Mismatch highlights global gender inequality
Re “Running up score not a good look” (Sports, June 16): Dan Shaughnessy is right that the Americans’ 13-0 win over Thailand in the Women’s World Cup was a bad look. But coach Jill Ellis and the national team players, who put in an extraordinary performance, aren’t to blame. The real bad look is global gender inequality.
It’s disappointing, but unsurprising, that financial support for women’s soccer lags behind the men’s game throughout the world. However, with North American and European women’s teams improving rapidly, disparities between the best and worst teams are bigger at the 2019 Women’s World Cup than they were four years ago.
FIFA, international soccer’s governing body, which has $2.75 billion in reserve, could be doing much more to improve the quality of the women’s game worldwide. Supporting women’s soccer outside of wealthy nations would reduce the chance of extreme mismatches on soccer’s biggest stage. At the same time, the US Soccer Federation could get its own house in order by compensating the US women with equal pay for equal work.
Asking world-class athletes to score fewer goals or celebrate less are inadequate solutions to a system with pervasive inequalities. A better answer is to expand support for women’s soccer at home and abroad, making it more truly the world’s game.
Andrew M. Lindner
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The writer is an associate professor of sociology at Skidmore College, where he teaches courses on the sociology of sport and other topics.
Once again, no highlight, just a harsh light, for her female role models
I am 14 years old and have been a huge fan of women’s sports, especially soccer. My younger sister and I have played soccer our whole lives and ultimately found girls’ soccer a haven. The female soccer players in the 2011 World Cup became role models. I wanted to be athletic, and this was because I could look up to women playing soccer and being successful.
As I got older and more invested in these women, I would scan the Globe Sports section every morning and try to find NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) scores the day after a game. I would never find those scores.
Sunday was the first time I can remember that my beloved US women’s team made the front of the Sports section (“Running up score not a good look”). And what was the article about? Whether they were unsportsmanlike in their 13-0 victory over Thailand in their first game of the World Cup. Oh, please.
The team did not even make the front page of the Sports section the day after their win. Shaughnessy did not mention the names of the women who scored, so readers of his column will not know how great these women are. It almost seems as if female athletes can be recognized only for negative things.
In the beautiful game of soccer, a goal is something to celebrate
OK, here we go again. Every four years, Dan Shaughnessy has something to complain about in the World Cup. I think last time it was that there were not enough goals. This time it’s that the US women’s national team scored too many goals in their opening match against Thailand and were excited about scoring them.
I would have appreciated, instead, a Sunday morning top-of-the-Sports-section piece by Tara Sullivan, who, in her column Monday, seems to understand both the game of soccer and the challenges that the US women’s national team faces in the American and world sports landscape (“This victory was nothing to apologize for”).
Scoring a goal in the beautiful game in the World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, and worth celebrating.