As the U.S. Women’s National Team scored their 13th goal against Thailand in the World Cup, criticism began to spread on social media. Many fans and media members wondered what the celebrations were teaching our children. Since so many people were asking, it seems only fair to outline a few things this USA soccer squad is showing young people across the country.
First, it is important to offer a few logistical explanations for the goals. There is no extra time in the group stage and goal differential can decide who advances in the World Cup if two teams are tied in the standings. The USWNT needed to score as many goals as possible because the team does not know how the rest of the matches will play out.
If you think the USWNT’s desire to keep their foot on the gas has to do with Thailand then, as we say in the South, bless your heart. These women are on a mission to be treated as equals and each goal was a reminder of that.
The country is desperate to fall in love with soccer, and a year after the USMNT failed to qualify for the World Cup forgive me for thinking we could use a little more swag on the pitch. To quote Jay-Z, I guess we got our swagger back thanks to the USWNT proving they would much rather be attacking champions than defend anything.
Forget equal pay, the USWNT proved that our country cannot even allow a team full of women to dominate an opponent without apologizing. Team USA already found out that winning a 5-2 match does not garner the attention of our nation, but when you beat your opponent by close to two touchdowns you become national news. Now that they have your attention, here are a few lessons they are teaching.
USWNT’s Memo to the Country: Playing Small Does Not Serve the World
The USWNT is showing young girls that is okay to be aggressive and celebrate the hard work you put into your craft. The “Mamba Mentality” is so often praised when their male counterparts display similar emotions, but it does not have to be limited to men. It is your right to fight for equal pay and your strength is to be celebrated not to be feared. The world can handle your strength.
Team USA is showing young people that it does not matter your race, who you love or your religion. If you are one of the best players in the nation, you deserve to represent your country.
We are part of an economy that is celebrated for rewarding production, and the USWNT has consistently outproduced the USMNT team. The U.S. Women’s National Team has won three World Cup titles and is the favorite to win a fourth. During the last women’s World Cup, the USWNT brought in more revenue than the men’s squad turning a projected $429.929 loss to a $17.7 million profit for the fiscal year, per The Washington Post.
There is more at stake here than teaching our kids how to shake hands in the orange slice line. As the criticism poured in after the USWNT’s initial match, I was reminded of this quote from the movie Coach Carter.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
The USWNT is teaching our kids plenty, but it just may be the things that scare you. Here’s to the next 13 goals, ladies.