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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Ryley Wilcox
Ryley Wilcox
News Editor

I found my passion for journalism during my sophomore year of college, writing articles here and there for the North Wind. Since joining the staff this past semester as the news writer, I have been able...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Pizza Cat Vol. 10
Pizza Cat Vol. 10
Deirdre Northrup-RiestererApril 23, 2024

The greatest team you’ve never heard of

Nike’s new sponsorship of the 2007 United States’ women’s soccer team labels them as “the greatest team you’ve never heard of.” In fact, they may currently be the best team.

Period.

Team USA is highly favored to win the World Cup and it seems nobody in this country knows or respects this.

The women beat Nigeria Tuesday morning to advance into the quarterfinals. They will play England at 7:55 a. m. on Saturday. Team USA’s overall record against England is 6-2-1 and the last game was a 1-1 draw eight months ago.

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These women have a legitimate chance of winning both this game and this tournament and the media is too busy listening to tapes of O.J. and not respecting soccer, once again.

America seems to be trying, however minimally, to accept soccer. I just think they are doing it in the wrong capacity. America is trying to get people to jump on the David Beckham bench-warming bandwagon for $250 million a seat. I hope the rest of the country isn’t like the rich and famous of Los Angeles and can take some time to finally gain a much-needed respect for soccer through this team’s success.

The United States team has won two World Cups in the past (1991 and 1999) and we all remember Brandy Chastain’s game-winning penalty shot in 1999 against China when she took her shirt off. So why have we ignored such a storied past and shunned this team to “the team you’ve never heard of”?

Perhaps it is because they are young and players such as Chastain and Mia Hamm have been replaced with newcomers at midfield like Lori Chalpumy and Carli Lloyd. Just because teams get new players, though, doesn’t mean that we, as fans, should lose interest in the team.

Or maybe they’ve been ignored because this is head coach Greg Ryan’s first World Cup, but I think not. The team has a near-perfect record since Ryan took over in 2005, accumulating 39 wins and seven draws. The only near-loss is a penalty-kick fall to Germany in the 2006 Algarve Cup. The match was scoreless after regulation and extra time. Because it was decided on penalties, it is counted as a tie.

I think that although this could be the best team that the United States has ever sent to the World Cup, nobody knows because this is soccer, this is America and these are women.

It is obvious that soccer is not a mainstream or traditional American sport, but America needs to get over this ignorance. On a global scale, soccer is arguably the most popular sport and the United States should be interested in soccer’s affect on the world. America, however, seems to be more interested in a football team that cheats its way to success than a group of women that actually earn it.

I’m also aware that the games are shown at ridiculous hours of the day or night when everyone is either working or sleeping. The men’s 2006 World Cup was replayed at more convenient hours for America’s viewing. ESPN made time for the last year’s men, why not this year’s women? I know that baseball season is in its prime and both college and professional football would kill women’s soccer in the ratings, but what about the 5-7 p.m. slot on ESPN 2? Then again, I’m sure that “The Los Angeles Auto Shop” is just raking in the viewers.

Women’s sports will probably never be as popular as men’s, but just because something is unpopular doesn’t mean you can’t respect it. I grew up with a card-carrying feminist for a mother and, I don’t think it should be hard for you to do the same.

I’m not the only man in Marquette who thinks these women deserve your respect, though.

“Women’s soccer, in this country, is the best in the world,” NMU women’s soccer head coach Matt Granstrand said, “We are ranked number one and there should be respect given for a sport that is not an American sport, traditionally.”

I’m not telling you to watch every minute of every game that you can. I am just saying that you should stop checking your fantasy football rosters for five minutes and find out how the best team you have finally heard of is playing.

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