The growth of European women’s soccer and the global game

UEFA, the European soccer governing body, has commissioned a British academic to study the development of the women’s pro game there that dates back to 1971, the year before Title IX was passed. A report will be released next year to coincide with the Women’s World Cup in Germany.

A full-fledged English women’s “SuperLeague” is slated to begin next year after delays that include the recession and serious financial issues plaguing top English clubs that also field women’s teams.

Women’s soccer is a blip on the radar compared to the men’s game, especially during a World Cup year, but this is a crucial and encouraging time for the development of the game internationally. The Women’s Under-20 World Cup begins next week in Germany, and the U-17 tournament takes place in September. Both of these events have been created in just the last few years so it’s too soon to tell how they’ve ramped up growth in parts of the game where the women’s game remains woefully underdeveloped.

• The disparities between women in sports in developed countries and those elsewhere remain steep. A Kenyan woman frets that the legacy of the first World Cup in Africa won’t seep into the women’s game; but she points out her male counterparts have suffered from corruption and poor organization for years.

• A blog I have not heard of before, Mister Women’s Sports, examines some of the fuss I’ve caused in my recent Title IX post and thinks both I and my adversaries can use a little bit more perspective.

• I’ve been doing this for years, but it never gets old: I’m rediscovering the thrills that many bloggers, researchers, journalists and authors find so addictive in coming across long-lost newspaper stories, documents and other information that makes being a writer such an enriching experience.

A couple of examples: A 2000 story in the Village Voice about female athletes who dare to undress. And this one, from The New York Times in 2002, about limits placed on male sports participation because of Title IX concerns.

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