Duke Women’s Team International Friendly

By | April 26, 2016

Duke-China-Graphic420 Thumbnail photo. Original high-resolution photo available on Duke Today article. 

It was announced on Duke Today and Duke Chronicle on April 25 that the Duke women’s soccer team will travel to China this summer for a week to play in an international friendly against a Chinese university team. The event coincides with the annual US-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (Duke Today, 2016). Last year, the event was held in Washington D.C., where Secretary of State John Kerry met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong.

The annual event seeks to foster “dynamism and commitment of the many American non-governmental organizations (universities, foundations, advocacy groups, sports groups, etc) that partner with the US goverment to carry out a broad spectrum of exchanges.” It hopes to promote active involvement in civil society and academia by conducting a cross-cultural exchange. Included in its many fields of exchange, such as education, science and technology, health, and women’s issues, is sports. In 2015, more than a dozen sport leagues from both China and US had athletic exchanges (US Department of State, 2015). In years before 2015, several NBA pre-season games and an MLB team played in celebration of the event (US Department of State, 2014).

What a great honor to be chosen to represent the country in a global, cultural exchange? Not only will the team play a friendly match, but also “participate in soccer-related activities for local youth… and visit local historical and cultural sites in Beijing.” (Duke Today, 2016).

When I read about this summer program this afternoon, I was as ecstatic as any one else and on many levels. First, I had always somehow been involved with girls/women’s soccer. Most of my female friends from middle and high school were those that I met through the common hobby of soccer, and to this day I have attended more women’s soccer games than any other athletic event (a past significant other and friend was on the varsity team). Therefore, seeing the team having a tremendously successful season was a delight.

But more importantly, I am intrigued by the cultural exchange. Earlier this year we saw a historically monumental athletic goodwill when the Tampa Bay Rays played the Cuban national team in baseball and noted the vast political and social implications of such a game. I do not mean to put the Duke-China game at the same height as the Tampa Bay-Cuba game, but the symbol of goodwill and share of a common pastime are parallel.

President Broadhead was quoted on Duke Today calling the Duke women’s soccer team “ambassadors,” and I believe that is the perfect term to call our team. Our athletic and cultural ambassadors.


Works Cited:

“Duke Women’s Soccer Team to Travel to China.” Duke Today. Duke University, 25 Apr. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. https://today.duke.edu/2016/04/soccerchina

“U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE).” US Department of State. Bureau of Public Affairs, 10 Jul. 2013. Web 25 Apr. 2016. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/07/228997.htm

“U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE).” US Department of State. Bureau of Public Affairs, 24 Jun. 2015. Web 25 Apr. 2016. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/06/244183.htm#





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About Andrew Cho

Hello, I am a sophomore at Duke University studying Statistics and Computer Science. I am from Baltimore, MD, but I have also lived in Seoul, South Korea and Frankfurt, Germany. I've been fortunate to experience the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Euro 2008 Final in Vienna. If anyone from EA is on this blog, please bring back S.Korea on Fifa 17.

One thought on “Duke Women’s Team International Friendly

  1. Dominic Elzner

    When Yao Ming was drafted first overall by the Houston Rockets in 2002, the people of China instantly embraced basketball. Superstars of that era became the players that most of the Chinese referred to. That’s how Kobe Bryant became such an icon—he was the alpha male in the NBA when China embraced basketball. Now, Kobe is to the people of China what Michael Jordan is to us, one of the greatest of all time.

    I feel that this match will have a similar effect to our university. People and students in China will become instant Duke University fans—not just in soccer, but in basketball, football, baseball, and all other athletics. Soon, I believe that students all over China will want to attend Duke University, just like people all over the country idolized Kobe Bryant. This match will only add to goodwill between the two countries, and help bring the two together by a common pastime.

    However, part of me has a feeling that there are other factors involved that are not being reported. I could be completely wrong, but I feel there were more reasons than just being “ambassadors” to accept this role. When Yao Ming was drafted by Houston, many people in China were quick to become Houston fans, buy Houston gear, and try to go to Rockets games. I feel University leaders noticed this sudden openness of the country to a new sport, and wanted to try to capitalize on that to make a few extra dollars. I’m not trying to say what they are doing is not monumental—because it is. I just believe that there are more reasons than being “ambassadors” for the sake of being “ambassadors”.


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