US Women’s National Team thrives online content
Soccer turns into a lifestyle product
Last Sunday, the the U.S. Women’s National Football Team beat the Dutch National Team with 3–1 in a friendly match. In Atlanta, The Netherlands took the lead in the opening seconds, giving them a 1–0 lead. But the score board turned into the advantage for the USWNT with the equalizer in the first half and two goals in the second part of the match, meaning a convincing result for the number 1 ranked football nation.
This event will probably not be marked in the history books as incredible, but it’s a good showcase to take a closer look at the women’s football in the US, and the massive social impact of the performance of the national team and the players.
First some stats: USWNT is ranked 1st on the FiFa ranking. They are three times World Cup winner and four times Olympic Champion. And good performance is the result of a good organization: Already in January 2011, April Heinrichs was hired by United States Soccer Federation as Technical Director for women’s soccer. And finally and most impressive, of the 3M soccer players in the US, almost 50% are girls/women. It’s the fastest growing sport group in the US, which in the end is the basis of the elite players.
In 2015 more Americans watched the Women’s World Cup final than the NBA Final
The women’s national team has become a strong online brand, where each match has millions of viewers. Did you know that more than 20 million Americans watched the Women’s World Cup final in 2015, more than the NBA Final or Stanley Cup that year?
You only have to google “USWNT” and you’ll get thousands of hits about the team and their top players like Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath. You’ll read everything about the recent loss in Rio 2016 to Sweden and the suspension of goalie Hope Solo after calling her opponents “a bunch of cowards.” You’ll easily find their social channels, with the USWNT instagram account reaching almost 1 million followers.
But what really shows the fan engagement of women’s soccer in the US are the numerous social accounts that are representative for the massive attention. You might have heard of Indi Cowie, an American freestyle footballer, who practices her skills for one to three hours per day and showing it to the world on Instagram and snapchat.
Or, maybe less known, but perhaps even more illustrative are the dedicated fans like Savageuswnt, a teenager who makes exceptional videos and pictures of her hero’s and has a rapidly growing fan base. This way of content creating, editing and posting shows the dedication of the fans and the impact of women’s football.
Next year the Netherlands will host the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 and as a Dutch fan I hope they will beat all the competition. With a growing football participation under girls, an excellent education program and a growing attention to women’s soccer in general, things look really good. But what I really would like to happen is the growth of the social impact of the Dutch players and national team with home made vids about players like Anouk Hoogendijk and Shanice van de Sanden. Just like USWNT.