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Volume 26 No. 65
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USWNT Hopes Lopsided Win Leads To More Investment In Sport

The U.S.-Thailand game showed women’s soccer is still top heavy and has work to do to level the playing field
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

USWNT players since beating Thailand 13-0 in their opening game of the Women's World Cup have said that they "hope the lopsided result pushes other federations to invest more in the sport," according to Alicia DelGallo of PRO SOCCER USA. USWNT F Alex Morgan said, "Expanding the last World Cup to 24 teams is great, and I hope soon enough we expand to 32 and keep it at that number. I think that will incentivize federations to put more financial efforts into their women’s programs, and I hope that we continue to see the development" (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 6/12). In L.A., Kevin Baxter writes the U.S.-Thailand game "demonstrated that women’s soccer ... is still top heavy and has a lot of work to do to level its playing field." In many ways the "rising tide of global support for women’s soccer has not raised all boats." Instead it has "swamped, then capsized many of the smaller ones" (L.A. TIMES, 6/13). In Miami, Greg Cote writes FIFA should either "lead a global push to develop women’s soccer to increase the depth of quality, or rethink the qualifying rules on the women’s side" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/13). ESPN’s Sarah Spain said, "Go over to those other countries and tell FIFA and those countries to invest in their programs so that they can keep up with us and until they can, celebrate every goal" ("Around the Horn," ESPN, 6/12). USA TODAY's Nancy Armour writes the "gap between the haves and the have-nots" in women's soccer "remains glaring, and there seems to be little incentive from the sport’s power brokers to change that." If FIFA "doesn’t care, then why should the federations, particularly those in countries that don’t exactly prize women’s sports?" (USA TODAY, 6/13).

BAD TIMING: YAHOO SPORTS' Leander Schaerlaeckens noted the Women’s World Cup Final on July 7 will fall on the same day as the final of the Copa America and the final of the Gold Cup, but FIFA "should never have allowed anything to overshadow, or even encroach on, the Women’s World Cup." A World Cup "should always be the main event, no matter the gender, with suitable deference paid in the scheduling of other tournaments." It nevertheless "emphasizes a wider trend of lingering disregard for the elite women’s event" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/12).

ON EQUAL FOOTING? In DC, Sally Jenkins writes the U.S. Soccer Federation will now be forced to "try to justify" why the USWNT are "paid 38 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts, which has resulted in a lawsuit." The women’s program is the "entire backbone and inspiriting force of soccer in the United States -- and has been" since '96. The USSF's financial success "can, in some way, be traced to the apple-seeding done by the women’s team." Federation officials "should reach into their own pockets to cover the pay gap, because the USWNT hasn’t just lifted the entire sport in this country." They have "lifted the women’s game globally, and that has benefited all of FIFA" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/13). In Honolulu, Ferd Lewis wrote the USWNT "clearly doesn’t have" the respect of its governing body "no matter what the USSF says, at least not at the level that should have long ago been attained given their lengthening success." The USWNT is "treated as the stepchild of the USSF and has been for some time." The women "receive less money, less favorable playing conditions" and "far less promotion than their male counterparts" (STARADVERTISER.com, 6/12).