Category: Women’s Football

Iran | ‘As if one were under water’

In Iran, Kreuzberg team learns about football under cover

Berlin, Sept 29 | Filmmaker Ayat Najafi had to content himself with experiencing the centerpiece of his new project, Football Under Cover, as an exile.

At Ararat Stadium in Tehran on 28 Apr 06, Najafi stood outside the arena along with husbands of the women inside—players for the Iranian women’s national team, their amateur opponents, BSV Al-Dersimspor of Kreuzberg, and about 1,000 female supporters.

England | Rough girls, delicate boys

England women try to surmount culture of contempt

Leicester, England, Sept 21 | With the United States and England preparing to meet in a Women’s World Cup quarterfinal Sept 22 in Tianjin, China, the contest matches players who, to some degree, owe their footballing fortunes to the deeds of Lancashire forebears.

We interview Jean Williams of the International Centre for Sports History and Culture on the early history of English women’s football and on the “contemptuous” attitude that has endured toward women playing the national game.

Black Queens and Super Falcons dare to transgress on a 'crooked field'

Black Queens and Super Falcons dare to transgress on a ‘crooked field’

“For a woman to play [football] in many places is a transgression,” says Martha Saavedra in a 2007 podcast. Through her research in West Africa, Saavedra sees how football works to define masculinity.

‘Do other Martas exist?’ | In ‘machista’ Brazilian culture, one cannot be sure

Rio de Janeiro, Sept 12 | Argentine journalist Diego Graciano since 2004 has been assembling the story of Marta Vieira da Silva, Brazil’s greatest female player and a potentially galvanizing figure in lifting women’s status in her country.

With her exploits in the cathedral of Brazilian futebol in July, leading the team to a Pan American Games gold medal with 12 goals and having her footprints calcified in the Maracana’s Walk of Fame, she pushed herself into Brazil’s male-dominated sporting consciousness.

Playing against boys | Professional league in waiting, competitive instincts still burn for U.S. women

Atlanta, Aug 24 | Nel Hayes, who competed during the Women’s United Soccer Association’s three seasons as Nel Fettig, can be said to have grown up in the “early phase” of the American women’s soccer boom.

Now with a four-month-old daughter, Lily, of her own, Hayes speaks in our Aug 21 podcast of the prescient tactical awareness of girls in the Atlanta Youth Soccer Association, of which she is executive director.

Historically black and proud | At Spelman, women’s soccer pushes beyond expectation

Atlanta, Aug 23 | As soccer tacticians do, Spelman College coach Philmore George speaks of building a team from the back, using combination play to instill belief in the collective.

It makes sense, therefore, that the co-captains in George’s fourth season, which begins Sept 1, are defenders: seniors Ashley Hamilton and Rabiah “Rabi” Jamar. Together they not only have led the Spelman Jaguars from the back but the spread of women’s soccer into new territories in America’s fragmented demographic.

Winning with tolerance | Sydney lesbian club shows Australia it is bats for football

Sydney, Aug 8 | The Flying Bats’ fifth-division representative in the North West Sydney Women’s Soccer Association suffered its worst outing of the season on Aug 5: a 0–6 loss to Thornleigh.

The taste of humiliation still lingered the following morning for team member Danielle Warby, who called the experience both “embarrassing” and “painful.” But the community liaison for the Flying Bats Women’s Football Club, the longest-running lesbian soccer club in Australia’s capital, offers more fundamental reasons for the club’s existence.

File under ‘aesthetics’ | 5 epiphanic goals from Marta Vieira da Silva

Normally we do not post goal videos, but that these are goals by a woman—albeit one of the world’s best-known players, Marta Vieira da Silva of Brazil—and that they were scored at a “lesser” football competition, the 15th Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, means that otherwise they will rapidly fade into obscurity, as if they had never happened.

Cross of distinction | Cruz Azul’s visit to Atlanta offers another cultural intersection

Atlanta, Jul 25 | Much of soccer culture in the United States remains hidden, but matches such as the Jul 28 Copa Amistad between the Atlanta Silverbacks and Cruz Azul cast light on the place of the sport in everyday lives of Latinos.

Will Ramí­rez, publisher of Estadio, a Spanish-language sports weekly based in Tucker, Georgia, describes in our Jul 24 podcast how he and many of the 425,000 Hispanics in the Atlanta area remain linked to soccer despite, or because of, displacement. Also joining us are Silverbacks owner Boris Jerkunica and Los Angeles Times writer Sam Quinones.

Soccer made in Canada | CBC schedules grassroots broadcast spanning B.C. and the Maritimes

Toronto, Jul 7 | First there was Hockey Night in Canada. Now there is Soccer Day in Canada, a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. production that aims to fill two hours on Jul 8 with reporting on the grassroots game, tied to the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Souls on ‘The Line’ | Guatemala City sex workers turn to fútbol for a sense of who they are

Of football documentaries that favor the human element there is no shortage of late. One of the most recent is Estrellas de la Lí­nea, screened at English-language film festivals as The Railroad All-Stars, about Guatemala City sex workers who in 2004 organized themselves as a football team.

Visual arts | The sixth photo-contest winner

The winner of the quarterly photo contest is posted.

Cinema | Iranian women, in Panahi’s film, move beyond a boundary

The women in OffsideJafar Panahi‘s 2006 production receiving limited release in American cinemas—have “entered a forbidden space before the law has given them permission to do so,” says the Iranian director.

Coverage abroad | In Islamic world, head scarves not always compulsory football equipment

Rabat, Morocco, Mar 11 | A cursory survey of women’s use of the hijab within football, in both Muslim and non-Muslim lands, shows variance that likely defies a systemic approach.

Whose heads are covered? | Rules-addled Quebecers keep hijab, but not politics, off the field

Laval, Québec, Feb 28 | Eleven-year-old Asmahan (Azzy) Mansour walked onto an indoor field at a youth soccer tournament in suburban Montreal Sunday and into the maelstrom of Canada’s identity politics.

Women who matter | West Midlands photographer offers clearer picture of grassroots game

Birmingham, England, Feb 14 | When Jaskirt Dhaliwal trained the lens of her Mamiya 7 II on players of Birmingham City Ladies FC, she told them not to smile. Instead, the players were asked to think about their lives in football and all that such a life entails.

Sisters, united | Like mushrooms, women’s soccer sprouts in northern Malawi

Nkhata Bay, Malawi, Jan 15 | In this zone in northern Malawi, bordering Lake Nyasa along the southern terminus of the Great African Rift Valley, rates of HIV/Aids infection among pregnant women reach 24 percent. Lack of economic opportunity and education, isolation, alcohol abuse and boredom all contribute to the epidemic’s hold in a breathtakingly scenic countryside that lures tourists to well-appointed chalets.

But football for women offers an alternative in which Nkhata Bay Sisters United persist, although they must travel 62 miles round-trip to play many of their opponents in a 16-team league based in Mzuzu.

’Tis the season for tears | The extraordinary, untold story of Marta Vieira da Silva

Dois Riachos, Brazil, Dec 28 | Marta Vieira da Silva, proclaimed by FIFA on Dec 18 as the best player in women’s soccer, has been on the road for much of the past six years.

Beginning at 14, when she followed a path from the nordeste to Rio de Janeiro, seeking opportunity with Vasco da Gama, she has played around the world for age-group and the full Brazilian national team and now, professionally, for Umeå IK in Sweden. The journey took her to the Zurich Opera House last Monday night for recognition, at 20, on a gilded stage and with a golden trophy.

Occupied territories | For Palestinian women, a field is a dream

Articles on the Palestinian Territories national women’s soccer team, on tensions at Heart of Midlothian in Edinburgh, on the run on £5 notes depicting George Best, and on the assassination of a Sunni Arab soccer official in Baghdad.

Don’t call them WAGs | Readings for 16 November 2006

Articles include a history of women’s football in England, the quest for “conkers” superiority, advances in the Australian game, and an actor, alone on stage, convincing audiences that he is attending football matches.

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