More Important Soccer Match For American Fans: USWNT World Cup Debut, Or Lionel Messi Inter Miami CF Debut?

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The US Women’s National Team begins its quest for a third straight World Cup championship on Friday night. The match, held in New Zealand, starts at 9 p.m. EST. Lionel Messi, the Argentinian star, makes his Inter Miami CF debut Friday as part of the “Leagues Cup.”

That match starts at 8 p.m. EST in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Inter Miami CF faces a team called Cruz Azul, who I just learned competes in the Mexican soccer league, LIGA MX.

The start times mean that the two matches are going to overlap. For US Soccer fans, that means a decision to make.

What’s more important: a Women’s World Cup match featuring the US Women’s National Team?

Or a Leagues Cup match between Inter Miami CF and the last-place team in LIGA MX?

The USWNT begins their World Cup title defense on Friday night at the same time that Lionel Messi is set to make his Inter Miami debut.
The USWNT begins their World Cup title defense on Friday night at the same time that Lionel Messi is set to make his Inter Miami debut. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

According to an OutKick Twitter poll, most OutKick fans are rooting against the USWNT. But, based on anecdotal evidence, most OutKick fans aren’t really into soccer in the first place.  

So, I apologize — loyal readers – for writing about soccer again.

But it’s funny to think that a men’s soccer match between an MLS club and a Mexican soccer club might draw more eyeballs in the United States than the US Women’s National Team.

That would really hurt their argument that they deserve to be paid better than male soccer players.

If ticket sales are any indication, fans really want to see Lionel Messi.

Although, Apple TV is exclusively streaming the match, so that’s going to hurt overall viewership.

Still, I submit that all things being equal, most sports fans would rather watch the Messi debut than the USWNT World Cup debut if they had to choose.

And that’s not great news for the USWNT players who are always crying for more money.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.


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  1. I, too, would like a Follow-up article on the outcome of the ratings battle here. AS I see it, you will have an unusually large turnout for the Messi debut as fans of both tune into see Messi at 8:00, but the woke-blue-hair crowd will switch to the USWNT at Halftime of Messi’s game.

    I, too, will probably switch to the Women’s game — especially if Messi has a couple of early goals/assists. I’m anxious to see Megan and Morgan (again). AS I’ve stated before, Megan was a step too slow 4 years ago in France and I fear many of the USWNT have possible aged beyond being competitive with the Aussies and the Swedes athletically. We got ALOT of ladies who were born in the 80’s and more who are over 30… Rapinoe and Morgan (and maybe 2-3 more) have kept TWO (or maybe as many as 5) “rising stars” off the roster this year; that lack of experience may show in 2027.

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