Title Ix and the United States National Women’s Soccer Team

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Title IX was passed in 1972, giving many influential women an opportunity to prove their abilities and create a path for many women to follow. One example of this is how Title IX caused the creation of the United States National Women’s Soccer Team (USWNT). Because Title IX caused everyone to get equal opportunities, despite gender, the United States had to create a women’s national soccer team to be equal to their men’s national soccer team. Another effect of Title IX was the need to give both teams equal opportunity and pay. Although it took longer to initiate the equal pay, Title IX gave the United States a big opportunity to surpass other countries that continued to give the men’s teams more opportunities, equipment, and money. Because of the equal treatment of both men and women’s team in the United States, while other countries have not yet given both teams equal benefits, the United States women’s soccer team quickly became very successful.

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The U.S. women’s soccer team did not start off very successful, but they quickly began to climb. They played their first game on August 18, 1985, and lost 1-0 to Italy. The United States continued to struggle, and did not get their first win until July 7, 1986 against Canada. They had a good season in 1986, ending with five wins and two losses, yet they continued to be looked over until the 1991 World Cup. Leading up to the 1991 World Cup, the USWNT had begun to win more games and became a force to be reckoned with. A large portion of this success was due to their new shape, playing with three defenders, four midfields, and three forwards. This was unheard of in the world of soccer, but the USWNT had the experience coaching to successfully utilize the shape. They easily qualified for the World Cup, beating Mexico, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, and Canada. They finished first in Group B, only conceding two goals to Sweden, before moving on to the quarterfinals. Defeating both Taiwan and Germany, they moved on to the finals against Norway. After a close match, the United States came out on top, with a 2-1 victory. This was the first United States World Cup win, and it went to the women’s team, not the men’s. Despite their 3rd place finish in the next World Cup, the USWNT was still very successful. In 1996, women’s soccer was included in the Olympics for the first time, and the USWNT was ready. Despite the close games, they were able to bring home the first ever Olympic gold in women’s soccer.

Because of their Olympic win, the United States would host the 1999 World Cup. This was monumental for the United States because, until now, it had been very difficult to draw fans to the prospect of a women’s soccer team. A successful run at a World Cup held at home would be a huge breakthrough in dealing with the discrimination that still existed, despite Title IX. The United States dealt with the pressure well, only conceding one goal in the group stage, and making their way to the championship game. Even today, it is considered one of the most memorable games in women’s soccer. After the remaining scoreless in regulation time, U.S. and China went to penalty kicks. With around 90,000 fans in the stands with four million watching from their homes, there was a lot of pressure on the players. The United States had a chance to win it all on their fifth penalty, and Brandi Chastain was prepared. She buried her penalty kick and ripped off her shirt in celebration. The penalty was comically referred to as ‘the shot heard round the world,’ showing how important it was to women’s soccer and sports in general, and the image of Brandi Chastain had been cemented as an image of women’s soccer. This World Cup win owed a lot of its success to Title IX. Despite not having completely equal resources as the men’s team, the USWNT was still receiving a lot of support compared to other women’s teams around the world. This helped them win the two World Cups, and take home four Olympic gold medals over five Olympic years. Even today, Title IX continues to benefit the success of the USWNT.

The USWNT came into the 2015 World Cup as one of the teams to beat, but they gave their fans a big scare in the group stages, as they were not as dominant as most people suspected. They quickly picked up the pace, and proved their worth when they beat Japan in the finals 5-2. Scoring five goals in the World Cup final was unheard of, and all of the past games had been 2-1, 2-0, 2-2, or 0-0 (the last two being won in shootouts). This showed how much better the United States was than any team in the past. This was largely due to the extensive training and funding they received. This was shown once more when they defeated everyone for a fourth World Cup title in 2019. Being favoured to win, there was a lot of pressure for the USWNT to win, and they did not disappoint. In the tournament, the United States outscored their opponents 26 to 3. This shows how they truly dominated all other competition. Although the USWNT is extremely talented, their win can only be attributed to their hard work and intense training. A large portion of this comes from Title IX. Due to its demand of equality between men’s and women’s teams, the U.S. women’s team had access to a lot more equipment than many other women’s teams. This gives the United States an edge over the other teams, and allows them to continue to be the team to beat.

Title IX allows the USWNT to be more successful because it pushes for women to have equal opportunity and pay as their men, while other countries put more money in men’s teams than women’s teams. This allows the United States to be very successful on the national stage, because of their higher level utilities and opportunities. Title IX is very important because it caused the creation of the USWNT, and continues to allow them to be successful.

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