As American As Women's Soccer?

| June 18, 2001

As American As Women's Soccer? Scott Stossel, The Atlantic Online
A strange conundrum has occurred in sports over the last century -- not only are women finally allowed and encouraged to play soccer, but American women have emerged as some of the best players in the world. Scott Stossel, writing for The Atlantic Online, explains why. Until recently, 'U.S.A.' and 'soccer' were not too closely associated. While the rest of the world kicked a ball around a field, a jungle clearing, the sands of a desert, or a snowy street, American men concentrated on the big four team sports: baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. Soccer was relegated to P.E. class and reserved for boys who were too small for football. And, oh yes, as a team sport for girls. Indeed, soccer developed mainly as a women's sport in the U.S., Stossel notes, while it was almost exclusively a men's sport throughout the rest of the world. Women in other countries were usually discouraged from playing, and sometimes actually banned from the sport. Meanwhile, American women made the game their own and excelled at it, winning the World Cup in 1999. So, while American men are hustling to catch up with the rest of the world's men on the soccer field, American women are dominating. The WUSA is merely the latest sign of that remarkable trend.
--Al Paulson
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