Flame Bearers Special Edition: U.S. Women's Soccer Originals

As the world tunes in for the ninth Women’s World Cup, it’s hard to imagine a time when professional women’s soccer didn’t exist. In 1985, 17 of the b…
Aug 24th, 2023 | 18:33

Special Edition: U.S. Women's Soccer Originals (Denise Bender)

Denise was a swimmer, diver, gymnast, and track and field athlete before becoming a soccer player at 14. That said, Washington had strong support for women's soccer at the time, so once she was hooked, she was all in on soccer. Hilariously, Denise and Michelle have a moment where they both share how they felt playing against each other. Hint: they were both intimidated. As Denise offers, Michelle and others were her "idols back then...I tried to get my game up to be able to handle them." Michelle replies, "you and your team were so good. I might've not looked like I was intimidated, but inside I was like, 'holy shit.'" Flash forward to 1985, and Denise became one of the captains of the first USWNT, not surprising as leadership was and still is a trait Denise is known for. We hear from former teammate, Jan (who speaks with us live from the Women's World Cup) who describes Denise as "very intense and focused" with "exceptional leadership" and "loads of fun." And Denise's dedication to the sport didn't end with her professional retirement. She became a commissioner because she wanted to "promote competitive play for younger people" In this episode, Denise shares about Walking Soccer. Learn more here: https://www.whatcomadultsoccer.com/walk-soccer