Disclaimer: the following letter is inspired by, but not actually written by the members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.
Dear FIFA (for the attention of: Sepp Blatter),
First off, hey! We know you’re super swamped right now with holding down the dignity of football and trying to avoid extradition charges. It’s cool, we’re pretty busy too! We’ve got a rather big match coming up later today, but you might not have heard about it. We know your “personal reasons” are getting in the way of your attending, even though a high point of your presidential bid last year was promising that you’d be in Canada no matter what.
Really, we should be grateful, because there are just so many things to thank you for. You said it so right: “I consider myself a little bit as a godfather of the organization of women’s football in FIFA.” See, we were remembering the hours of meetings with top FIFA officials to petition for equal sway on networks, the 6 a.m. stairs runs, the shooting practice in the pouring rain, the grim defeats, the pep talks, the sweat, the headaches, the cramps, the blood, the tears. Of course, none of that matters. You, knowing so much about professional women’s soccer that you failed to recognize Alex Morgan at FIFA World Player of the Year Award Night…you’re the unsung hero of our game.
After all, it was you who locked down the fantastic World Cup coverage for us! I mean, who doesn’t have FOX Sports 1?
We even have you to thank for some priceless fashion advice! As you so rightly suggested, “Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men – such as playing with a lighter ball. That decision was taken to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?”
First off, thanks for that totally TRUE fact about the lighter ball – so few people know this! Actually, no one knows this because it’s 100% false.
Now let’s get to all these great ideas. Why didn’t we realize that the way to get our tournament broadcast on ESPN was to show off our asses? We thought we were doing all those crunches so that we could loft that next corner kick even higher; now, we realize that they were meant to tone our bikini bodies for the cameras! Forget all those other “strategies” of getting more Americans to tune into women’s sports. We should have learned long ago from Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit! His fellow SI writer Mark Mravic tweeted him a vine of Lucy Bronze’s lame-o goal (am I right, fellas?) against Norway with the message, “And here some people (ahem, @Andy_Benoit) argue that women’s soccer isn’t worth watching.” And Andy wittily replied, “Not women’s soccer…women’s sports in general not worth watching.” But you know what Andy probably does this is worth looking at, as Seth and Amy so eloquently pointed out on Late Night with Seth Meyers? The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue! Ladies, time to ditch those so-called “comfortable” shorts and change our uniforms in for bikinis!
To top it all, FIFA, you and the Canadian Soccer Association got us this great surface to play on! You know what we were thinking when we watched every FIFA men’s tournament ever played on grass? “Boring!” You know what they always say – where’s the fun without a bit of risk? We wanted to challenge ourselves by playing on this thin layer of plastic over concrete slabs, to take on the overall higher rates of injury from playing on turf AND women’s increased risks for ACL injuries. Some might have considered that the game is fundamentally better on grass. Others might have questioned whether it is at all discriminatory and sexist to force the most elite female soccer players to play on a second-class surface. But FIFA only got its first female executives a couple years ago, so baby steps, right?
Mr. Blatter, we guess what we’re saying is that we’re really sad to see you go! It’s hard to imagine where we’ll find a man with your courage, integrity, and impeccable track record of remembering the names of the world’s best football stars. We know we haven’t had the best relationship, but we’ve tried playing nice on and off the field: we offered you a compromise on that whole “turf war,” asking for just some of the World Cup fields to be grass; in our matches, we provide spectators with a more fluid and classy game by not diving and rolling around on the ground in agony every few minutes. And all that hasn’t worked out so well because you still worship Cristiano Ronaldo.
So we’ll just cut the crap. We have a game to play.