This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) final match drew 20.3 million viewers in the United States. That’s more viewers than the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup had. Considering the fact that America now has the best women’s soccer team in the world, it can easily be said that there’s a bright future for the sport in this country. Older readers might recall the incredible popularity of soccer throughout the US after the 1999 US women’s national team victory; hopefully, the same love for the sport will return to this country again.
This hope can best be characterized by FIFA’s most recent announcement: sixteen women’s teams will be available in FIFA 16, this upcoming year’s iteration of the soccer tournament video game. In all previous versions of the game, only male teams were available.
In the United States, Alex Morgan, one of the figureheads of American soccer (who has been compared to powerhouse Mia Hamm on multiple occasions), will be sharing the cover with Lionel Messi, one of the most respected players in men’s soccer.
While the misogynists of the Internet are preoccupied complaining about how “crazy” it is for gender equality in sports and video games, I’ll be busy playing as the USWNT. FIFA 16 and our recent WWC victory give us Smart Girls great hope for greater gender equality in sports and the popularity of soccer, both men’s and women’s, in America.