PITTSBURGH (KDKA) –The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off this weekend and if you’re not watching, you should be.
Even if you’re not a die-hard soccer fan, there are plenty of reasons to tune in.
Like it or not, soccer is the most popular sport on the planet and it’s rapidly gaining in popularity here in the United States.
With that in mind, here are the Top 5 reasons (in no particular order) you should go all-in on the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
Did you know that one of our own is guarding the backline for the United States?
Pine-Richland graduate Meghan Klingenberg made her World Cup debut during USA’s 3-1 win over Australia Monday night.
Klingenberg was in the starting 11 and played the full 90 minutes.
Fun fact: she’s a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo and her brother, Drew, plays soccer for Penn State University.
Klingenberg also plays professionally for the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League.
It’s The World Cup!
Don’t give us the excuse that you don’t normally watch soccer and you’re not going to start now.
We know you’re glued to the television during Olympic badminton, so give this tournament a shot too!
Like the men’s World Cup, this event only comes around every four years.
Better yet, the Americans are one of the favorites to win the whole thing! Not to mention, they are on a mission to avenge a heartbreaking loss to Japan in the 2011 World Cup finals.
The match was an instant classic that couldn’t be settled in allotted 90 minutes.
In extra time, Abby Wambach struck in the 104th minute to put the Americans up 2-1. They were minutes away from winning their first World Cup since 1999, but Homare Sawa leveled the match in the 117th minute to send the match to penalty kicks.
There, the Americans came out on the losing end of a wonderful match.
All Matches Being Played On Turf
It wouldn’t be a FIFA tournament without a little controversy right?
For the first time ever, all of the games in the 2015 Women’s World Cup will be played on turf instead of grass.
Many have raised concerns about the potential for increased injuries as a result of playing on turf. Have you ever had a rug burn? Imagine that, but only a whole heck of a lot worse.
USA forward Sydney Leroux posted a picture of the aftermath of a game on turf a couple of years ago. (Warning: It’s pretty graphic.)
International players from around the world signed a petition and even sued FIFA to switch the field surface to grass.
Despite the overwhelming amount of negativity surrounding the turf, FIFA stuck to their guns and the lawsuit was dropped.
Making matters worse, Wambach told ESPN that FIFA even turned down an opportunity to replace the turf with grass for all of the games…FOR FREE!
Considering the corruption scandal that has rocked FIFA in the past few weeks, this shouldn’t be too surprising.
This will be Wambach’s final World Cup and you don’t want to miss it.
Wambach has won just about everything you could possibly win as a soccer player – except the World Cup.
While representing the United States since 2002, Wambach has scored 182 goals.
In case you were wondering, she broke Mia Hamm’s record of 158 goals in June of 2013.
However, her most famous goal came during a quarterfinal match against Brazil in the 2011 World Cup.
Trailing 2-1 in the dying seconds of added time, Megan Rapinoe delivered a beautiful cross, which was met with a thumping header by Wambach. It was an absolutely stunning goal and breathed new life into the team.
USA would go on to win the match in a penalty shootout.
Watching soccer is better with friends and who doesn’t like a good party?
Last summer, USA fans around the country came together to cheer on the red, white and blue. Remember the “I believe that we will win” chants? Fun times.
Here in Pittsburgh, there were several watch parties around the city to cheer on USA.
Guess what? It’s happening again for the Women’s World Cup!
The Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Outlaws is holding watch parties at Claddagh Irish Pub!
Check out their Facebook page for more details!