When the FIFA Women’s World Cup began earlier this summer, the event gained a following like never before. Why? Because the games were incredibly exciting and the US players were fighting for more than just a trophy—they were fighting for equal pay. The US men’s national soccer team has never won a single World Cup, but they are paid more than their female counterparts who have brought home multiple championship trophies — including another one this year! This is their fourth World Cup title and the question of Will they or won’t they win another World Cup title? was answered with an emphatic Oh, you better believe it!
The Final Game
It’s no surprise that Team USA made it to the finals—they’re considered one of the top teams—but soccer fans were rather surprised when the Netherlands (ranked eighth in the world) made it to the finals. Team USA was expected to win comfortably but when the game started, it seemed like they were struggling to score goals. Why? A lot of the credit goes to fierce Netherlands goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, who worked wonders in goal to keep Team USA from scoring. It wasn’t until after the first half that Team USA scored a goal on a penalty kick. That goal was then followed by another goal that sealed the deal for a USA win.
A Lot Of People Watched
An estimated one billion people watched the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year. While it may have grown in popularity over the years, women’s professional soccer was a very small piece of the professional soccer pie only a few decades ago.
The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) was formed in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1994 that the team won the FIFA World Cup. That win helped the USWNT gain popularity, which also slowly began to help better fund the team. After all, maintaining a team requires a lot of money to pay for equipment, skilled coaches, support staff, and player salaries, not to mention the expenses for the entire team to travel around the world for tournaments. The USA women’s soccer team recently highlighted pay issues, pointing out that they get paid less than male soccer players despite taking home multiple World Cup titles.
So, it was undoubtedly good news that this year was the most viewed FIFA Women’s World Cup. With over a billion people watching the games this year, the USWNT and women’s soccer has proven a point: people want to watch women’s soccer. But why does that matter? It matters because when more people watch and cheer on their favorite teams, the more companies will want to purchase advertising and commercials during the games. These funds, in turn, help fund teams.
Fun Fact: The Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Paris, France, where the FIFA Women’s World Cup final was held, erupted in calls for equal pay when Team USA received their trophy.