She has [soccer] balls!

**WARNING** This entry is going to be a little more crass than you might be used to from me. You might want to skip it if you aren’t one for anatomy language.

June, 2015: the FIFA Women’s World Cup is underway in Canada. 24 teams have come from around the world to claim the trophy and hopefully be a role model to kids along the way.

Now, I’m not a “womynist” (and if you don’t catch the “PCU” reference, I feel sorry for you), but there’s no reason for anyone to arbitrarily consider a woman as “less than” in terms of skill and ability. Men and women are built differently, and can’t do ALL of the same things, but they can do some of the same things.

"They're not about to participate in a phallus-naming"
They’re not about to participate in a phallus-naming…

So I was a little surprised when I mentioned the Women’s World Cup to my soccer playing boys, and they responded that it wouldn’t be as good as the Men’s World Cup we watched last year. When I asked why, Toughie said, “because they’re girls.”


Now, to be fair, the onslaught of soccer on their eyeballs is a rather new development. This is Pint Size Genius’ first year of travel soccer, and the other two are in their second year. I found it was easier to show them well-played soccer than to try and explain it. Toughie’s team had the opportunity to be on-field escorts for a New York Red Bulls game, and Regulator was able to join them too. From there we started watching Red Bulls games, followed by the rest of the MLS and then Barclay Premier League from England (thanks, NBC Sports!), and eventually the World Cup from Brazil in 2014. UEFA Champions League, International Friendlies… you get the idea.

All of these matches are played by men. They don’t watch women play.

So I turn on the TV, flip to Fox Sports1 (or 2, or basic Fox) and let the teams do the work:

My boys were BLOWN. AWAY. “Did you see that?” “Look at that goal!” “The men don’t play like that!” (Which is totally true: the women are more likely to shoot from outside the 18 while men get a lot closer, often inside the 6.)

That’s right: men and women play different. And both are great to watch.

On a similar note, I want to give a shout-out to Fox Sports 1, where I watch the pre-game coverage and some of the games. Rob Stone and Alexi Lalas are accompanied by previous WWC players such as Heather Mitts, Leslie Osborne, and Monica Gonzalez. Now– I’m no idiot: there’s an element of scripting in pre-game commentary, so every presenter gets a chance to speak, and no one is talking over anyone else. But it’s nice to hear women speaking from experience and analyzing the varying approaches of the game from teams around the world, just like they did when they played.

What? It’s not a penis party on FS1. (OK– I just love this scene from the movie.)

Here’s to kicking like a girl. #SheBelieves


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