Women’s sports don’t have much in America. Men get the TV airtime, men get the big checks, and men get the media coverage. Female professional athletes don’t have much in America because they aren’t as marketable — except for soccer. US women’s soccer has been a dynasty of success that shakes the world at every opportunity. In my lifetime, the team has placed third or better in every World Cup they’ve competed in (that’s six in the last 22 years) and brought home Olympic medals every time they’ve competed (four gold, one silver). In short, they kick ass.
Despite much better sports existing, like football, soccer somehow continues to be the world’s most popular sport. Any country can put together a team of impressive men. We just talked about how men get the big budgets, the nice stadiums, and everything you need to compete at the elite Olympic level. In order to be a truly dominating presence as a country, you need to have depth beyond an impressive men’s team, and in that respect, the rest of the world can’t touch the US.
Take this clip from USA’s game against Colombia yesterday.
It’s heart-wrenching, as a former soccer player and goalie, and as an American. Out of context, you might watch that clip and angrily mutter to yourself, you’d think Hope Solo’s dangly beef curtains would’ve stopped the ball. But first, let’s add some perspective. We didn’t lose the game to Colombia. The country whose golden child, Shakira, sang the anthem to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, was only able to come away with a 2-2 tie against the USA. Not only did we not lose, we still came away with first place in Group G, beating out France and New Zealand in addition to Colombia, and will advance to the next round in the tournament.
So let’s recap: the most embarrassing moment possibly ever for the US women’s soccer team still wasn’t a loss, and resulted in the ladies taking first place in their group. That’s a good old-fashioned American power move if I’ve ever seen one. So nice try, world, but you’re going to have to do a little better than that..