The USWNT take on the Netherlands at 11AM in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup while USMNT battle Mexico in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup at 9 PM. However, perhaps scheduling it all on the same day was an oversight.
On February 27th, Talen Energy Stadium opened its doors to thousands of screaming soccer fans when the 2019 #SheBelieves Cup came to Chester for the second time since the tournament began in 2016. PSN covered that event, and managed to highlight the important off-field lessons the tournament aims to send young girls throughout the country.
Several players have become involved with off-field campaigns to advocate for women’s rights, most importantly and most notably as of late: pay equality.
So imagine being a member of the USWNT with a chance to win a second consecutive World Cup title while appearing in a record-breaking third-straight World Cup final, only to have your match be scheduled on the same day as not just ONE men’s international final but TWO.
The men’s 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup title match AND the 2019 Copa America finals match are also slated for today. And some, including myself, agree with USWNT star Megan Rapinoe when she says it’s “ridiculous” to have these two men’s matches on the same day as the most important match in women’s international soccer this calendar year.
The USWNT is full of confident, outspoken, and strong role models who represent thousands of young women across the country. To have what could be the pinnacle of some USWNT players’ professional careers be overshadowed by not just one but two international men’s matches could also be characterized as disheartening. Or to put it frankly, the men’s matches perhaps very well should be considered “disappointing distractions.”
However, you can find plenty of US soccer fans who are thrilled to have both the men and women playing on the same day. It’s sort of a national holiday part two, just days after Independence Day. But be sure to keep in mind the overarching theme here. Because so far, it’s been swept aside in favor of the overall hype surrounding the day’s potential outcomes.
Some may say we should all simply be grateful to have both national teams competing for meaningful hardware at the same time. It’s a sign of growth for soccer throughout the country, right? Sure. That’s all well and good.
However, the grand scale of all three matches doesn’t produce a fair fight when comparing the Gold Cup and Copa America to a World Cup. The World Cup vs two continental tournaments. A global phenomenon for women’s soccer vs two regionally determined tournaments.
When you try to compare the importance of the men’s matches to the USWNT, it almost does seem a bit ridiculous, no?
Maybe the ‘higher-ups’ or ‘the powers that be’ can learn a lesson or two moving forward. While this may have seemed like a no-brainer in terms of growing the popularity of the sport as a whole, a little bit more critical thinking could’ve gone a long way in this scheduling fluke.
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Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports & Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports