for their fourth total win), the team is ready to embark on their 2019 USWNT Victory Tour.
That gives us all more opportunities to see the players in action! There will be five women’s pro soccer games making up the tour, starting on Saturday, August third and running through early October. For the first of these friendly matches USA hosts the Republic of Ireland at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. If you’re lucky enough to be heading to Southern CA, there may still be tickets to see the game in person (check usasoccer.com). The rest of us can watch on TV. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and should also be streamed on Hulu, as the World Cup was.
Why Watch USWNT Soccer?
For starters, whether you like them or not, members of the USWNT are big news right now. You may remember that it always pays to be up on pop culture when you’re a kid. So of course with all the hype surrounding them (like ticker tape parades!), USWNT knowhow can score some classroom cred. Secondly, the players also model teamwork, friendship, tenacity, courage, speaking up for what they believe in and fighting for equality. These fall in line with the character traits and SEL (Social Emotional Learning) that we help kids develop at camp with the EDMO™ Method.
Finally, professional soccer also provides plenty of opportunity for discussions about fairness, fouling, respect and competition. While pro athletes don’t always model behaviors we want to teach children, they do open the door to talk about many different issues: with peers, in the classroom or as a family.
How to get kids interested
Middle to high school aged children who play soccer are probably already hooked. Watching soccer together as a family can help parents and siblings connect with them. These activities might also perk younger and less interested kids’ curiosity. To start, Commonsense Media has written an article with Fun Tips to Enjoy the World Cup as a Family. These ideas should translate to the Victory Tour as well, along with a few more:
- Attend a high stakes match – if you have the opportunity, watching a pro soccer game in person can be thrilling! Sadly there are no pro women’s soccer teams in California, but the National Women’s Soccer League has teams in other states nearby. Many other countries also have women’s soccer leagues. You can also find out about college soccer on the NCAA website.
- Learn about other cultures – look at an atlas to learn about the Republic of Ireland (or whatever team they’re playing next), watch a movie about that country or read a book as a family.
- Collect Stickers – Panini’s World Cup Sticker albums include team rosters, venues and detailed info about players and teams. It’s a fun and easy way to get to know more.
- Play video games – there’s FIFA 19 , Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 and Headmaster to name just a few.
- Learn more about the players – watch US Soccer’s Stories and follow your favorites on social media. The USWNT official team roster has links to players’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.
How to get yourself interested
- All of the above work for adults, too.
- Read Caitlin Murray’s book, The National Team. It’s enjoyable non-fiction that gives some history on Title IX and will get you excited about how USWNT has changed not just pro soccer, but all soccer for women and girls. Moreover, by breaking gender barriers in sports this team is also opening the playing field for women in other aspects of life.
- Read the New York Times article In Fight for Equality, U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Leads the Way. The title says it all. There still may not be an Equal Rights Amendment, but USWNT is getting closer on the soccer pitch.
How to Watch
Most importantly, just sit down and view the game with your kids. Pop some popcorn or heat up TV dinners if you eat late (the game is at 7pm). Even if only the commercials get you excited, something is sure to start some family conversation! For more details on how to watch the game check World Soccer Talk for U.S. TV schedules. If things go well for your family, maybe you’ll want to watch more! Conveniently, the women’s soccer TV schedule continues on World Soccer Talk.