USA's Tiffeny Milbrett, left, Julie Foudy, Lorrie Fair and Shannon Macmillan celebrate Milbrett's first half goal in the women's gold medal soccer game against Norwary at the Sydney Football Stadium. Norway defeated USA 3-2 winning the 2000 Olympic games
Soccer News: Women's World Cup Star Shannon MacMillan on Women's Soccer
Shannon MacMillan is one of the most humble, modest and genuine super stars of our world. Olympic Gold Medalist, World Cup Soccer Star and Hall of Fame inductee, Shannon MacMillan talks to SN about women's soccer and the upcoming Women's World Cup this summer in Germany.
Spotlight on Women's Soccer: The FIFA Women's World Cup is recognized as the most important International competition in women's soccer. Just like the Men’s World Cup, it is played every four years and this year the competition will be held in Germany starting on June 26. Former FIFA president João Havelange launched the first Women's World Cup tournament twenty years ago in 1991.
Last year the world was buzzing with news on the World Cup. This year, there has been little to see in the media and few soccer fans even know the major tournament launches in less than ten weeks.
SN: Why are so few people aware of the FIFA Women’s World Cup?
Shannon MacMillan: "You really do not hear anything about the Women's World Cup on the news, on ESPN or in the media. Last summer by this time, there were commercials promoting the World Cup and cover news stories in major magazines."
SN: Why does the Women's World Cup not receive the same publicity and promotion?
Shannon MacMillan: “I wish I knew, I have no idea, it is disappointing to say the least.”
SN: Critiques of women’s of soccer say it is not real soccer. What do you say to that?
Shannon MacMillan:“They are uninformed and do not know a lot about soccer. I think a lot of people who will watch women and prefer it. Just because women are playing doesn’t make it any different or less of a sport.
SN: Some say it is not physical enough...
Shannon MacMillan: "They can go watch ultimate fighting. Soccer is not about fouling, it is a beautiful game to watch.”
SN: Why don’t more people know about the World Cup this summer?
Shannon MacMillan: “There is nothing in the media about, unless you are a real hardcore soccer fan, unless you are really looking for it, last year everyone knew who Landon Donovan was, even the people not involved in soccer…the media pushed it hard.”
SN: Who is the best female player now?
“In my eyes? There are several great female soccer players; Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Cheney are just three great players.
who is Captain of the Women’s team is a San Diego girl (who used to play at Surf Soccer Club), and I think she is great. Buehler really embodies what the U.S. Women’s National Socer Team is all about…putting your heart and soul into the team – she is great example and role model.”
SN: Do you know Rachel Buehler?
Shannon MacMillan: “Not really. Rachel is a lot younger than me but I am a fan and what I know of her enhances that.”
SN: Can you tell me your opinion on some of our other players on the U.S. Women’s National Team?
Shannon MacMillan: “Of course, I know several of the players well. Lauren Cheney I worked with her at UCLA and I think she is great at holding the ball and setting up teammates.
Lindsay Tarpley, she is another strong possession oriented player who has a knack for finding the back of the net. Abby Wambach is a threat any time she is in the box and Christie Rampone who is so solid on the defense side, has the speed and a great soccer brain, she is very hard to beat and she is the glue that hold the team together now.”
SN: How do you think the US team is going to perform?
Shannon MacMillan: “I don’t think it is going to be easy for them. I think it is going to be huge for the German team. There is so much parity among the women’s teams from other countries now but the U.S. team can definitely do it.”
SN: What advice would you give them?
Shannon MacMillan: “Work hard as a team and never give up. Take it one day at a time, focus on your immediate opponent and don’t look to far ahead and don’t forget to take a step back and realize you are playing at the World Cup, it is going to be top notch, I wish I could go watch.”
SN: Why can’t you go to see the Women's World Cup in Germany this summer?
Shannon MacMillan: “My son is not ready to go overseas… He is still too young.”
SN: What teams pose the greatest threat to the USA Women’s National Team?
Shannon MacMillan: “The women’s soccer teams from Germany and Brazil.”
SN: Why Brazil?
Shannon MacMillan: “They are a phenomenal team and they are so close to breaking through… they are getting to the semis and winning big games, the team is very close so they are a competitor to watch out for. Never take them lightly.”
SN: What about Germany?
Shannon MacMillan: “They have won the world cup, they have that experience, they are playing in their home environment, it is an automatic edge to have the World Cup played in your country.”
SN: Men’s soccer in America is often referred to as being behind European countries, how do we rank for women’s soccer?
Shannon MacMillan: “U.S. women are ranked #1 in the world. Our Women’s National Team is a great role model for girls playing soccer in America. The USA teams have won World Cups and Olympics, so we are at the top.”
SN: Why do American women do better?
Shannon MacMillan: “Because American girls are allowed to play since we were born, other countries are catching up now. There are more girls playing soccer in America than in most other countries in the world and this has given us an advantage up until now.”
SN: When you realized a lot of your own girls’ team didn’t even know about the Women’s World Cup being played this summer, what did you say?
Shannon MacMillan: “I just told them that we would watch a lot of the games together. Discovering the Women’s World Cup, this is a wonderful journey we can take together.”
SN: Can you tell me one of your experiences in the World Cup?
Shannon MacMillan: “It is the ultimate high.”
SN: What is the most memorable moment?
Shannon MacMillan: “Walking out on the field on the Rose bowl and realizing the stadium was packed in 1999.”
SN: What was your greatest memory of playing in the Women’s World Cup?
Shannon MacMillan:“Scoring the golden goal in ‘99 to put the U.S. into the final for the women’s World Cup.”
SN: How did it feel?
Shannon MacMillan:“I couldn’t even put it into words, could not even describe that feeling. It is impossible.“
SN: How did your team respond?
Shannon MacMillan: "I got tackled by the whole team.”
SN: When your team won the World Cup, what was it like?
Shannon MacMillan:“It was amazing, wonderful. It is so hard to describe those moments. I can remember feeling the excitement.”
SN: What was the difference between winning the Gold Medal in the Olympics and winning the World Cup?
Shannon MacMillan: “The Olympics is a vast event with all sports and the world cup is just for soccer. It was great to play in both but every athlete wants to play it the Olympics, and every soccer player dreams of playing in the world cup.”
SN: When you were 12 did you dream of winning the World Cup?
Shannon MacMillan: “I didn’t even know there was a Women’s World Cup when I was young, I just dreamt of playing in the Olympics.”
SN: Was winning the Gold Medal in the Olympics a dream come true for you?
Shannon MacMillan: “Yes. Being a part of the Olympics was a wonderful experience. Winning a Gold was amazing.”
SN: Was it the same women’s soccer team in the World Cup as in the Olympics?
Shannon MacMillan: "Yes. Same exact soccer team.”
SN: You have played and reached the highest levels in soccer. You have been where most girls dream of going. How do your high level experiences help motivate and inspire players today?
Shannon MacMillan: “Because I speak from experience and want to show them how to reach these heights.”
SN: How many girls grow up to compete in the World Cup and the Olympics?
Shannon MacMillan: “Not many, only 1% I think”
SN: Does being in that 1% make you a better coach?
Shannon MacMillan: “Not every player, who has played at this high level, makes a good coach. I have great experiences but that doesn’t make me any better than another coach.”
SN: You could live anywhere in the world. How did you pick San Diego?
Shannon MacMillan: “This is where I grew up and it is home.”
SN: So now you are making your mark on youth soccer and player development today.
Shannon MacMillan: “Trying to!
SN: How is being the Director of the Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks Competitive Youth Soccer program?
Shannon MacMillan: “It is great. I put my heart and soul into it, so hopefully it is going well.”
SN: Any last words on women’s soccer?
Shannon MacMillan: “Hopefully people tune in and watch the world cup this summer and enjoy it.”
Editor's Note: Women's soccer was added to the Olmpic's official program in 1996
For More Information on the Women's World Cup, visit FIFA
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