Women’s soccer players continue to play against adversity

By | February 4, 2015

One way to evaluate how far the U.S. has come in reaching gender equality is to take a good look at how they treat their Men’s and Women’s national soccer teams.

Sure, Women’s soccer doesn’t consistently have equivalent viewership as Men’s soccer, but the Women’s national team has two World Cup championships and four Olympic gold medals and they’re currently ranked the second best Women’s soccer team in the world , all in only 30 years of the team’s existence.

What has the Men’s national team accomplished? In the 130 years of its existence, and since the World Cup was established in 1930, they have not won a single World Cup or Olympics. The closest they got was when they placed third in the first ever World Cup 85 years ago. I’m not trying to put down the Men’s team at all, I’m just saying we need to give our Women’s team the respect they deserve. They’re the ones bringing home the gold, yet they struggle to receive even close to the same benefits as the Men’s team.

After decades of protests, lawsuits, and relentless fighting for equal rights, Women’s soccer teams are still facing strife. In the early years of the Women’s national soccer team, players such as Mia Hamm and Carla Overbeck had to fight for simple needs like health care and a large enough salary to support themselves without getting a second job outside of playing professional soccer, both benefits that their professional male counterparts possessed.

And although the work put in by the U.S. Women’s team’s previous members has created better conditions for current players, Women’s soccer is still seen as second-tier internationally.

Last fall, FIFA announced that the Women’s World Cup would be played on artificial grass in 2015. Having played soccer in high school, I originally thought this was a good thing. There are no random ditches or dirt patches on a turf field and the ball moves and bounces more predictably; however, this decision was not made to benefit the players, or even because FIFA will benefit financially from the switch.

FIFA is having the Women’s World Cup be played on artificial grass to test out its popularity and efficacy in case they want to implement it for the next Men’s World Cup. Aside from this change in turf being unfair because making the women be the men’s guinea pigs and act as a test run for an artificial field is sexist, this change in turf could possibly be dangerous to the safety of the players, and will result in a diminished level of play.

Turf fields are less forgiving because they usually cause more friction than natural grass and result in more burns during slide tackling or injuries such as abrasions than on natural turf. Also, all of the women’s teams practice on natural grass and will not be used to the new style of play. This is part of the reason they dropped the case. When the women leading the lawsuit against FIFA, namel



y U.S. forward Abby Wambach, realized that they would either have to boycott the World Cup or play on turf, they dropped the case to prepare for playing on a turf field.

The fact that Women’s soccer teams continuously jump over hurtles just to play their game is inspiring.  The closing statement of the Women’s law suit against FIFA says it all: the “players are doing what FIFA and the CSA have proved incapable of: putting the sport of soccer first.” 



One thought on “Women’s soccer players continue to play against adversity

  1. Aissa Huysmans

    Wow! I had no idea that the Women’s World Cup was going to be played on turf fields, I thought that was only for the qualifications, and even then I thought it was ridiculous. I think anyone who has played on both types of fields can attest to the fact that playing on turf fields is incredibly different to playing on a regular pitch, and certainly more dangerous. It really does once again point out how many hoops the women’s teams still have to jump through in comparison to the men’s teams, and in this case even act as test subjects! Thanks for your informative article Francesca.


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