U.S women deserve better from Federation.(Thursday, November 18, 1999) -- SoccerTimes readers weigh in on what they think is shabby treatment of the women's national team by the United States Soccer Federation.
DiCicco done a disservice
Could not agree more with your comments about DiCicco's departure, "MLS coaching carousel about to begin; will DiCicco be added to the mix?"
It is obscene that the USSF did anything short of immediately doing whatever it took to re-sign DiCicco for the 2000 Olympics right after the Women's World Cup. It is further evidence of what appears to be a serious lack of professionalism and over reliance on petty personal issues at the USSF.
Sean Tipton [firstname.lastname@example.org]
USSF is shortsighted about women
It amazes me that we can have so much success this past summer at the Women's World Cup and we still have the top U.S. Soccer entities complaining. Suddenly we are no better than many national associations that make coaching changes on what seems like a whim or politics at best. Not to come out and offer Tony DiCicco a great package right away for all that he has done with the team is an embarrassment to all of us who coach in this country.
As for the women wanting more, now!:
I remember going to the 1992 National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention after the WWC '91 and sitting with the members of our women's national team and hearing that the United States Soccer Federation had no plans to give the women a schedule for 1992. They wanted to focus on the men's preparations for the '94 Cup.
These passive women were not so passive that day, and as their frustration built during the meeting, it was evident that they would get their fair share on way or another. Having coached women at the college, Olympic Development Program and high school level, I respect these players demands for proper compensation, respect and a bit of fame and fortune. Until we get rid of the "old boys network" at the top, these athletes will always be treated as "second class citizens."
I remember back in the 1970s when some of us thought soccer might have finally begun to turn the corner, how frustrated we were when everything fell into lack of direction and commitment by the USSF, now 20 years later I hope we can again overcome their shortsightedness and promote these women and our men's national team to high heaven, and finally put U.S. Soccer on the map here in our own country, since we have already gained the respect of the world community.
Michael Steitzer [email@example.com]
An exceptional analysis on the women's program, "U.S. women are heading into uncharted waters." You have the true vision of the program. Just like Aly Wagner and Susan Bush, is it now time to give a qualified woman the chance to develop as a coach?
Another question? Is the fact that Major League Soccer is leading the development of the women's league actually hurting the effort because MLS and staff are too busy trying to make major changes to save MLS.
Richard Groff [firstname.lastname@example.org]
U.S. women deserve respect
Having no experience with SoccerTimes until this year's Women's World Cup, I now read all the time. Your coverage is great -- informative and entertaining. Thanks.
I have a couple of comments regarding recent ST articles and recent events in soccer. The irony of life never ceases to amaze me. I have seen exactly one comment, or rather comments, attributed to Bruce Arena regarding the USA women's national team since his selection as men's team coach. That, after a match during the Confederations Cup in Mexico, was apparently a brief tirade in response to a question as to whether the USA men could learn anything from the women. As I recall, his comments were to the effect of did anyone really think there was anything the men's team could learn from the women and that none of the USA women could even compete with the men's under-16s.
I assume at the time he was simply in a pique about the men having had their butts handed to them yet again. Regardless, to me the idea that the coach of one national team would, in an internationally reported public forum, trash another national team was totally, irrevocably inexcusable, regardless of the situation. To trash them in large part because of apparent disdain for their sex made it even worse. In my opinion being a national team coach means promoting and supporting all National teams, all the time, particularly in public and international forums.
Now I see in your article that this same Bruce Arena, who seemingly has no respect for the athletic skills or accomplishments of the women's team, is in line to control its future and destiny. Why do I get the feeling we are about to see a women's team that has done as much to help develop the sport at home as anyone, in addition to carrying the flag internationally, reduced to the level of a club team?
Returning to his comments, I think that the performance of the men's team in the Olympics -- for which if I recall correctly they would not have qualified had we not been the host country -- and again in the 1998 World Cup, indicates that they should be open to learning from any source. If the men in '98 had been as team oriented as the women were in '99, they might have won one match. What if, for instance, Alexi Lalas had accepted his role in France the way Shannon MacMillan accepted hers this year? Tiffany Roberts was starter on the '91 World Cup team as a high schooler. MacMillan was a hero of the Atlanta Olympics. Tisha Venturini was a major contributor in '96. All three were on the bench in '99 while newcomers like Cindy Parlow, Kate Sobrero, Sara Whalen and Lorrie Fair got major playing time, yet all three were ideal team players, supporting their teammates from the sideline and all three made major contributions when they did come in. If Arena were not possibly so chauvinistic he might see that, if nothing else, as being something the men could learn from the women. If that happens, and he recalls that physical prowess is not the all-defining element of sport and athletic skill -- especially in soccer -- maybe at that point he would be a good choice to lead the women's national team. Until then I hope, against hope, that it never happens.
The under-18s and the U-21s, including Susan Bush, Aly Wagner and all four of the national team newcomers mentioned above have grown under the tutelage of Lauren Gregg. Both of those teams have been as successful at their own international levels as the national team. The U-21s, coached directly by Gregg have won the last two Nordic Cups and the U-18s won the Pan-Am gold in Calgary. Gregg should be the new coach, and not just as an interim.
W.T. Wallace [email@example.com]