Posted on February 28, 2012
By Jay O’Burgess
To my own admission I am not a great follower of women’s soccer. So I definitely won’t sit here and spew facts on the matter but what little I know to date does qualify me to at least string a few sentences together.
I know a few stars, Brazil has Marta, Japan has Homare Sawa and I am also update on what has been happening in the women’s game. Japan took home the Women’s World Cup in 2011 in Germany. Sawa was the women’s world player of the year for 2011.
This year, 2012, being an Olympic year means a lot of qualifying has been going. Me as ever with a CONCACAF sway have been taking a look at what has been going on in the region in terms of women qualification for London 2012 and it really hasn’t made me a firm believer in the women’s game.
I have gone this long without mentioning the United States so I might as well start now. As usual the women in “Stars and Stripes,” have been blitzing, steamrolling or whatever overpowering term you can think of their competition. Beating teams like the Dominican Republic 14-0 and then got bored and put 13 pass Guatemala for good measure.
Unlike the men’s game. Canada is relatively close to America talent and skill wise and they, too, have been dropping the sword on their recent opponents. You can ask Costa Rica about what they did to them in qualifying. Mexico I have to say out of the three North American giants are the weakest of three in the women’s game but that doesn’t mean they don’t get it done. An easy seven goals against the Dominican Republic shows how good they are but also how sub par the Dominicans can be.
But what does all this mean? Why do I rattling off statistics?
America men’s team trounces their CONCACAF opponents all the time. We know that but the fact is, there is an even greater divide in the women’s game. CONCACAF is especially notorious in this right.
I don’t have to ask why. The fact is the men’s game for some members of CONCACAF seems to be a side project. So when you come to these associations and talk about women’s soccer they must have a quiet laugh to themselves. Football is a business and CONCACAF is a small market with Canada, America and Mexico propping up the federation. The women’s game isn’t as lucrative as it’s male equivalent.
If the financial aspect wasn’t enough you have the talent and strength of female side of CONCACAF. Sometimes I want FIFA to intervene and just lend a hand in the development of the region’s soccer but I know it will never happen.
Let’ be real. These are sovereign states and will want to take charge of their own affairs but the gap in class between the better and worse teams in the federation is staggering both men and women but I think the most cancerous factor that afflicts women soccer in the region is flat out interest.
As a man from the West Indies I know first hand that females have little to no interest in watching or participating in sport. Sure, they would watch the men play but basically that is as far as it goes. There is no soccer mom culture outside of America and Canada in the region.
The Central Americans have an established soccer culture. Their women are a part of that, so Mexico and Costa Rica will continue to produce female players. But tell a Guyanese woman that her future lies in kicking a ball into a net. In her world it won’t even be a flashing thought.
In anything — not just soccer — you don’t get far if you don’t care. A simple rule in life. Finances maybe a barrier to most of CONCACAF but just look at Africa. That continent isn’t bathed in cash. Yet, Africans do very well simply because they care.
Unfortunately, most of the region doesn’t want it enough, whatever enough is, especially the women.
Categories: CONCACAF, Guest Writer, My Two Cents, National Team, Women
Tags: 2012 London Olympics, CONCACAF, Homare Sawa, Marta