If there’s one coach in the Pittsburgh area who had first-hand knowledge of many of the participants in the Women’s World Cup played in France during the last month, won by the United States Women’s National team for a record fourth time on Sunday, it would be Pitt’s head coach Randy Waldrum.
“I was very proud of the players that I coached seeing them realize their dreams of playing in a World Cup,” Waldrum said. “For many, it was their first, and for others they’ve been there before. Knowing them personally it was a special feeling as I know exactly what they have all sacrificed to get there. Seeing your former players achieve their goals is extremely rewarding!”
United States standout Carli Lloyd, whom Waldrum coached while with the Houston Dash, tallied three goals for the Americans, and teammate Julie Ertz, whom Waldrum instructed with the USA U23 Women’s National Team, recorded one as well, earning the start in the USA’s 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in the championship game.
As expected, there will be a lot of momentum to come from the USWNT’s victory that could carry over here domestically, and Waldrum anticipates a major short term boost, but what about the long term sustainability of the National Women’s Soccer League and impact this World Cup will have on higher levels of women’s soccer in the years to come?
“It’s really too early to see any impact of the US Women winning the World Cup,” added Waldrum. “Obviously interest and social media is very high at the moment, and I’m sure for the next week or so our pro league will see a bump in attendance as we did in 2015 after the World Cup. Sustaining the excitement and generating new interests and sponsorships will be the real challenge.”
Now much of the attention after USWNT’s impressive performance at this year’s World Cup has tilted toward equal pay for the US Women’s team, as a pending lawsuit from many women’s players against the U.S. Soccer Federation is already in the process of being litigated in the coming months.
“Certainly the women’s national soccer team has demonstrated, because of the market value that they bring, the attention and the success that they’ve had, there’s no question that they deserve some level of equal pay because of the market that they are in,” Waldrum’s boss, Heather Lyke, University of Pittsburgh Athletic Director, told KDKA Radio’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland on Monday morning.
Lyke said that while pay disparity has gotten better across many industries, gender shouldn’t be a factor in determining compensation.
“It’s each individual leader’s decision to look in the mirror and say ‘I’m compensating this person based on their market, industry and experience,’” Lyke told KDKA-Radio. “The gender piece doesn’t weigh into the equation when it comes to compensation. When you’re looking at market, experience and performance, those are the things you should be evaluating, not what the gender of the person is.”
Waldrum has coached seven members of the champion United States Women’s National Team, working with more than 20 individuals across nine countries that were participating in the World Cup.
“It has been great to watch the growth of the women’s game since the last World Cup in 2015 though,” Waldrum added. “So many countries now funding and becoming serious players in the women’s game and hopefully we’ll continue to see that grow around the world.”
After winning multiple National Championships at the University of Notre Dame, Waldrum found opportunities to coach professionally, with the Houston Dash of NWSL, and internationally for Trinidad and Tobago, and at one point, he signed on to become a Technical Adviser for Nigerian Women’s National team, but that was just prior to taking the job at Pitt, where he’s been one-hundred percent committed since December 2017.
“All those experiences – they’re all part of educational process. We often ask our players to improve. And as coaches, we have to do the same for ourselves. Going to pro game made me a better coach – seeing it played at the next level,” Waldrum said after he was hired at Pitt. “The time internationally, with Trinidad and Tobago, was great a experience as well. It was a different kind of experience. International game is quite different then what you see domestically. Put them all together, really gave me a lot of resources I could fall back on. I can certainly tell you some good stories about some of these experiences.”
“It was an experience of a lifetime to try to get T&T to qualify for a World Cup, and play against the U.S. in Kansas City. Trying to figure out how to stop that machine,” Waldrum said. “It’s all made me a better coach, and I am really anxious to bring that back and help these players here at Pitt.”
Special thanks to Kelly Dumrauf / University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department for contributions to this story
Played for Waldrum with the Houston Dash
Lydia Williams (Australia) – Goalkeeper
Andressinha (Brazil) – Midfielder
Poliana (Brazil) – Defender
Camila (Brazil) – Midfielder
Allysha Chapman (Canada) – Defender
Nichelle Prince (Canada) – Forward
Janine Beckie (Canada) – Forward
Rachel Daly (England) – Forward/Defender
Aya Sameshima (Japan) – Defender
Osinachi Ohale (Nigeria) – Defender
Janine Van Wyk (South Africa) – Defender
Morgan Brian (USA) – Midfielder
Carli Lloyd (USA) – Midfielder/Forward
Jessica McDonald (USA) – Forward
Lauren Silver (Jamaica) – Midfielder
Played for Waldrum on the USA U23 WNT
Adrianna Franch (USA) – Goalkeeper
Abby Dahlkemper (USA) – Defender
Emily Sonnett (USA) – Defender
Julie Ertz (USA) – Midfielder
Havana Solaun (Jamaica) – played youth national team for USA then declared for Jamaica
Played for Waldrum at Notre Dame
Adrianna Leon (Canada) – Forward
Played at FC Dallas Women (Ben Waldrum & Dustin Stein)
Deneisha Blackwood (Jamaica) – Defender