As an ex-female athlete and graduate, one thing I know for sure is that the University of North Carolina is a powerhouse for all things women’s sports. While UNC may be known for men’s basketball, the university really becomes infamous thanks to its women’s soccer team reining in 22 national championships. Compare this to men’s basketball, who has just 6 national championships, yet is revered as a dynasty in college athletics. This is not to take credit away from our infamous and deserving basketball team, but it is to showcase how unique our women’s soccer team’s success is. In fact, Carolina women’s soccer is the winningest program in college athletic history if you look at national championships. For additional reference, UConn women’s basketball, who is also revered as one of the winningest programs in college history- has won 11 National Championships. Lastly, what is most impressive about the Carolina women’s soccer team is that they have won 22 out of 36 total national championships, meaning UNC has won almost 2/3 of the total possible number of championships.
This article is not a plea for the recognition of women’s sports over men’s. It is actually to showcase the breadth of women’s sports viewing options fans have in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as compared to the rest of the country. Not only does Chapel Hill have great women’s sports due to the soccer team, it also has a variety of sports for people to watch. In contrast, I live in New York City and my viewing options for women’s sports are not only minimal, but they are not easily accessible. This is partially due to their not being a major division 1 collegiate athletic program in the city (I’m sorry Columbia, you don’t count). It is also partially due to how expensive fields and courts cost, which is doubly a problem when the revenue for women’s sports is so low. New York is the city that has everything, but it is not even comparable to Chapel Hill when it comes to viewing women’s sports.
New York City gives one pro women’s sports viewing option via the New York Liberty who play at Madison Square Garden. They play during the summer after the NBA and NHL season has completed, and on average about 9,000 people attend the games. In comparison, for a good soccer game at Fetzer field, upwards of 6,500 people will attend a game. What is important to think about is the fact that Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people, yet Carolina’s stadium sells out for the biggest games. There is a market for good women’s sports viewing in Chapel Hill that is unmatched elsewhere because of the depth of talent and viewing options UNC provides.
In addition to women’s soccer, field hockey has been a strong contributor to UNC women’s athletic success. The field hockey program matches men’s basketball with 6 national championships, and they landed their latest in 2009. Women’s lacrosse is a new women’s powerhouse sport, having won 2 national championships in the past 5 years. Women’s basketball is also consistently ranked in the top 25, and have a far more accessible stadium for the casual viewer who may not want to battle the crowds or parking decks over at the Smith Center.
I think there is a direct correlation between the abundance of women’s sports at Carolina and the success of female athletes who grew up in Chapel Hill. Every year, there is a girl like me to join the new recruiting class of UNC women’s soccer. The town of Chapel Hill also send athletes to the most competitive schools in the country, and it has even had a few Olympians who grew up in the town. This is not a coincidence, and the breadth and talent of UNC women’s sports is unique to Chapel Hill alone.
This article is supported by Wake Forest pediatric dental office Triangle Pediatric Dentistry. If you are a mother or father to a young child, we strongly recommend taking them to Dr. Porter or Dr. Hollowell in Wake Forest, NC.