US Women's Soccer Gains Fans With On-Field Skills, Off-Field Controversies


In June, striker Sydney Leroux was chastised for the way she celebrated her goal that gave the U.S. team a 3-0 victory over Canada. The game was played in Canada, and after Leroux, who was born in British Columbia and once played for a Vancouver club team, scored her goal in the 93rd minute of the game, she kissed the U.S. team crest on her jersey and put a finger to her lips to shush the booing crowd.

Leroux said she would never take back the way she celebrated that goal against Canada.

"I don't take that back. I would do that a million times," she said. "It was one of the best feelings of my life."

Whether fans like it or not, that kind of provocative behavior has helped to bring much needed attention to their sport. So how does the U.S. Women's soccer team attract the kind of dedicated fans to the sport that other professional leagues, like the NFL or NBA, already own?

"Keep winning," Rapinoe said. "I think now there are so many different personalities on the team, there is something for everyone. Through social media, we really are more so in people's faces, in their living rooms. There are some girl-next-doors. And then there are some that are not."

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