Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



World Cup Afterglow In Western New York: a Lot of Flash, a Little Magic, and a Big Heroes Welcome 22

Posted on July 21, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

Abby Wambach got a heroes welcome during her return to Rochester.

The Women’s World Cup momentum swept like a tsunami through Western New York just three days following the emotionally draining, ultimately disappointing US defeat in the finals, by Cinderella Japan.

With the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) match between the home team, Western New York Flash, and magicJack SC, half of the league’s 35 World Cup representatives, including six from the U.S., were represented in one arena. And the crowds came out to pay homage.

In a ceremony just prior to the game, Rochester native Abby Wambach–America’s newest national symbol– received the keys to the city of Rochester from the Mayor. At half time the Monroe County Executive added to the praise, with a proclamation of Abby Wambach Day.

While Wambach didn’t play, she did address the crowd at half-time with an emotional, triumphant speech, and promised a gold medal for the U.S. in next year’s London Olympics.

Although World Cup fever was largely responsible for the record crowd of 15,400, it was still an unprecedented crowd for women’s club soccer. Extra bleachers were brought in to the open end of the park, and standing room tickets were also sold. It was not only the largest crowd in the history of WPS, it was a record for the venue as well, bulging with 1,400 more than the listed capacity.

It was obvious the crowd came to honor the local hero, to celebrate with Wambach’s magicJack cohorts from Team USA such as Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Shannon Boxx, and to cheer for the Flash’s own US hero, Alex Morgan, as well as the Flash’s international stars: Marta, Canadian captian Christine Sinclair, and Swedish star, Caroline Seger. But it can also be hoped that it wasn’t just that, that it was also the beginning of a new love affair with women’s soccer, and with a local team that has played in relative obscurity, despite the fact that they could very well be the world’s best women’s club side.   Read the rest of this entry →

Even in Defeat, U.S. Women’s Soccer Players Serve as Important Role Models 5

Posted on July 17, 2011 by Dean Hybl

The Women's Soccer World Cup final was an exciting game that made fans forget about gender, at least for the day.

Had the United States Women’s Soccer Team held on to their second half and extra period leads in the 2011 Women’s World Cup there would probably have been dozens of articles written today about how the victory would change the culture for women’s sports and soccer in the United States. Because America is a country where most people generally give their loyalty to winners, most of those same writers are likely now writing about how women’s sports in general and specifically soccer can go back to their place on the back shelf of American sports interest.

I have been a fan of soccer since watching Pele and the New York Cosmos and then playing the sport as a youngster on some of the first youth soccer teams in my area in the late 1970s. However, even if the American women had won, one tournament wasn’t going to change the fact that soccer is a sport that Americans care about much like they do the primary Olympic sports. When national pride is on the line we care, but the rest of the time we don’t really care and never will.

I’m willing to bet if you walked the streets of just about any city or town in America and asked 50 people to name even one team from the MLS, most would look at you funny and ask “what is an MLS?” If you dared ask them about the WPS they would probably report you to the cops.

But while the result of the Women’s World Cup final may not have changed that fact, just the interest given to the game by the mainstream media does have an impact in another important way.

My seven-year-old daughter likes art, music and reading. There is absolutely no chance that she will be a professional athlete and though sports are on the television at our house almost continuously, she rarely has even the slightest interest.

However, twice in the last few months I have seen a spark in her eye about commercials for sporting events. The first was in early April when the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Final Four was being promoted. The second was this week in preparation for the Women’s World Cup final.

She sat and watched much of the women’s basketball Final Four with me and today though we were out and about during most of the game she navigated to the television when possible to see how the game was going and was genuinely interested when I would give reports while following the game on my phone.

I asked her this afternoon why she was interested in those games and she said it was because it isn’t that often that women’s sports are on television and she likes watching them.

Read the rest of this entry →

Western New York Flash Dominate Before a Record Crowd 2

Posted on May 23, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

The Flash stayed undefeated with their win over the magicJack.

The stars were back in action in Women’s Professional Soccer this weekend after being gone on international duty last weekend, setting the stage for a titanic matchup and a warm homecoming for mJ’s Abby Wambach  in Western New York.

As Florida’s magicJack took the pitch against the home side, Western New York Flash, the leagues two remaining undefeated clubs faced off before an all-time league record attendance for a single game.

After averaging well below 2,000 for their first three home matches, the return of Rochester native Abby Wambach with the visiting team helped boost the crowd. Wambach has her own fan base in the area and drew rousing applause at introduction, as well as some intermittent chanting of her name throughout the match, but it was also obvious that the large crowd was there for their own team as well. Read the rest of this entry →

WPS Places Five Nominees for FIFA Player of the Year 4

Posted on October 30, 2009 by Todd Civin

Sonia Bompastor

FIFA announced its short list for the 2009 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Award from its headquarters in Zurich on Friday with five of the 10 players in contention for the award having played in WPS during the Inaugural Season. Nominees who played in WPS, all of them selected as WPS All-Stars, include (country/2009 team):

Sonia Bompastor FRA/Washington Freedom – Led the league in assists (6) while tallying four goals and was selected as WPS Player of the Month for May. Her slashing, exciting play at defensive midfield helped the Freedom bounce back from a slow start to finish third in the 2009 WPS Regular Season.

Cristiane BRA/Chicago Red Stars – The only player in WPS to notch a hat trick this season, her incredible long-range strike against FC Gold Pride in early July was one of the goals of the year this season in WPS. Finished with seven goals, fourth-best in WPS. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Follow Us Online

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Sid Luckman: Chicago Bears Legend
      September 28, 2019 | 7:09 pm
      Sid Luckman

      After years of struggling to find a consistent quarterback, the Chicago Bears now hope third-year player Mitchell Trubisky will be their quarterback for years to come. As the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month we are recognizing the best quarterback in Chicago Bears history.

      Chosen out of Columbia–where he played tailback–with the second pick in the 1939 NFL Draft, Sid Luckman spent 12 seasons as the quarterback for the Bears and led them to five NFL Championship Game appearances and four titles.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Sign up for Email Updates

    Sign-up to get daily updates of all the great articles and information on Sports Then and Now.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Affordable Satellite TV Great prices on Dish network packages.

  • Gear up for your next trip with new North Face Backpacks from SportsUnlimited.com. Shop great Field Hockey Sticks from Grays & Gryphon.

    Football Jerseys

    8mm film to digital
  • Current Poll

    Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
  • Post Categories



↑ Top