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Women's World Cup win has big implications for MSU programs

July 17, 2015
<p>Junior defender Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz, 7, looks to steal the ball from Michigan midfielder/forward Ani Sarkisian on Sept. 27, 2014 at the U-M Soccer Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines defeated the Spartans, 2-1. Jessalyn Tamez/The State News</p>

Junior defender Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz, 7, looks to steal the ball from Michigan midfielder/forward Ani Sarkisian on Sept. 27, 2014 at the U-M Soccer Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines defeated the Spartans, 2-1. Jessalyn Tamez/The State News

Photo by Jessalyn Tamez | The State News

The United Stated women not only beat Japan in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on July 5, but took gold for most-viewed soccer game ever in the U.S. averaging 25.4 million viewers throughout the game, according to si.com. The previous record was set at 18.7 million viewers on June 22, 2014, during the U.S. – Portugal men’s game.

Peter Alegi, history professor at MSU and author of "Laduma! Soccer, Politics and Society in South Africa” and Tom Saxton, head coach of the MSU women’s soccer team, agreed the success of the team and increased viewership should help the momentum of soccer in the U.S.

"The USA's World Cup triumph should continue to increase support for not only women's soccer in this country, but soccer as a whole,” Alegi said in an email.

Alegi described this year’s final as “odd.” Many soccer fans would agree with this statement as U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd had a hat trick in the first 16 minutes of the game and the U.S. were up four goals before Japan scored its first in the 27 minute.

France will host the next women’s world cup in 2019 with the next men’s cup in 2018 in Russia.

“It’s a chance to give top level female athletes the recognition and coverage and celebration that they deserve because they work as hard anybody else,” Saxton said of the women’s world cup. 

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