A star-studded celebrity lineup joined Lifetime this week for a PSA in support of and in an effort to raise visibility for the National Women’s Soccer League. Julia Roberts, Ellen DeGeneres, Reese Witherspoon, Zendaya, James Corden and David Beckham joined Lifetime in the initiative, which also encourages girls to dream big, inspires change and emphasizes standing up for women’s rights.
“Join the team and pass the ball for the National Women’s Soccer League,” Roberts said in the video. “By passing the ball, you will help to get the word out about these amazing athletes, and the game they love.”
Pass the Ball is an initiative by the Lifetime Marketing team. It came together quickly as each celebrity taped why they are choosing to “Pass the Ball” – with the goal of releasing it in time to promote the NWSL Playoffs and Championship.
“I think having their voices support the NWSL and the playoffs and upcoming championship is valuable for our league. I think it’s one step that will help a conversation and help the awareness of league support overall,” NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy told NWSL Media this week.
On Thursday, in one of the next steps of the campaign, Houston Dash forward Carli Lloyd joined Megyn Kelly on the Today Show to discuss the initiative and taped her own “Pass the Ball” segment which will be released soon.
.@CarliLloyd takes Manhattan ✔️
— NWSL (@NWSL) September 28, 2017
“It’s a great initiative and movement because it empowers so many females around the world to aspire to be something great,” Lloyd told NWSL Media while promoting Pass the Ball in New York City. “There’s no better platform than the NWSL.”
The increased exposure and awareness comes at a perfect time for the NWSL. It means new viewers will be tuning in just in time to see the North Carolina Courage, Portland Thorns FC, Chicago Red Stars and Orlando Pride battle to make it to the NWSL Championship on Saturday, October 14 at Orlando City Stadium in Florida (4:30 p.m. ET, Lifetime, Buy Tickets).
This year’s playoffs feature many of 2017’s best performers: goalscorers like Marta (12 goals, 6 assists), Christen Press (11 goals, 4 assists) and Alex Morgan (9 goals, 3 assists) — as well as top goalkeepers Adrianna Franch (11 shutouts) and Katelyn Rowland (8 shutouts).
Join our team. Change the game. #PassTheBall
— NWSL (@NWSL) September 27, 2017
“I know that they’ll see the strength, the ability, the talent of these women. I think anyone who watches an NWSL match – whether it’s our final regular season games, or playoffs or the championship that are all ahead of us still — they’re going to see really talented athletes competing at a high level,” Duffy said. “Some of the best athletes in the world are competing right here in the United States.”
The semifinals begin next week, with Portland hosting Chicago or Orlando on October 7 (3:30 p.m. ET, Lifetime, Buy Tickets) and North Carolina hosting Chicago/Orlando on October 8 (3:30 p.m. ET, Lifetime, Buy Tickets).
“There’s some great teams that are in the final four. Deserving,” Lloyd said. “This is always a tight race for those top four spots. … It would’ve been great to have Houston in there because I do think that we’re a great club.”
“I might go with a little bit of an underdog of Chicago. I know the Courage are doing great, but it is tough to win back-to-back. But I just want a great game. Want the players to put on a good show in front of the fans and everyone watching,” she said.
Additional reporting by Meg Linehan.