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Women have come a long way

Lawrie Mifflin writes: When the Women’s World Cup was played the United States in 1999, I went to the opening game at Giants Stadium, eager to be supportive. The atmosphere was great, the soccer dreadful. So slow, so clumsy -- the women looked as if they were trying to play soccer under water. In 2003, and in 2007, I had trouble making myself watch on television.

Let me be politically correct about it, though. I did feel ashamed. As a woman, a sports fan, a former athlete, even as a mother who once coached youth soccer, I knew I should have been boosting the Women’s World Cup. I should have been talking it up; I should have been sassing my soccer friends who pooh-poohed and said it wasn’t worth watching. But, with regret, I agreed with them.

As for the tournament in Germany: I'm struck by how rapidly the women have improved, even since 2007 -- and by a weird sensation of watching history in motion. ... The skillful passing of the French team; the “wow” quotient of Brazil’s Marta; the slick ball control and darting movement off the ball of Japan’s Aya Miyama; Hope Solo’s defiant goalkeeping, and the leaping power of Abby Wambach heading into the net -- these are just a few highlights of a very impressive tournament.

As good as the best men's teams? No. Worth watching? Absolutely.

Read the whole story at New York Times »

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