Injured USWNT star Leslie Osborne spent yesterday in Chicago promoting the Chicago Red Stars and Women's Professional Soccer (WPS). Leslie, who is from Brookfield, Wisconsin, and played and coached with Chicago's Eclipse Select Soccer Club, flew in from LA late Friday night. She was picked up by Red Stars Head Coach Emma Hayes ridiculously early Saturday morning and taken to the IWSL Fall Seeding Meeting in Schaumburg, which started at 7:30 am. Leslie's not new to public appearances and showed her experience in the professional way she handled her appearances in Chicago.
Leslie, Emma, Red Stars Director of Sales Greg Zaskowski and i spoke to all the IWSL U-8 and U-9 team representatives before Emma and Leslie left for another appearance on Chicago's lakefront.
While Greg and i met with IWSL's upper age team reps through the day, Emma and Leslie met the crowd at the Chicago Beach Soccer Invitational.
i didn't see the reaction to their appearance firsthand at the beach tournament, but Emma and Leslie were very well received in Schaumburg and reports i heard from the beach were also very positive. If you were there, let me know how you thought it went. Like our two US/Brazil viewing parties earlier in the month, these two appearances demonstrate the different audiences the Red Stars are reaching out towards. If we can be successful attracting traditional women's soccer fans from suburban families and traditional men's soccer fans from the city, we will have an exciting and diverse fan base to support the team.
i spoke to Leslie about her missed opportunity in China and she was philosophical about it. She noted that this will give her more experience in broadcasting, which could prepare her for opportunities in the future.
As i type, i'm getting W-League playoff updates from Emma who is at the Central Conference Championship in West Lafayette, Indiana. Late in the game, Ottawa holds a 2-1 lead over Red Stars affiliate FC Indiana.
EDIT: Laura Del Rio equalizes for FCI in final moments of regulation!!!!
EDIT2: THREE GOALS IN OT! A "world class goal" by Del Rio according to Emma, another by Veronica Phewa for FCI to make it 4-2 and then a PK for Ottawa to make the final score FCI 4, Ottawa 3. The Lionesses advance!! Congratulations to Shek and everyone at FC Indiana!