Stanford, Cal, Santa Clara University. All are a wellspring of talent for U.S. Soccer. On Sunday, some of that talent was tapped to face FIFA’s fifth-ranked country in Canada, a game in which the United States won 3-1. While the win was satisfying for the team as it prepares for the 2019 FIFA World Cup, the game itself demonstrated a reality that cannot be ignored: there is a market for professional women’s soccer in the Bay Area.
Santa Clara Bronco Julie Ertz began the scoring in the first half off a corner from Redding, CA native Megan Rapinoe at 11′.
Janine Beckie leveled Canada five minutes into the second half via a through-ball from her Houston Dash teammate Nichelle Prince.
The game’s winner was scored by Cal Bear Alex Morgan with Stanford’s Christen Press bagging the assist at 56′. Press won the ball from Canada’s Jessie Flemming, and her pinpoint-perfect pass found Morgan inside the 18′.
Carli Lloyd was subbed into the match at 80′, and scored her 98th career goal a few seconds later. An Alex Morgan redirect off a cross from Megan Rapinoe found a streaking Lloyd at the top of the six-yard box to put the match away for the Yanks. Lloyd was the only player with no Bay Area ties to impact the score-sheet for the United States.
Current Stanford midfielder Andi Sullivan received minutes as a sub, as well as Fresno’s Lynn Williams. Stanford alum Kelley O’Hara played the entire match.
The Time Is Now
The game not only demonstrated what the Bay Area produces for women’s soccer, it also shows the incredible support that a women’s team would have in San Jose. While the U.S. Men’s team struggled to sell-out a “must win” World Cup Qualifier at Avaya Stadium with a total attendance of 17,729 in March, the U.S. Women’s team surpassed the men’s team World Cup Qualifying match attendance with 17,960 people on Sunday night, just 40 seats short of selling out the 18,000-seat venue in a friendly with nothing on the line.
Amazingly, California does not have a National Women’s Soccer League team despite the huge fan support. However, soccer powerhouse Barcelona has already noticed the fertile crop California has to offer despite being 6,000 miles away, and has made known their plans to be the first to field a women’s team in Cali. If the Quakes do not move soon to stake their claim, they may see their backyard plundered from abroad.