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After such a great tournament in which we witnessed such brilliant play and dramatic conclusions, I find myself thinking about the future of Women’s soccer; specifically, soccer in the U.S. If we want to be honest about what we saw, we must admit that the American players choked. Most people have a hard time using that word to describe our female athletes, especially after what was accomplished against Brazil- but history doesn’t exclude any athlete, no matter who it is, from the scrutiny or criticism other athletes face in every other sport.
For Soccer to elevate to the heights which we see in other countries, it is imperative that we continue to want to see this sport succeed and invest the money and time necessary. Sadly though, I don’t see that happening anytime soon in America outside of the national team.
As mentioned before, Americans love to win and seem to disregard the sports in which they don’t do as well as other countries; we can afford to do that mainly because of the many options we have at our disposal when it comes to sports. We have had the advantage in women’s soccer up until this point but still managed to lose. I wrote in a previous article that the world is catching up- it’s not a bad thing unless you’re an American sports fan I guess and don’t like competitive games. We shouldn’t be surprised though if you place sports in the same world as everyday life. The world is progressively coming closer in terms of exchange and interdependence; the world of soccer or sports in general is no different, the sad part is Americans aren’t realizing this until it is too late.
The American arrogance involved in sports is of course misguided, but the world’s vision on improving themselves in the sports arena is becoming more apparent and focused. U.S soccer in terms of the women, will continue to improve on the national level and gain popularity throughout the world because of the financial backing involved and because of the talent on the field; but so will the rest of the countries which they will have to compete with- something they must accept and deal with.
You may be wondering how a team who hasn’t beaten the U.S team in 25 games managed to do what they did this weekend; my answer to that is, the same way every miracle happens in the sports world-a little bit of luck mixed with incredible skill and preparation. I enjoyed watching this game simply because I love watching great skill and because I love to see how different countries interact with one another in the realm of sports. The way a team represents its country tells you a lot about the country itself over a long stretch, not within one game or two.
And of course, how can you not be happy for a team like Japan after the long road to get to this point. This is being described as the coming out party for great soccer, (of course an American idea) but that is far from the truth. This type of soccer is as easy as breathing for the rest of the world. Maybe they mean for Women’s soccer and not Soccer as a whole; that’s a better way to put it I guess. That still seems like a shot to the rest of the world. In a sense saying, it’s about time they catch up to us not realizing again that we don’t always win. Not surprising because America is all about dominance, real or not, as long as the perception is there.
Japan needed this more than the U.S did and it’s interesting how sports always seem to reflect a sense of good will and timely victories; only in sports is everything possible.