World Cup

Members of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team at the 2019 World Cup.
Members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team at the 2019 World Cup. The costs associated with youth sports in the U.S. create barriers for many young athletes who hope to reach the elite level. (Photo from U.S. Soccer)

The success of the United States (U.S.) Women’s National Team (WNT) has encouraged millions of young female soccer players. With television viewership records being shattered at the 2019 World Cup, these elite athletes may inspire today’s young players to pursue the next level of their game, with the hopes of earning a college scholarship, signing a professional contract, or maybe donning that coveted red, white and blue jersey. However, the opportunity to achieve those dreams remains beyond reach for many girls due to the expenses associated with youth sport.

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The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team celebrates victory in the 2015 FIFA World Cup.
The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team celebrates victory in the 2015 FIFA World Cup (photo via US Soccer).

On March 8, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team filed a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation, claiming gender discrimination. This was only the most recent step in the team’s two-year old fight for more equitable resources, a fight that has inspired women athletes to push for change in other sports as well.

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Josip Šimunić yells to the crowd following Croatia’s 2-0 victory over Iceland to qualify for the 2014 FIFA Men’s World Cup. (photo via Sanjin Strukic, Pixsell)

In November 2013, a capacity crowd of nearly 40,000 fans at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, Croatia celebrated one of the great moments for any team competing in international soccer: by defeating Iceland 2-0, the Croatian national team was among the last of 32 countries to qualify for the 2014 Men’s World Cup finals in Brazil. Amidst the ecstasy, someone made the fateful mistake of handing a microphone to Josip Šimunić.

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