Celebrating Women's History Month: Christine Mahler Speaks
We are in the middle of Women's History Month, and the American Outlaws want to celebrate all the great women's players, achievements, and moments in soccer history. Our organization would not be where it is today without the strength of our USWNT and we enjoy supporting them on and off the field.

To help us tell some of these stories, we turned to the women members and chapter leaders who make our organization so great to tell us who their favorite USWNT players are, why Women's History Month is so important, and what we all can do as an organization and lovers of the game to continue to support women's soccer amid its exponential growth. We begin our series with Christine Mahler of AO Tacoma.

Name: Christine Mahler
Chapter: AO Tacoma

Who is your favorite USWNT player of all time?
Michelle Akers

Why Michelle Akers?
I'm not going to list a lot of stats--because it would take the whole page. But she was such a leader and trailblazer when I was a young player--definitely a role model to look up to, which I did. I also had the opportunity to attend a soccer camp that she was at and even got to stop one of her shots (I was a goal keeper. I'm 1000% sure it was about 1% effort on her side). So the personal connection is pretty cool too. 

What does Women's History Month mean to you?
I mostly wish we didn't need to call out women's history with this separate recognition. Women's history IS history. Women have led the way in so many things (*cough* US soccer *cough*) but were denied recognition for so long, that our society felt the need to recognize their contributions in this way. I don't know that we'll ever get there, but I'd hope that someday that isn't necessary anymore. 

Is there a particular women's soccer moment that you think should be highlighted during the month?
OBVIOUSLY equal pay. I mean, what a landmark. 

Do you plan on attending the Women's World Cup this summer?
Can't make it, but will be watching from home or my chapter bar.

Who is your favorite current USWNT player?
Rose Lavelle

Why is Rose Lavelle your favorite?
She's just such a joy to watch. She's creative and impactful and plays with such passion. 

What do you wish from soccer fans to continue supporting the growth of the women's game?
Attend more games, from your local high school squad to professional leagues. Go and support the players. 

What else can AO (members, chapter leaders, National staff) do to support the growth of women's soccer in this country?
Turn out to support the squad. I think [AO National] and [AO Tacoma] leadership have done a good job transitioning from a "USMNT focus, oh yeah and the USWNT is playing too" type attitude towards a "we support both teams with equal passion and time" [mindset]. I've definitely noticed that transition since I've been an AO member. But I think the average member may not yet have made that transition. I think having more family friendly AO events would also help--a big challenge in my area, since the AO bars are bars, and local laws restrict underage attendance. But I first became a US Soccer fan as a youth soccer player, and brought my parents along for the ride. And I know that is not a unique circumstance. Something to think about.
We want to thank Christine for sharing her thoughts on her favorite USWNT players and how to continue to honor Women's History Month. We want to hear from our awesome women members and chapter leaders as the month continues! Feel free to fill out the survey, and we hope to highlight you and and many more women through March 31st.
March 14, 2023