SI podcast focuses on first Women’s World Cup, 1991 US team
The 1999 and 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup teams have received plenty of attention and accolades over the years but not as much focus has been placed on the 1991 team that won the first tournament.
Grant Wahl of “Sports Illustrated” is hoping to change that. The magazine is debuting a new podcast called “Throwback” that will have the first season focus on how the Women’s World Cup started.
The five-part series debuts May 9 and will have new episodes each Thursday.
“As huge as the 1999 tournament was, there is not a lot new to be told,” Wahl said. “I’ve covered soccer since 1996 and know Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly, but there is a lot of unreported ground on the 1991 team. We wanted to do it as an origins story.”
Wahl said the biggest misconception about U.S. women’s soccer is that they have always dominated on the world stage. The fact was they were behind several countries and needed to make up ground fast.
“There were some tournaments before 1991 where the U.S. did not win a single match. I realized how much work they had to do from 1986 to ’91,” he said.
Wahl’s biggest interview was with former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who started the Women’s World Cup. Blatter hasn’t done many interviews since he stepped down in 2015.
“He does have a checkered pass and has said some cringe-inducing things about women’s soccer, but he deserves some credit for getting it started,” Wahl said.
Wahl also hosts the SI TV series “Exploring Planet Futbol,” which debuted last year with a pilot episode about Iceland. The first full season debuts May 15 with Germany and U.S. men’s players who are in the Bundesliga.
The Argentina and Japan episodes — which will premiere in June and July — do look at the women’s teams in each country. The SI crew was in Argentina during International Women’s Day and interviewed Evelina Cabrera as she tries to get teams to professionalize women’s teams.