View From The Stands At Boston's WPS Debut

Saturday night's Boston Breakers debut was a true test for faithful fans. Angela Tavares gives her take on what she witnessed from the stands in the clubs WPS home debut.
The vibrant blue in the stands at Harvard Stadium made up for the lack of any in the skies on Saturday, with the Boston Breakers welcomed back to the city that was experiencing not exactly springtime weather. Gray clouds hung heavy all day, bringing down a mix of rain and—get this, non-New Englanders—snow, with the thermostat struggling to hit anywhere above 45 degrees. And you’d think the Boston faithful would call it a day and spend the evening in the comfort of their own homes, warm and dry. But taking the stairs up to the concrete stadium seats, it was instantly clear that, rain or shine, Boston fans came out in the thousands to welcome home their ladies in blue.
In similar fashion to the WUSA, the stands were filled predominately with youth soccer clubs from across New England, with coaches and parents along for the ride to keep head count, or to use the game as an instructional tool. “You see that?” asked a father, dressed in gear suited perfectly for the ski slopes, to his young son. “Do you see how they communicate?” But the boy in his winter hat with furry, red spikes at the top kept his eyes low, interested more in the complimentary blue thunder sticks handed out at the gate.
Adults without children in tow could be found in the stands, even though they were far and few between. They were the ones quick to get on the referee, scoffing at Daniela’s dramatic tumbles to the pitch or Lori Chalupny’s slow returns to her feet.

“The Breakers have a roster full of exciting players,” said Jackie Anderson, president of the Riptide, an organization of Breakers supporters that occupied a small corner of Harvard Stadium’s horseshoe shape. “Once they learn each other’s tendencies and develop some chemistry, they will be a great team to watch.”

A more steady, audible presence was provided by the Riptide, with drums and synchronized fist pumps to boot. At the first Atheltica corner kick, they nearly pelted the kicker with showers of blue streamers. In the second half, when Solo guarded the goal in front of them, they sang a song with the chorus “We hate Solo.”

“I think [the WPS] has the potential to thrive, but only time will tell,” said Karin Perry, a 34-year-old from Bridgewater, Massachusetts. “It’s entertaining enough. There’s still some issues”—connecting passes, perhaps, or a sometimes non-existent midfield—“but I think they’ll resolve themselves as the season goes along and the team gets to know each other better.”

Are the issues the newly formed Boston Breakers are experiencing big enough to keep her out of the stands? No, she said. “Because I love this game.”

Angela Tavares,