Criticism Of US Women's Team Height of Hypocrisy

Imagine this……

You’re an athlete who has trained your whole life to make it to the world’s biggest stage for you sport. The stage for you happens to be the World Cup. An event so big, it is only held every four years. An event that takes THREE years just to qualify for. After that three years, 32 teams make it in. Thousands of women have worked hard to be on this roster, and 23 stand in France with that USA jersey on, and worn so proudly. For some, this is their very first World Cup. For at least one legend it’s reported to be her last. I am sure this could be the only one ever for a few as well. Your opening game starts against Thailand and you all come out showing why you are the defending World Cup champions. You light up the net and end the game with a 13-0 victory. America should be so proud, right? Well, most of America is. Yet a good amount decided to lash out and tell you all that you not only celebrated too much after each goal, but also that well, you just should have stopped scoring all together after so many.

Wait what???? 

Did I miss something? Do these people know soccer? Do they understand it’s the World Cup? I am over here just baffled. 

First off, I feel I should break some info down for you. I know judging by this score, it might not seem like it, but it is actually Very hard to score in the women’s World Cup. Goals do not come easy. Many games end in 0-0 and most are maybe 1 to 2 goals every game. So when you do score, it’s a pretty big deal. 

I watched each goal and this is the breakdown of the celebrations after:

Goal 1- Alex Morgan- face of women’s soccer, runs away from goal with a few arm winds. Ok, nothing major??

Goal 2- Rose Lavelle- her very first World Cup appearance and World Cup goal, runs over and hugs her teammates. Ok, quite normal and common in this sport to see this reaction. Plus did I mention it’s her first ever world cup goal?

Goal 3- Lindsey Horan- also, very first World Cup appearance and goal. Ran over and hugged teammates. Again, common reaction. Oh, and did you see the viral video of her parents after she scored? Tears and hearing them say “our little girl scored”. Yes, proud moment you can see. So doesn’t she deserve to also be proud?

Goal 4- Samantha Mewis- Another first World Cup appearance and goal- Once again, hugs her teammates. 

Goal 5- Alex Morgan- hugs her teammates. 

Goal 6- Samantha Mewis- second goal in first world cup appearance… this is rare. But she only hugs her teammates.

Goal 7- Rose Lavelle- very rare again, and only hugs her teammates. 

Goal 8- Alex Morgan- to be honest, she barely even celebrates this one. 

Goal 9- Megan Rapinoe- ok, I will say this one was more celebratory. She kind of slides and kicks her leg up. So let me try to explain this…Rapinoe’s first world cup appearance in 2011, she comes off the bench to play in the 50thminute and almost immediately scores. She runs over to an on field microphone, taps it and begins singing Bruce Springstein’s “Born in the USA”. Let me remind you, nothing was said about the celebration…But the leg kick and slide, whoa now…that is TOO MUCH GIRLS, SLOW YOUR ROLL. Are we serious?

Goal 10- Alex Morgan- She holds up 4 fingers and kind of shakes them, to say “hey I have 4 goals” which again, is a pretty big deal.

Goal 11- Mal Pugh- the young phenomenon who gave up playing at UCLA to make a professional career. Her first world cup appearance and goal. She runs over and is cheering with girls. Is this too much? Some say yes, because we are up 11-0. Ok, But do you realize it’s this girls very first world cup and world cup goal??? She has every single right to celebrate this huge moment in her life!

Goal 12- Alex Morgan- FIVE GOALS!!!! She just made history. Tied with Michelle Akers for most goals scored in a world cup match. What does she do? Barely celebrates. I don’t know about you, but I might be doing cartwheels. 

Goal 13- ahhhhh Carli Lloyd. The face and hero of the last women’s World Cup. It is reported to be her last World Cup and she scores. Also making history by getting that goal. She is now tied for scoring in 5 straight women’s World Cup games. Kind of a big deal, and she celebrates with her teammates by running and cheering into their arms. 

“But the players on the sidelines not even playing, why did they need to celebrate so hard?”

Oh I don’t know Susan, maybe because it’s called being a part of a TEAM! I mean if you are most likely not getting a strong chance to see minutes in this World Cup, maybe you want to be on the sidelines cheering your teammates on. Heaven for bid they do that and create a movement like women empowering other women. 

So there you have. Excessive or not? They all seemed to be pretty average responses to scoring a goal in my opinion. But If you still find it to be too much, let me try to explain it on a personal level.

I have already told you how hard it is to not only play in a World Cup but score in a World Cup. But the thing you may not see is what goes in to getting to these big moments. So I want to tell you about a moment for my daughter and I. We have been on a soccer field since my daughter, Emma was four. It has been her life. Her goal and her biggest stage was to get to play D1 soccer one day. And when she was 16, it came true and she committed to play at UNF. A year later, her world would come crashing down. A routine ACL led to MRSA, and led to 5 total surgeries on one knee, 3.5 weeks in the hospital, and months and months of rehab. She didn’t get to play soccer for 22 months. It left a huge hole on the side of her knee, and a lot of self doubt if she would make it on the field in college. After red shirting her freshmen year due to this injury, she played her first game this past spring. She scored in the second half and got her first college goal. I can’t begin to tell you how her teammates ran over to her, jumped, hugged, and just celebrated like you wouldn’t believe. I was in the stands crying. To the other team, or even some parents they may not have understood why I was crying or why she and her teammates celebrated so hard. But we…..WE FELT IT. This was just a college game….now realize that these players all have their own stories, injuries, and battles to get there. And tell me why you feel it’s ok to tell them to silence this moment for them?

 IT IS NOT OK!

So the other point is that many think they just should have stopped scoring all together in favor of not embarrassing Thailand any further. If you think them playing pass to each other and making Thailand run all over the field and play a game of chase to get the ball from them is less demeaning than playing the actual game of soccer, then you are just wrong. If a player has the option to make history, score their first goal in a world cup, or just simply score in a world cup who are you to tell them they shouldn’t take that shot in order to be nicer to the other team. This is a sport. This is the WORLD CUP. You do not come here to be nice. Oh, and incase you don’t get soccer……if it comes down to a tie in the end for the bracket, it goes to goal differential. Which means you need to have more goals than the team you are tied with. How do you know the other two teams playing Thailand the next two games don’t score 14? Answer, you don’t. So you go out, and you do your job!

“But why didn’t they just sub in other players and maybe the score would have been less?” Yeah, I read that one as well. Besides shaking my head because that means you’re talking crap about a sport you clearly don’t get, I’ll just answer it anyhow. THEY DID. They subbed three players off the bench. Did you know that is the only amount of subs you are allowed to make in a game? Two of those subs scored. Also, it wouldn’t matter which players you sub in, our bench is that good!

Now, if you are still reading this and not agreeing with me, then I would like to just point out a few little facts. 

In world cup qualifying in 2015 the women’s team of Italy won 15-0 agains N. Macedonia. Nobody asked them to stop scoring. In the actual World Cup in 2015 Switzerland beat Ecuador 10-1, and Germany beat Ivory Coast 10-0. Nobody said a word about them scoring so much, or cheering for their goals. 

Now, when the dream team came out in the 1992 Olympics, USA’s opening match was 116-48 where they destroyed Angloa. Guess what? Nobody cared, nobody asked them to not score so much, and nobody cared when they dunked on players while they were up so much. Did you hear anyone ask Michael Jordan to score a little less? Instead, America got behind them and cheered them on. Wow, imagine that response for this USA team. There have been Super Bowl wins of 43-8 and nobody says a word! So why this game????

We Live in a world where women are publicly scrutinized for their reactions to moments in big games. Take McKayla Maroney in the 2012 Olympics. She got silver in the the vault, and in most peoples opinion, she should have won gold. So needless to say, she wasn’t a happy girl. And in the medal ceremony she made a face scowl….and everyone went crazy. Now, do most of us think she should have been a little better about this? Maybe so, but it was made in to such a big deal. When was the last time you saw the world go crazy at a male after a sport? Or the infamous Serena Williams moment where she was yelling at the ref because she felt she was owed an apology to him insinuating that she was a cheater. Again, the world bashed her and called her “emotional”, “irrational”, and even “crazy”. But McEnroe was labeled “passionate”. Do you see a theme here? We must stop labeling or telling our female athletes how to act, react, and to hold back. It is not ok to silence them. 

 

Should I just keep saying this?

On my final note, I am going to say that in the world of women’s soccer, FIFA has spent so long ignoring these ladies for decades. So much so that they finally raised the prize money available to women’s team in the World Cup games. So the total amount of money up for grabs to these winning teams was just raised from 15 million to 30 million. Nice huh? Hold on….because at the same exact time, Fifa decided to also raise the mens prize money as well. So in the next 2022 Men’s World Cup, the prize money was raised from 400 million to 440 million. So in a world where the women make 410 million less for playing the same exact amount of games the men do, why on earth would you try to silence them for celebrating goals, and scoring a lot of them?

My hope is this shed some light for those of you, and makes you see this really isn’t something deserving of all the backlash you are giving them. They are our team. They are USA, and we should all be cheering them on and hoping they bring home the Gold again. We should be celebrating each goal they score and knowing how hard they have worked to get here. We should be watching with our daughters and praising the women in front of them so it builds the next generation of little girls that watch this and get inspired and go on to be great!

And if you are still the person who doesn’t get it, then all I can say to the ladies of this World Cup team is 

Light that scoreboard the *&^% UP!

Marshall Matters

Marshall Matters

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