Editor's note: This story appeared in the June 2015 edition of New England Soccer Journal. In the buildup to the Women's World Cup in Canada, Frank Dell'Apa looks at home some locals helped propel the the U.S. women's national team forward.
The U.S. women’s national team is all grown up now, a competitive and marketing success with three decades of history. But the team might not have progressed as it did without the sustenance provided during its infancy by New England organizers.
In the early years of the team’s existence, hardly anyone was paying attention. Things were done on the cheap. A good crowd was measured in the hundreds. Players were sometimes lodged in youth hostels. But the 1991 New England Sports Museum Challenge Cup provided a quantum leap in exposure, the women attracting capacity crowds and making their national television debut.
The two-game set with Norway also provided a tuneup for the inaugural Women’s World Cup in China. Though the United States lost those games against the Norwegians on Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, 1991, the team was ready when it counted two months later.