By Evan V. Symon
The U.S. Women’s Soccer team, fresh off a World Cup victory in France, is making its first stop in its victory tour at the Rose Bowl Aug. 3 for a match against Ireland.
For many local teams whose players and coaches are going, the victory means so much more. The Pasadena Red Roses of the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) are just one of many teams who were empowered by the victory.
Standing only feet away from the newly inaugurated Brandi Chastain statue outside the Rose Bowl, Red Roses players spoke on what the victory and the team meant to them.
Many felt inspired and empowered. “They’re inspiring,” said Sarah Leizman, “It inspires us to play hard like they do.” Another Red Rose, Audrey Bradley-McKinnen, concurred. “They’re inspiring to watch play. Most people think of the men’s team, but it’s motivating to see [the women’s team] play that well.”
And she wasn’t the only one motivated by the Women’s National team on the Red Roses. “It makes us feel motivated to keep playing,” said Scarlett Coombes, “It keeps us trying during games.”
“The win showed what hard work can do,” voiced Mari Owen, “I want to play my whole life, and they showed that, with hard work, you can achieve a lot of things.”
The team making their first stop in Pasadena and returning to the site of the Women’s Team legendary 1999 victory was also important to the Red Rose players. “It’s really motivating,” added Julia Kreinberg, “For their first stop they chose Pasadena out of everywhere else. It means a lot to us.”
The victory and the visit also mean a lot for local coaches. All three coaches told of how seeing a game played by World Cup champions helps their own players.
“Going in person is great,” said Coach Joshua Kreinberg, “You can see it in person. They can see how the [National Team] performs on the field, and every player on the Red Roses can learn from what they do.”
“We tell our players ‘Look at the player in that position,’” added Coach Simon Coombes. “‘Look at the person who plays your position. See what they do, even out of the camera.’ Then we ask what they can do to improve.” Coach Dana Bradley joined in on the sentiment. “We have games and practice, and so does the women’s team. Some of our players want to make the women’s team someday. Showing them what they can do is big.”
The game taking place at the Rose Bowl also hit home for the coaches.
“I remember watching the ‘99 final,” remarked Coach Kreinberg. “And our team [the Red Roses] have practiced on that same field. It’s really exciting that they’re coming back to Pasadena.
Ever since the iconic 1999 World Cup win at the Rose Bowl, the Women’s team has encouraged more girls to play soccer. Thanks in part to those iconic games in Pasadena, the sport has grown enormously. And with the recent World Cup win, local players such as the Red Roses are among the next generation being inspired all over again.
As Coach Coombes put it, “The Women’s World Cup is getting more and more attention. It’s crazy they don’t have more than they do now. And I think that’s going to inspire them to play even better.”