The End of an Era for Women’s Soccer?
The U.S. Women’s National Team isn’t as formidable, and their women don’t especially love America.
This writer is a huge soccer fan and has been watching games and following teams all her life. But after the last Olympics, I was particularly turned off by the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) and have strategically avoided watching their games during this year’s Women’s World Cup Tournament. There has been a distinct change in the team’s demeanor that was somewhat evident in the 2019 World Cup but was made abundantly clear at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The U.S. women’s team was the strong favorite to win the 2023 World Cup, though after Tuesday’s 0-0 tie with Portugal — barely making it out of group play — fans and critics alike are not as certain of this U.S. team from a formidability standpoint.
Former USWNT player Carli Lloyd, who was one of the greats from the 2015 and 2019 squads, had thoughts on the team’s performance. Her valid concerns are as follows:
Winning has taken on a different meaning. It is no longer: “We want to win because we want to win. No, we want everything that comes with winning, and we think we can just roll out and win games.” Teams see that. They see the arrogance in the U.S. and see that they’re not this unstoppable team.
They see that they’re able to be broken down and beaten. It just hurts me. It hurt me at the end of my career, those last couple of years to see the change and the shift in that culture and in that mentality. That hurt me to leave seeing what was coming.
The culture for me is what the culture has been on the national team since the inception. All of those [past] players, they brought a fight. They brought a hunger. They brought a desire. They brought mentality. They brought a never-say-die attitude. They brought finding a way, whether it’s the 91st minute, to get a ball in the back of the net. That has slowly dissipated from 2015 on.
The USWNT have been blessed with success, which consequently has brought money, fame, and other drugs into the picture. To keep their cool, famous friends and to fit in to the elitist culture, players like Megan Rapinoe have decided to make the national team — and its platform — their own personal group of social justice activism. Rapinoe supports men in women’s sports and also was the instigator for kneeling in the Olympics. This World Cup has been only slightly different in that, instead of kneeling, only a handful of players have deigned to show patriotism during the playing of the national anthem at the start of the games. Pride and arrogance and an inflated sense of importance have clouded the vision and purpose of the team.
The Equal Pay Nonsense
CBS News and Y!Sports are quick to point out that even though the U.S. is lackluster on the performance front, at least they scored a victory last year and secured “equal pay.” This is as if to say, The team can be complacent now because it’s still going to get paid.
That is not the only or even the biggest problem with the “equal pay” narrative. As this author wrote at the time, equal pay is a huge misnomer. Women’s soccer (and women’s sports in general) just aren’t as much of a crowd draw as the men’s sports. The men earn more because more people watch them and pay to go see them.
The answer should not have been robbing Peter to pay Paul. The correct answer should have been to make the team or sport as successful as possible. This could be achieved by having a narrative that drives people to want to watch women’s soccer. You’ll garner more support and earn more money naturally that way. Instead, this team has alienated a significant portion of its audience by being arrogant, unpatriotic, entitled, and complacent. It’s a far cry from the 1999 World Cup team’s contagious hunger; those players placed the love of the game and the love of country above their own political views.
Here it might be worth saying that if Rapinoe has her way about gender-confused males being allowed to play in women’s sports, the whole pay gap complaint becomes even more laughable. As previously stated, these faux-oppressed wealthy athletes are paid to spout leftist nonsense more than they are to play soccer. This pay gap dispute is icing on that cake.
Now From a Soccer Player Perspective
As much as this writer agrees with Carli Lloyd’s statements about the team and their showing thus far, it would be unwise to write off this team just yet. They did survive group play and still have quite a mountain to climb. This team is one that seems to be going through a building season. This happened for the women’s team back in the 2000s, and it took three World Cups to come back to dominance. The old guard is leaving/has left and new people are feeling out their place on the team. Rapinoe, who has been a fantastic player for the USWNT in past tournaments, has mostly been riding the bench this World Cup. It prompts one to wonder if her purpose there is mostly as a mascot for the LGBTQ agenda.
It would also be wise not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Perhaps the criticism and skepticism from longtime soccer fans will be enough to give the USWNT a fire in their bellies and spur them on to victory. Some athletes thrive on the feeling of being the underdog.
All in all, the USWNT have abandoned their storied tradition. They are no longer inspirational Americans who we want to cheer on. Theirs is largely an attitude of pride and arrogance and fake oppression. We want fighters, not wimps. We want Patriots, not America-hating radicals. Until all U.S. athletes who are masquerading as social justice warriors figure this out, fewer people are going to want to watch them play. This is not the fate we would like to see for women’s sports.
Athletes, the ball is at your feet.
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