Articles, Blog

The Global Rise of Women’s Soccer

October 10, 2019

If you were to write a history of
American soccer today in the United States, you could not have a book without
at least two or three chapters on the women’s game. The women created this
culture, okay? [NAT SOUND OF GAME] The American women entered this world in the late 60s early 70s because
the men are occupying the team sports of American football, baseball, basketball,
and hockey. So the women enter into an open space. In Europe it’s exactly the
opposite. If the American thing was a desert this was a huge mountain
completely occupied by men, and the women had to storm the mountain in fact it was
resistance to it all over. In Germany, first of all, they were not allowed to
play on official fields until 1970 then they were allowed but only with a
smaller ball, and only for 60 minutes and not wear real cleats but tennis shoes. It
was really a form of keeping them out of this male domain it’s about masculinity. [Music Plays] FIFA did not sanction these early
contests that women played. It’s China that came to the rescue because a number
of other countries didn’t want to have a Women’s World Cup, but the Chinese
entered it because it was two years after Tiananmen Square and it was a
form of legitimation of entering the the public arena 1991 when the U.S. won the first World
Cup and they arrived in LAX they were met by zero people, but I think now on
the national level as a national team the women have made amazing progress.
It’s on the club side where they are still lagging behind and the reason for
that is very clear because the on the national side you have a ready-made
fandom may be called nationalism. So the French now all support Les Blue because
it’s their team. Do they support Olympique Lyonnais Femina? Ehh, not really. I
mean some couple of thousands but you don’t have this massive presence that
you have for the national team the same in Germany and the same in England so
that’s where the the big lacunae towards the man still exists.

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