Sad commentary from 2001, given the joyous victory of the U.S. women in Olympic soccer and the tenuous state of the local San Jose Earthquakes:
[T]he hope ... is to average 15,000 per game. At first, I thought that goal would be reached fairly easily in the Bay Area, but it is a real challenge to capture the attention of the people who live in an area where there are so many options of how to spend their time and money. We may build in attendance more slowly than I had originally thought. If we have a team that is entertaining and wins a lot, and if our fans have a good experience from parking lot to parking lot when they come to our games, and if our fans begin to feel connected with the players and feel a part of the ... family, then we will meet our attendance goals.The Earthquakes are currently averaging just over 11,000 fans per match, next-to-last in the league ... and, of course, they may be moved out of the state next season. The above comments seem on target ... even though they aren't about the Quakes. The speaker was Marlene Bjornsrud, at the time the general manager of the CyberRays of the WUSA. That league only lasted three seasons before (temporarily?) disbanding. Pretinha, who scored the Brazilian goal vs. the USA in the Olympic final, was once a CyberRay, as was Brandi Chastain of the now-legendary "Fab 5." As I type this, though, the WUSA is still in limbo. So where there were once two top-level professional soccer teams in San Jose, there may soon be none.
The quote comes from an article I wrote for the San Francisco Bay Guardian at the beginning of the WUSA. "Women kick ass!" was the title, which is still true, even if the league didn't kick quite enough ass overall.