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Women's Soccer Gains Fans in US - 2003-10-10


Women's soccer has grown tremendously in the United States since the 1999 World Cup.

The U.S. victory in 1999 brought unprecedented interest to women's sports in general, and specifically to soccer. Mia Hamm is considered to be the best women's soccer player in the world, and says the success of her sport is in large part to the way players from her team and around the world approach the game.

"Players on this team [the United States], and not just this team, international players as well, every time they step on the field, they are ambassadors of the game," she said. "And that is the way they play it."

Hamm says the growth of soccer in the United States is especially impressive since it is relatively new to the American culture.

"One of the things that we did not have is the history of tradition of soccer in this country," Hamm said. "No one played. It was not just a men's game. It was, who's game is this?"

The women's game certainly belongs to the United States, where it seems to be more popular than in other countries, where men's soccer gets most of the attention. On Saturday, the women's game is back in the spotlight when the United States plays Canada in the Women's World Cup third place game in Carson, California, just south of Los Angeles. Germany and Sweden will take part in an all-European final Sunday, also in Carson.