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The Portland Thorns: Creating a Spotlight for Women’s Athletics
The Portland Thorns’ popularity has quickly taken hold among soccer fans from all walks of life. They are creating a stir not only in Portland but nationally as they are competing in the finals this weekend for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). In their first season, the Portland Thorns are doing everything right in terms of drawing attention to not only Women’s Soccer, but Women’s athletics. With Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair leading the way, not just women and young girls are among the fans in the stadium. At a Thorns game you can find an array of soccer enthusiasts; from families, to groups of teenage boys cheering on the girls, to young female athletes with their moms or dads watching their heroes. Whatever their reason for attending, they’re contributing to the attention and support that these soccer stars deserve.
The last professional women’s sports team in Portland was the Fire with the WNBA. It’s been 11 years since they played their last game in Portland and in just two seasons the team folded. Perhaps the Portland market just wasn’t ready for a professional women’s team, but that is definitely not the case anymore. Even their season is coming to a close, women’s professional soccer has a bright future in Portland, Oregon.
After setting the league attendance record in their home opener with over 16,000 eager fans, their numbers have stayed high. All of their home games during the regular season reached crowds of more than 10,000 and a number of them were close to 14,000. While you might be skeptical of how great this “attendance record” is considering that this league is in its first season, but their home-opener game blew away any attendance record of the Women’s Professional Soccer league that preceded the NWSL. On top of that, when the Women’s US team came to play in Portland last December, the attendance at that game was just over 10,000. It goes to show not only how great this team can be, but the committed support that Portland fans offer to their home teams.
The dynamic of the game is diverse and entertaining. With the huge crowd behind the goal cheering throughout the whole game, to the creation of new crowd traditions, there’s something here for everyone. At each game it is still surprising to see how many boys are there cheering on the team! It was extremely refreshing and motivating to know that even men realize that these athletes are the real deal and their level of competition and skill is thrilling to watch.
Women’s sports have come a long way, and it’s our belief that we’ve only just begun making our place in history. The Portland Thorns add a whole new level to the motivation and aspirations of young athletes, whether they enjoy soccer or volleyball. It’s an encouraging environment no matter your background or sport. To see groups of young soccer players wearing their favorite player’s jersey, with face paint and signs, looking at women living out their dream, is quite a sight that everyone should experience. Until now these young athletes did not have the opportunity to watch their heroes play, but every couple of years in the Olympics or World Cup. The Portland Thorns have created a new platform for soccer fans; whether they are still playing or just love the sport.
At Aries Apparel we’re all about empowering women, and we feel the Portland Thorns do just that. These young women are a perfect example of committed athletes who are living out their dream of playing professional soccer. Until now there haven’t been many opportunities for them to compete in the United States at the highest level but the time has come. Perhaps it’s an excellent message for all young female athletes and women in general, to pursue their passion even when the future looks uncertain.
Next Game: After setting the attendance record at the start of the season, this Saturday the Thorns have a chance to set an even bigger record; the first team to win a Championship in the NWSL. The Thorns will be playing the New York Flash on August 31st at 5 pm. You can catch the game on television, Fox Sports 2 or online at FOXSoccer2Go.
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