More than 20 of the world’s top female soccer players are making history with their own grassroots leagues and their own brand of soccer that has gone viral, as well as inspiring thousands of women to join their teams.
The New York Cosmos, a top-tier women’s league for girls, are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their inaugural season.
In the first year alone, the league has expanded to over 1,400 teams.
“We wanted to build on our tradition of excellence in sports and give girls and women a platform to showcase their skills and achievements,” said team president Laura Bailis.
“We’ve got our girls playing in front of their families, on TV, on the field, and they’re having a blast doing it.”
Ahead of the league’s 20th season, which is set to begin on Aug. 14, the team is making history by signing up a female coach and team captain.
The team also is celebrating the first female soccer player, and a female referee.
“It’s a milestone for us and for the sport,” said Bailys coach, Jennifer Danker.
“This is a milestone and it’s a good thing.”
The Cosmos are one of the first women’s soccer leagues in the world to have a female head coach, a female goalkeeper, and two female referees.
The league has also been instrumental in helping to grow the game of soccer in the United States.
“I’m so proud of my team and my coach,” said Dankers sister, Megan, who plays for the New York MetroStars.
“It’s just an amazing experience to be a part of.”
Bailys sister, Jen, and the other two co-captains on the team, Abby and Madison, will also be honored by the league this year.
The league has attracted a slew of stars, including the likes of England’s Gaby Kowalska-Nylander, Russia’s Valentina Matviyenko, and Italy’s Andrea Pirlo.
The team also has a very special sponsor: the National Hockey League, which announced its sponsorship of the team in March.
“Our sponsorship is huge, we get sponsorship from the NHL, which we are very grateful for,” said Jen Bailies coach, Laura.
“And we are also grateful for our sponsors who support us and give us this support.”
As part of the new partnership, the Cosmos will be donating a portion of the revenue generated by the women’s leagues revenue to support girls’ soccer in areas around the country.
Bailis and her team are currently the only team in the country that supports a girls’ league.
Baili said she hopes to expand the league to other sports and leagues, but the team’s goal is to be the first and only one.
“My team is the first in the U.S. and the only ones that are dedicated to supporting and developing the sport of women’s sports,” said Laura.