Prior to the coin toss for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season opener between the host Houston Dash and Portland Thorns FC on April 12, 2014, CONCACAF Executive Committee member Sonia Bien-Aime (middle) greets players and referees.
HOUSTON -- CONCACAF Executive Committee member Sonia Bien-Aime attended the Houston Dash’s first-ever game at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, showing the Confederation's support to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
As part of her trip, Bien-Aime -- an internationally-recognized proponent of women’s football -- met with NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey and Houston Dash President Chris Canetti. She also took part in the pre-game coin toss.
A sellout crowd of 8,097 watched defending champion Portland Thorns FC post a narrow 1-0 victory.
“You have a crowd like this, a community coming out to support them, this is what it’s all about,” said Bailey. “You can see these players have stayed afterwards, signing autographs, making sure that the girls who come have a great experience.”
The NWSL -- in its second season -- is comprised of nine teams from across the country and, as a symbol of its growth, Houston is the first to join through the expansion route.
Dash head coach Randy Waldrum, who managed Trinidad & Tobago at the 2008 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship, expressed his optimism that the fans will return for future games.
“I hope we gave the fans what they’re looking for,” said Waldrum. “We promised to try and have an exciting team and I think we brought that tonight. We need the fans to come back, they’re an extra player that we need and I hope they all saw enough that they’ll buy season tickets and get on back here because we’re going to need them every home game.