My new favorite soccer podcast is The Total Soccer Show. I found it while bouncing around blogs talking about the Soccer vs. Football debate and off of that, the American vs. British terminology debate. Total Soccer did an interesting podcast on the subject of terminology, and I enjoyed the hosts and their chemistry. So I decided to check out some other episodes.
I was intrigued by an episode about their ideal roster for a hypothetical U.S. Coed Dream Team. I was skeptical going in, because so far I haven’t been super impressed with the handling of women’s soccer by the predominantly male soccer podcasters. Their insistence on choosing only the minimum number of females to start was a bit frustrating (especially since I believe their final starting 11 didn’t include Megan Rapinoe – WHAT??).
In general, however, it was a thoughtful and entertaining segment. The guys never once mentioned the appearance of any of the women. In an ideal world, that wouldn’t be a surprise, but for me, it was pretty much amazing to hear them debating the female players and male players on equal terms: as soccer players. And in the end, I was fully convinced that a coed tournament would be pretty much awesome. In an off season during a year when there is no World Cup or Olympics, I think a few coed friendlies would be brilliant. I want to see a Dempsey/Wambach goal!
Moving on from the Coed Dream Team, they went on to induct Mia Hamm into their podcast’s hall of fame. They detailed her entire life from birth through the present, highlighting all the ways she contributed not just to women’s soccer. but U.S. soccer in general. They did it with enthusiasm and respect, bordering on awe. Because Mia Hamm is awe-inspiring. To hear three dudes (one of them not even American), lauding Hamm as a player and a groundbreaker… I got emotional a few times. They seemed to really grasp all the things that made her my personal sports hero.
I’m really sad that I wasn’t aware of this podcast during the Women’s World Cup this summer. But I may just go back and listen to their coverage of it (which was apparently fairly extensive). I’m sure that they don’t talk about women’s soccer all the time. I do understand that for many people, it’s really only interesting during the World Cup or Olympics. But even then, many bloggers and podcasters only look at female players as curiosities, not as serious athletes. These guys got my attention with their respectful and thoughtful attention to the women of the Game.
P.S. I feel like an idiot for not making this connection, but the WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer) logo includes Mia Hamm’s silouhuette. Because she is that awesome.