OLYMPIC SPORTS: SCSU Soccer Inspired By USWNT [VIDEO]
Despite their recent loss to Sweden at the Rio Olympics, the United States Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT) has historically been the one of the most dominant teams in soccer.
St. Cloud State soccer players Maria Kass and Sarah Benhart say that watching the USWNT is appointment viewing for the whole team.
"Our whole team watched the first game together," Benhart said. "We were all together and hyped up to watch it because they are an inspiration to us."
The SCSU players also follow members of the USWNT on social media to keep tabs on their favorite players.
"It's always good knowing what's going on (with the team) on social media," Kass said. "I know the new player, Mallory Pugh, is only 18 years old which is really cool. It's an inspiration for not only us, but for kids, too."
"It's always kind of a dream, thinking 'maybe I'll get there some day'," Benhart adds.
There is no shortage of colorful personalities on the USWNT, and Kass and Benhart each have a favorite team member. For Benhart, it's Carli Lloyd, and for Kass, Megan Rapinoe.
"I like her style of play," Benhart says of Rapinoe. "I think I play really similarly."
"We connect," Benhart said with a laugh. "She doesn't know me, but I like to think we are similar."
Both agree that women's soccer, and soccer in general, is certainly gaining in popularity.
"I think it's gotten a lot more popular," Kass said. "The World Cup final (in 2015, which the USWNT won) was the most watched soccer game ever."
"Even just in the US, there was a Premiere League game (at US Bank Stadium) and the stadium was filled," Benhart said. "I think that soccer is becoming more popular in the United States."