Letter to the Minneapolis Star Tribune

By Grace O’Malley. 

To the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Thank you for Not Letting Jim Souhan Write about the Women’s World Cup

At the time of the 2006 Men’s World Cup, I was 14 years old.

Despite being pretty wrapped up in my own 14-year-old girl life and only superficially following the Cup, I remember being outraged after reading a column by Jim Souhan titled, “A Dozen Ways To Fix Soccer for the U.S.” I was just entering high school and didn’t know much about feminism or gender equality, but as a soccer player I was deeply offended by Souhan’s “suggestions” about what would make soccer better, which apparently were supposed to be funny.

In order to “make the world a better place,” and have soccer succeed in the American market, he proposed twelve ridiculous improvements, including:

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I’m a female athlete, and I’m part of the problem that female athletes are not supported


It’s a great time to be an American woman. The US women’s team just won the world cup. I went to one of the games during groups, and I loved seeing how many American fans there were. There were girls and women of all ages concerned more about their face paint and red-white-and blue head bands rather than their mascara or straightened hair. Apart from the women, there were plenty of boys and men cheering the women’s team, making the gender ratio of the fans pretty balanced. This is the most viewed soccer event by Americans in history. The baseball world series 7th had 23.5 million viewers and this world cup was not far behind with 22.86 million viewers(NPR).

For a New York Times article, Julie Foudy, star midfielder on the 1999 team states explains

“We’re talking about them as athletes, rather than some of the conversations we had in ’99 — ‘My God, who are these women? They’re kind of hot!’ ” This comment well portrays the transition of US women’s soccer over the past 16 years.

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Maybe this is What Men Feel Like When They Watch the NFL

USA Fans in Chicago

The day before Super Bowl Sunday, I asked my brother, in my mind an expert and authority on most sports, to give me a thirty second run down on the game. Which teams were playing, who were their best players, interesting stories about players, etc.

When he started explaining to me, it became very apparent very quickly that not only did I know nothing, but I couldn’t care less about professional football. My brother looked at me quizzically, and said, “You know, it surprises me, that you don’t get into sports more. You are so competitive and you love sports. But you never watch professional sports.”

I lulled that one over for a moment, just as perplexed as he was.

“Hmm, I guess you’re right,” I told him.

I’d spend my whole life running around and playing all kinds of sports, and I loved going to any sporting event at my high school or college was playing in. But why didn’t I care about the ones on TV?

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Confessions of a Women’s Soccer Fan: Four Years Ago I Wasn’t Crazy About Abby Wambach


Abby Wambach celebrates after a goal

Even as I sat on the edge of my chair, screaming as she nailed an insane, bullet-like header into the back of the net to tie the game up in the quarter finals against Brazil in 2011, even as I jumped up to cheer when she did it again in the final against Japan, even as I watched her break Mia Hamm’s scoring record, then discussed her incredible athleticism, marveled at her speed, her precision, and strength, even as I nicknamed my talented teammates after her, I didn’t love Abby Wambach.

But why?

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