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Women's Soccers

Women's Soccers

Women's Soccer

Many people think of sports as a male-dominated industry. But a new study from the Biomedical Research for Women & Children Alliance shows that the number of women playing the sport has grown over the past two decades. In 1990, ten percent of athletes were women. Now, women make up over a third of the players in the worldwide market.

SPORT

Originally from Irving, Texas, Davenport attended Texas A&M-Commerce University where he was on the football team for a year before becoming a volunteer assistant with the women’s soccer program. He received his bachelor’s degree in Sports Administration and later received his master’s degree in Education Administration from TCU. Along the way, he also coached at Nolan Catholic High School helping the boy’s team begin their run at multiple state titles under Head Coach Adam Clementson. 

Today, the gap between men’s and women’s wages, the tiny fraction of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, and the lack of respect for Hollywood actresses and directors receive regular and impassioned coverage in both the mainstream and feminist media. The gender inequities in sports are just as vast as those faced by women in corporate offices and on movie sets, but for some reason they fail to incite the same level of outrage. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

In 1978, in the midst of the second-wave feminist movement, Hollis Elkins, a professor of women’s studies at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, published a paper that asked why the women’s movement hadn’t ever concerned itself with equality in sports. (This was six years after the passage of Title IX, which prohibited sex discrimination in federally funded schools, including in athletic departments.) Elkins died in 2013, but if she were alive today, she’d likely still be asking the same question. Elkins laid out four main reasons why the women’s movement was wary about involving itself in sports. One: Female athletes were perceived as either unconcerned with or hostile toward the women’s movement. Two: Feminists didn’t want to be “doubly damned” by “the suspicion of lesbianism” that both feminists and female athletes faced. Three: Sports was seen as a realm where men proved their manliness, negatively predisposing many feminists toward sports in general. And four: Sports was considered “frivolous.” It wasn’t seen as being as important as issues like the right to work, abortion, and equal pay. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

This isn’t the first time feminist issues in sports have gone relatively unnoticed by sites that focus on women’s issues. In 2012, Jezebel and Feministing both lamented the folding of the Women’s Professional Soccer league, though neither site had covered the league in any prior stories. And neither Jezebel, Feministing, Everyday Feminism, nor The Feminist Wire have ever run a story on the current women’s league, the National Women’s Soccer League. Ms. has published one blog post about an NWSL team, written by a fan. (Source: www.theatlantic.com “It’s not like we never thought about sports stories,” says Dodai Stewart, the former deputy editor of Jezebel. “If there were notable newsy things happening in the world of women’s sports we would cover that. But it wasn’t like we were existing for sports coverage. In the atmosphere we were in, it just didn’t feel like, ‘oh, this thing is lacking,’ even though it was.” (Source:www.theatlantic.com))

The problem is, sports media isn’t covering women’s sports either. In 2014, ESPN’s SportsCenter dedicated 2 percent of its on-air time to covering women’s sports, according to a study published this week in the journal Communication & Sport. The study found that three local Los Angeles news networks did slightly better, devoting 3.2 percent of their sports coverage to women athletes. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

“There’s still this cultural investment in the idea that sport is this space wherein talent and hard work is what matters, and things like race, gender and sexual orientation don’t,” Cooky says. The thinking goes that if women’s sports were worthy of more coverage, they would receive it. But as Cooky points out, a lot of our perceptions of how interesting women’s sports are come from the media itself. “Men’s sports are going to seem more exciting,” she says. “They have higher production values, higher-quality coverage, and higher-quality commentary ... When you watch women’s sports, and there are fewer camera angles, fewer cuts to shot, fewer instant replays, yeah, it’s going to seem to be a slower game, [and] it’s going to seem to be less exciting.” (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

In Seattle, where I live, the men’s professional soccer team, the Sounders, draws 44,000 fans on average to every home game. The women’s professional soccer team, the Reign, draws 3,500. This disparity exists in a place where, while I was growing up, the majority of boys and girls I knew played on a soccer team, at a time when Brandi Chastain’s game-winning penalty kick to win the 1999 women’s World Cup was the most memorable sports moment any of us had been alive to see. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

This disparity in coverage is gender inequality at work, says Cooky. “The media plays a huge role in building and sustaining audiences for sport and they do it very well for men’s sports and they do it horribly for women’s sports.” The World Cup, when more Americans watch and get excited about women’s soccer, proves her point. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

So why, in 2015, is sports, a multi-billion dollar industry that so many take so seriously, still seen as a “frivolous” issue by many feminists, as Elkins suggested in 1978? There are a few small groups advocating for more women coaches and better treatment for women athletes. But according to Allison, “even in the academy, studying sports is often considered a less serious pursuit than studying the economy, or politics.” (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

And that, says Cooky, is wrong. Feminists need to focus on sports because it’s an institution of massive cultural significance and an area rife with “serious” issues, such as sexual violence, pay inequality, and a lack of women in leadership positions. “Who wouldn’t want to do what they love and say that’s their job?” says Reeves. “I’m not saying I would never play again, but I can’t live off of what they gave me. I can’t.” (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

The 2020 season was initially postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and later canceled. Instead the league played the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, a special competition hosted in the Salt Lake City region with no spectators. The cup began in late June, making the NWSL the first major U.S. team sports league to return to play. (Source: en.wikipedia.org On November 16, 2017, it was announced that Real Salt Lake would expand into the NWSL beginning in the 2018 season. The Salt Lake City team, shortly thereafter unveiled as Utah Royals FC, is officially considered a new franchise that replaced FC Kansas City. There were hopes but no plans for Sporting Kansas City to take over operations of FCKC, but Sporting KC was focused on sustainability with its United Soccer League reserve team, then known as Swope Park Rangers and now as Sporting Kansas City II. (Source:en.wikipedia.org))

The winner of the NWSL Championship, the final match of the NWSL Playoffs, determines that season's NWSL champion. The playoffs, a single-elimination knockout tournament, are organized by the league in a format similar to other North American professional sports leagues. At the conclusion of the regular season, the top six teams in the standings earn a berth to the tournament; (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the regular season from starting. Instead the league played the newly-announced Challenge Cup, a tournament-style competition, starting in late June, with all teams in a protective bubble in Salt Lake City. This made the NWSL the first professional team sport in the U.S. to re-start during the pandemic. (Source: en.wikipedia.org On February 2, 2017, the NWSL announced a three-year agreement with A&E Networks, in which the Lifetime network broadcast 22 regular-season matches as the NWSL Game of the Week at 4 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday afternoons, as well as three post-season matches. This marked the first time that the NWSL had a weekly broadcast window throughout the entire season. As part of the deal, A&E Networks purchased a 25% equity stake in the NWSL and were granted two seats on the league's board. The company also formed a joint venture with the league known as NWSL Media to oversee the league's marketing and broadcast rights, and Lifetime became a league-wide kit sponsor for all players. This deal marked the first time Lifetime had broadcast sports since the WNBA in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (Source:en.wikipedia.org))

On February 20, 2019, the NWSL announced that A&E Networks had pulled out of its broadcasting agreement with the league one season early. A&E's stake in NWSL Media was given back to the league, but Lifetime will remain a kit sponsor. NWSL president Amanda Duffy said the changes would give the league and its teams finer control over its media and sponsorship agreements, and expected to announce a new television rights deal soon. Verizon Media remained the U.S. digital rightsholder to the league, but the streams moved from go90 to the Yahoo! Sports website and apps. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

For the 2020 season, CBS Sports planned to broadcast 87 matches (including the playoffs) split between CBS, CBS Sports Network, and CBS All Access in Canada and the United States, with the exact distribution among the channels subject to change, while Twitch planned to stream an additional 24 matches for free. Twitch also became the NWSL's international media rights holder and stream all matches outside Canada and the United States for free. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

All Challenge cup matches would be live on CBS All Access subscription service in the US and Canada and would re-air on CBS Sports Network, while CBS would broadcast both opening and final matches. Fans outside the US and Canada would be able to stream all 23 live matches for free on Twitch as part of NWSL broadcasting rights package. (Source: en.wikipedia.org Major women's sport leagues in North America (Source:en.wikipedia.org e

List of professional sports teams in the United States and Canada (Source:

Yahoo! Sports (July 21, 2020). "NWSL announces new Los Angeles team co-owned by Natalie Portman, Serena Williams, 14 former USWNT players". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved October 19, 2021. (Source: en.wikipedia.org Goff, Steven (June 26, 2020). "NWSL Challenge Cup opens this weekend, making women's soccer first U.S. team sport back". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 6, 2020. (Source:en.wikipedia.org e"Non-allocated NWSL players take step toward forming union". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. May 15, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017. (Source:n.wikipedia.org enKassouf, Jeff (November 18, 2020). "NWSL announces return of Challenge Cup in 2021, six-team playoffs following regular season". NBC Sports. (Source:.wikipedia.org en.Kassouf, Jeff (November 18, 2020). "NWSL announces return of Challenge Cup in 2021, six-team playoffs following regular season". NBC Sports. (Source:wikipedia.org en.wikipedia.org en.wikipedia.org en.wikipedia.org en.wikipedia.org www.bbc.com www.bbc.com www.bbc.com www.bbc.com)))))))))))))Goff, Steven (June 26, 2020). "NWSL Challenge Cup opens this weekend, making women's soccer first U.S. team sport back". The Washington Post. Retrieved October Goldberg, Jamie (June 30, 2015). "NWSL and Fox Sports announce national broadcast deal". The Oregonian. Retrieved May 10, 2016. (Source:Northam, Mitchell (April 17, 2019). "NWSL: NBC Sports Chicago to broadcast Red Stars". Pro Soccer USA. Retrieved April 19, 2019. (Source:Levine, Matthew (March 11, 2020). "NWSL announces landmark multi-year media agreements with CBS Sports featuring games on CBS, CBS Sports Network, & CBS All-Access and Twitch". NWSL. Retrieved March 17, 2020. (Source:13, 2Last week the deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, cast doubt over the future of women's sport in the country when he said it was considered neither appropriate nor necessary in response to a question about the fate of the women's cricket team. (Source:"It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed." (Source:Women were barred from participating in sports during the Taliban's last spell in power from 1996-2001. (Source:Their departure is part of a wider exodus of Afghan sports and cultural stars amid fears of a crackdown on women's rights following the takeover of the country by the Taliban after foreign forces withdrew. (Source:020. (Source:en.wikipedia.org Women's professional sports (Source:en.wikipedia.org))Professional sports leagues in the United States (Source:n.wikipedia.org)))

WIN

"Orlando Pride rolls to 3–1 win before record crowd in home debut". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 23, 2016. (Source: en.wikipedia.org Goldberg, Jamie (October 15, 2017). "Portland Thorns win 2017 NWSL Championship with 1-0 victory over North Carolina Courage". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 9, 2019. (Source:en.wikipedia.org))

www.bbc.com en.wikipedia.org))Thirty-two players and their families won visas after the charity "Football for Peace" lobbied Levine, Matthew (September 22, 2019). "North Carolina Courage claims third-straight NWSL Shield with 3-0 win over Utah Royals FC". National Women's Soccer League. Retrieved September 22, 2019. (Source:Pakistan. (Source:

This year, I’m going to the World Cup again. There was no lottery, and tickets were half the cost of the ones I bought last year, including a ticket to the final. (Which, last year, would have been nearly impossible to come by, not to mention afford.) The games I’ll attend this month will be played at a 32-year-old stadium with an artificial-turf field. Some of the games in the tournament will be played at a stadium with 10,000 seats, while the smallest stadium in Brazil seated 37,634. Even though this year Team USA are favorites to win, there’s been little preview coverage of the tournament. When I tell people I’m going, most of them say, “There’s a World Cup this year?” There is, only it’s being played by women, not men. (Source: www.theatlantic.com Starting this month, millions of viewers will watch women’s soccer on television, and even start to recognize players by their first names. Some might wonder why audiences only see these world-class players, like Abby Wambach, who holds the international goal-scoring record—for women and men—for a few weeks every two years at the World Cup or the Olympics. But most, even those who care about equality for women, won’t consider how different these athletes’ careers are compared to those of men who do the exact same thing for a living. (Source:www.theatlantic.com))

"FC Kansas City earn playoff berth with 3–2 win over Thorns FC". National Women's Soccer League. August 4, 2013. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014. (Source: en.wikipedia.org

Goldberg, Jamie (August 11, 2019). "Thorns fight back to earn massive 2-1 win over Courage". Oregonian/OregonLive. Retrieved October 19, 2021. (Source: en.wikipedia.org "FC Kansas City earn playoff berth with 3–2 win over Thorns FC". National Women's Soccer League. August 4, 2013. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014. (Source:en.wikipedia.org)), four clubs have been crowned NWSL Champions: Portland Thorns FC (2), FC Kansas City (2), North Carolina Courage (2), and Western New York Flash (1). Four clubs have claimed the NWSL Shield: North Carolina Courage (3), OL Reign (2), Portland Thorns FC (2), and Western New York Flash (1). In 2018, the North Carolina Courage became the first team to win both the NWSL Shield and the NWSL Championship in the same season, a feat they repeated in 2019. (Source:en.wikipedia.org))

HOME

In Seattle, where I live, the men’s professional soccer team, the Sounders, draws 44,000 fans on average to every home game. The women’s professional soccer team, the Reign, draws 3,500. This disparity exists in a place where, while I was growing up, the majority of boys and girls I knew played on a soccer team, at a time when Brandi Chastain’s game-winning penalty kick to win the 1999 women’s World Cup was the most memorable sports moment any of us had been alive to see. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

What Reeves felt during that game against the Portland Thorns was the effect of 14,383 fans dressed in Thorns red packing the same stadium where the MLS’ Portland Timbers play. At their home games a rowdy crowd waves flags, sings songs and performs cheers led by Capos, fans who stand with their backs to the field the entire game simply to fire up the crowd. In other words, Reeves played in an environment very similar to the one most men’s professional soccer teams experience. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

In September and October 2020, the league played the Fall Series, in which the nine teams were divided into three geographic "pods" to minimize travel during the COVID-19 pandemic; each team played a home-and-away round-robin within its pod. (Source: en.wikipedia.org Goldberg, Jamie (September 22, 2018). "Portland Thorns motivated to hoist championship trophy in front of home fans". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 9, 2019. (Source:en.wikipedia.org))

"Orlando Pride rolls to 3–1 win before record crowd in home debut". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 23, 2016. (Source: en.wikipedia.org Goff, Steven (November 8, 2019). "Washington Spirit to split home matches among three venues next season". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2019. (Source:en.wikipedia.org))

FIELD

The Reign isn’t lacking star power. U.S. national-team superstars Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe are on its roster. To be fair, the Reign is only in its third season of existence. But the Seattle Sounders are only in their eighth year in the MLS, and by their third year, they were averaging 36,000 fans per game at CenturyLink Field, where the Seattle Seahawks play. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

Reeves does see hope in the way one city embraced its female players. “I did not feel like a professional athlete until we went to Portland,” she says. She likely won’t be on the field to see NWSL’s future, however. At the end of the season, at age 22, she retired from professional soccer to take a job with Amazon. (Source: www.theatlantic.com “I never really thought about it until I was playing professionally,” Reeves says. “Then I realized, wow, there’s a team down the street from us playing in Gillette Stadium and we can’t even get a consistent training field half the time ... You can’t deny the fact that there’s a pattern.” (Source:www.theatlantic.com))

What Reeves felt during that game against the Portland Thorns was the effect of 14,383 fans dressed in Thorns red packing the same stadium where the MLS’ Portland Timbers play. At their home games a rowdy crowd waves flags, sings songs and performs cheers led by Capos, fans who stand with their backs to the field the entire game simply to fire up the crowd. In other words, Reeves played in an environment very similar to the one most men’s professional soccer teams experience. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)

^ In 2021, the Spirit plan to play seven games at Audi Field and five games at Segra Field in Leesburg, Virginia. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

 

 

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