The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

Pittsburgh introduces professional women’s soccer team set to play in 2025

A+Riverhounds+player%E2%80%99s+jersey.
Nate Yonamine | Assistant Visual Editor
A Riverhounds player’s jersey.

In 1998, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Soccer Club brought the professional soccer scene to the Steel City. The club plays in the Eastern Conference of the USL Championship, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid. Since 2013, the Riverhounds have played their home games at the 5,000-seat Highmark Stadium, located in Station Square. Within the next year, Highmark Stadium will make room for new players. 

In late April of 2024, The United Soccer League announced an exciting expansion for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds ownership group. A USL Women’s League team is slated to start competing in 2025. 

The Riverhounds had an established youth program since 2007, including a girl’s academy team since 2012. With the growth of their youth program and women’s sports on an international scale, the Riverhounds found it a fitting time to establish a women’s team. 

Riverhounds President Jeff Garner commented in regard to establishing a platform for female athletes to excel in Pittsburgh. 

“As we experience the remarkable growth of women’s soccer globally, it’s imperative that we not only acknowledge but actively champion the immense talent and passion that exists within our own communities,” Garner said. “By establishing a pathway for girls in our region to pursue the highest levels of soccer, particularly those emerging from our esteemed Riverhounds Development Academy, we are not just creating opportunities. We are fulfilling dreams.”

Women’s collegiate and professional sports have been thrown into the limelight within the past five years. The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup saw an average match attendance of 30,904, representing an increase of around 42% on the previous tournament. That year, total stadium attendance reached nearly 2 million. 

This year, the final game of the 2024 women’s college basketball championship between South Carolina and Iowa averaged about 18.7 million viewers and peaked at a whopping 24 million combined on ESPN and ABC, making it the first time in history that a women’s final has drawn a larger TV audience than the men’s, according to ESPN.

According to financial analysts at Deloitte, elite women’s sports will generate revenue of 1.28 billion in 2024, a 300% increase from three years ago. 

Marta Vieira da Silva is considered the best female footballer in history. She is Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer and is repeatedly applauded for her achievements — not only on the field but also for offering a female footballer for this generation to look up to. At last year’s World Cup, she spoke of how special it has been to see the growth of women’s football.

“I am very happy to see all of this now because 20 years ago, 2003, nobody knew Marta — it was my first World Cup,” Vieira da Silva said. “Twenty years later, we have become the reference for many women all over the world.”

The Riverhounds establishing a women’s team will offer up exposure, opportunity and so much more for female soccer players within the city and all over the country. The move will create another platform for female athletes to express their talent and growth in the professional scene. 

The team’s official crest and identity are still unannounced but are set for an unveiling within the coming months.

 

About the Contributor
Camille de Jesus, Staff Writer