Last night we saw the US Women’s national team beat the Dominican Republic 14-0. The score was extreme but the issue that most had with the game was the reaction to the goals from US Head Coach Pia Sundhage who greeted each goal, even as the score rose above double digits, with excited fist pumps and high fives. Her rationale is that this is how she shows respect for her opponents.
I suggest she watch this video to see how other countries respect their opponents. It’s about the Haitian U17 Women’s team, how they were affected by the earthquake in their country two years ago (their head coach was killed, team members were left homeless and orphaned) and how it continues to affect them.
One of their first games after the earthquake was against the US U17 team. The US also won handily that day but their reaction, despite being kids, was much more empathetic. Listen also for the reference to how neighbouring countries, including the Dominican Republic, stepped in to help the Haitian U17 team in the aftermath with offers of food, shelter and training facilities.
CONCACAF struggles with incredible diversities in both wealth and levels of play within the women’s game. We don’t need the fortunate and the advanced to think celebrating goal number fourteen is showing respect for their opponents. We need more of the US U17 team and more of the spirit shown by the Dominican Republic and Panama. Otherwise, soccer is really just a game.
Vancouver United FC is having team pictures done today. Volunteers will be collecting donations to help the Haitian team as they have arrived in Vancouver for the Olympic qualifiers with very little and will return home, for the most part, to even less. Email me if you want to help.
Watch the video here.