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December 17, 2013

Wikinews interviews former Matilda\’s player Sarah Walsh about Australian women\’s soccer

Wikinews interviews former Matilda’s player Sarah Walsh about Australian women’s soccer

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Earlier this week, Wikinews interviewed Sarah Walsh, a former Australian women’s national soccer team (Matilidas) player, about women’s football in the country.

The Australian women’s team is currently ranked ninth by FIFA, down one spot from the previous quarter when they were tied at eighth with the North Korea women’s national football team. Meanwhile, Australia’s men (Socceroos) are currently ranked 59th in the world, between the Burkina Faso and Slovakia national football team. Walsh retired from the national team in September of last year, after scoring 32 goals in 71 appearances. She was on Matildas side that qualified for the World Cup for the first time while playing in the Asian Football Confederation instead of the Oceania Football Confederation. She also played in two World Cup quarter-finals for the team. Playing in Australia’s top level domestic league, the W-League, she won the league championship in 2009. She retired from the league this year. Walsh played professionally in the United States for Sky Blue FC and Saint Louis Athletica.

Sarah Walsh playing for the Matilidas against Italy in a friendly international in 2009.
Image: Camw.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: The Socceroos are ranked 59th by FIFA. The Matildas are ranked 8th by FIFA in the latest rankings. Should media coverage correlate to team performance and internationally rankings? Is there an element of tall poppy syndrome in the coverage of the Socceros? What other factors can be used to explain the relative differences in media attention other than performance?

Sarah Walsh: Traditionally in Australia, male sports have dominated media coverage. Slowly we are seeing women’s sports feature more frequently in mainstream media publications. There is a growing interest in women’s sports, especially women’s national teams in general here in Australia. With time, the public will be exposed to more female sports on a daily basis and perhaps will build the same affections for these female sports. As a teenager, I was exposed to NRL living in Sydney, so naturally I have a strong interest in this game along with football (soccer). Young female teenagers today, have the option to turn the TV on and watch the W-league and follow their heroes. I believe in 5–10 years’ time we will see a cultural change with regards to media coverage and gender bias.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What’s the difference in style of play between the men and women’s national teams?

Sarah Walsh: Men
They appear to play a possession-based game working at effective possession combined with a developing system of pressing using our natural athleticism and high work rate as well as our cultural mental strength.
Sarah Walsh: Women
The women seem to employ a more defensive and well organized “block” making it hard for teams to play through particularly in the middle and our back thirds utilizing transitional moments (BPO – BP) to good effect with quick attacks through the natural speed of certain players.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why are the Matildas more successful in international competitions and ranking wise than the Socceroos?

Sarah Walsh: There could be a number of contributing factors. One in particular could be dues to financial reasons. Given there is more financial support for men’s national teams globally in general, I believe the competition across the board is more extensive. Due to this, there are more teams that compete at a higher level, so effectively this would make it difficult for the Socceroos to reach the same ranking as Matildas.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why do you think men don’t watch the Matildas in the same numbers as they watch the Socceroos?

Sarah Walsh: Answer similar to question 1.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Does the media feed into traditional Australian gender stereotypes by not covering elite women’s sports?

Sarah Walsh: Similar to question 1.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What is your role in sports? Journalist? Academic? Sport administrator? Player? Please provide one to two sentence biography to contextualize your answers.

Sarah Walsh: I started playing football at 5 years of age. I made my debut for the Matildas at 21 (2004–2012) I have spent the past two years working in community football at FFA delivering a Drug and Alcohol program. I am currently the Women’s Football Coordinator and Female Elite Player mentor at FFA. Actually on wikipedia if you would like to cut and paste all that info!



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  • “Wikinews interviews academic Steve Redhead about Australian women’s soccer” — Wikinews, December 7, 2013

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December 7, 2013

Wikinews interviews academic Steve Redhead about Australian women\’s soccer

Wikinews interviews academic Steve Redhead about Australian women’s soccer

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

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Yesterday, Wikinews interviewed Steve Redhead, a Professor of Sports Media and Acting Head of School of Human Movement Studies at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, Australia, about the Australian women’s national soccer team (Matildas), the Australian men’s national soccer team (Socceroos) and the current differences between the state of women and men’s soccer in Australia. The Socceroos are currently getting international attention following yesterday’s 2014 FIFA World Cup draw which placed the 59th FIFA ranked team in the same group as top FIFA ranked Spain, fifteenth ranked Chile and the ninth ranked Netherlands.

The Matildas were in the news late last month, following their AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2014 draw which saw them placed in the group with Japan, Vietnam and Jordan. With the competition scheduled to take place in May, the Matildas are looking to repeat their performance as AFC champions. Domestically, Australia’s top women’s club team Sydney FC finish third in the International Women’s Club Championship held in Japan this past week after defeating South American club champions Colo-Colo in a penalty shootout.

The Matildas in a 2012 file photo
Image: Camw.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png: The Socceroos are ranked 59th by FIFA. The Matildas are ranked 8th by FIFA in the latest rankings. Should media coverage correlate to team performance and international rankings? Is there an element of tall poppy syndrome in the coverage of the Socceroos? What other factors can be used to explain the relative differences in media attention other than performance?

Steve Redhead: Women’s sports performances are seen as less than men’s — deep structural sexism (globally replicated).

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What’s the difference in style of play between the men and women’s national teams?

Steve Redhead: If we take soccer teams, with the newish rules on tackling from behind globally soccer has become almost a non-contact sport — this has helped the women’s game enormously and the styles of play don’t differ very much at all. If you were from outer space watching games, you would not know that a game was being played by men or women at the top level. The big remaining difference is goalkeeping. Men’s team goalkeepers are invariably way over six feet at the top level. Goalkeeping in the women’s game looks different because of this difference.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why are the Matildas more successful in international competitions and ranking wise than the Socceroos?

SR: Socceroos have been in decline since Hiddink stopped being coach. Aging team, no great young players coming through to replace the golden generation. No such problem with Matildas — just steady improvement, and good coaching.

Australia’s Douglas Utjesenevic going against East German Eberhard Vogel at the 1974 FIFA World Cup, Australia men’s first World Cup appearance.
Image: Rainer Mittelstädt.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Soccer is one of most popular spectator sports for women. Why do you think the W-League has been unable to capitalize on the female audience like netball has?

SR: This is a difficult question — I just think it is going to take time, and articles like this one — it has been the same problem all over the world for women’s football and increasing the audience is always difficult.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why do you think men don’t watch the Matildas in the same numbers as they watch the Socceroos?

SR: The soccer culture for men’s football is long standing, there is a real history for the culture. Not so in the women’s game.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Do problems with A-League finances translate into broader problems for the W-League and its ability to attract investors?

SR: Yes, I think so. But there is a deep structural sexism in the culture too.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: None of the Socceroos received DAS [Direct Athlete Support] grants from the Australian Sports Commission in the past year while almost every single player on the Matildas received DAS or SLGSfW [Sports Leadership Grants and Scholarships for Women] funding. What accounts for difference in Australian Sports Commission/Australian Institute of Sport funding and what would it take to change that?

SR: Can’t really answer that one.

W-League player Emily Van Egmond playing for the Western Sydney Wanderers in a pre-season game last month
Image: Efcso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What role should the government play in encouraging media organizations, both newspapers and television networks, to cover women’s soccer in Australia?

SR: I think it does take federal government intervention — educational programmes in sport long term, enforcement of equality legislation, etc.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Does the media feed into traditional Australian gender stereotypes by not covering elite women’s sports?

SR: Yes it does. Media sports education is crucial. We do this here at Charles Sturt University in NSW and I did it at University of Brighton in the UK.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Australia has a long history of a male-driven sporting narrative. How does this narrative play into current representations of men and women in Australian soccer? Does the cultural heritage of male-driven narratives make one national team more inherently authentic than the other?

SR: No, but I think it does make it difficult for women’s sport to build the narratives over a period of time.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Do issues with the Matildas not receiving the same level of media recognition as the Socceroos play a role in the development and attention of other Australian national soccer teams like blind football at the Paralympic level, cerebral palsy football at the Paralympic level, Australian teams at the International Gay Games, deaf soccer teams at the Deaflympics, wheelchair soccer at the World Cup of Powerchair Football?

SR: Yes, it is about equality — there is so much discrimination in the coverage of sports teams.



Sources

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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January 7, 2013

Abby Wambach wins FIFA World Player of the Year

Abby Wambach wins FIFA World Player of the Year

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  • 7 July 2015: England defeats Germany 1-0 in FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 third place playoff
  • 6 July 2015: Chile beats Argentina to win first Copa America title
  • 4 July 2015: Peru defeats Paraguay 2-0 in Copa America 2015 third place playoff
  • 2 July 2015: Argentina defeats Paraguay 6-1 in Copa America 2015 semi-finals
  • 2 July 2015: Francesc Solé wins Andorra Ultra Trail again

Monday, January 7, 2013

Wambach in a game against Canada two years ago
Image: Ampatent.

Earlier tonight in Zurich, United States national team soccer player Abby Wambach was named 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, soccer’s yearly designation for the best women’s player in the world, beating out teammate Alex Morgan and five time winner Brazilian national team member Marta.

Wambach became the first woman from the United States to win the award since Mia Hamm in 2002. Her victory came in the same year she aided her team in winning a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and where she personally contributed five goals in her team’s effort.

The men’s award, the Ballon d’Or, was won by Argentinian national team player and Spanish La Liga Barcelona FC player Lionel Messi for the fourth consecutive time.



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November 19, 2012

Canberra United lose first game since January 2011

Canberra United lose first game since January 2011

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Wikinews Sports
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Other sports stories
  • 7 July 2015: England defeats Germany 1-0 in FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 third place playoff
  • 6 July 2015: Chile beats Argentina to win first Copa America title
  • 4 July 2015: Peru defeats Paraguay 2-0 in Copa America 2015 third place playoff
  • 2 July 2015: Argentina defeats Paraguay 6-1 in Copa America 2015 semi-finals
  • 2 July 2015: Francesc Solé wins Andorra Ultra Trail again

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ellie Brush, pictured in a 2009 game, was one of several players absent from Saturday’s game
Image: Camw.

Before a crowd of 575 on Saturday at Wembley Park in Box Hill, metropolitan Melbourne, Australia, W-League team Canberra United lost to the Melbourne Victory 0–3 in the team’s first loss since January of last year.

Two of the Victory’s goals came in the first half, with Canadian import Jessica McDonald and English import Jessica Fishlock each scoring for the Victory. Enza Barilla scored the third unanswered goal for the Victory in the second half.

Canberra went into the game with a depleted roster, with six players called away to participate in national team training, suspended or out because of injury, including team captain Ellie Brush, midfielder Sally Shipard, Michelle Heyman, goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, striker Ashleigh Sykes, and winger Hayley Raso. Caitlin Munoz filled in as the team’s captain in Brush’s absence, while Sally Rojahn and Catherine Brown each had their first United start and Grace Gill earned her first start of the season.

Victory coach Mike Mulvey is quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald following the game as saying, “It’s a good win, there’s no doubt about that, but it could have been a more emphatic victory. We put three in the back of the net, and it could easily have been double that.” The win moved Melbourne up to second place on the ladder, and continued the team’s dominance over Canberra who now have 1 win and 6 losses playing away in Victoria.

United’s loss was one of three upsets in the round, with the Sydney FC losing to the Perth Glory 1–3 and the Brisbane Roar FC W-League losing to the Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1–2.

Later tonight, the team departs for Tokyo to compete in the International Women’s Club Championship against some of the best women’s club teams in the world including Japan’s INAC Kobe Leonessa and NTV Beleza, and France’s Olympique Lyonnais. Canberra’s first game is against INAC Kobe Leonessa on Thursday. If they win the competition, the player bonuses would be greater than the one they received for winning last year’s W-League grand final.



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July 27, 2012

London Olympics organizers apologize after North Korea flag gaffe

London Olympics organizers apologize after North Korea flag gaffe

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Friday, July 27, 2012

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London 2012 Summer Olympics organizers apologized to the North Korean women’s football team after mistakenly displaying South Korea’s flag alongside competitors’ images during team introductions before a match featuring North Korea and Colombia at the Hampden Park venue Wednesday night. The North Korean women walked off the field, delaying the match for over an hour until the correct flag was displayed.

“We will apologise to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again”, said the organizers.

Coach Sin Ui Gun was translated as saying “We were angry because our players were introduced as if they were from South Korea, which may affect us very greatly as you might know.” He added, “Our team was not going to participate unless the problem was solved perfectly and fortunately some time later, the broadcasting was corrected and shown again live so we made up our mind to participate and go on with the match”.

After the mistake was publicly corrected, the North Korean women returned to the field, defeating the Colombian team 2–0.



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October 30, 2007

Germany to host 2011 FIFA Women\’s World Cup

Germany to host 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Germany beat out Canada to be selected as host the 2011 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Germany’s bid was based on 11 reasons why they should host the FIFA Women’s World Cup along with a video Birgit Prinz and Fatmire Bajramaj. Canada’s bid was based on its successful staging of the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Germany has won the last two FIFA Women’s World Cup and never gave up a goal in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.



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June 12, 2005

More political, soccer-related unrest in Iran follows Bahrain victory

More political, soccer-related unrest in Iran follows Bahrain victory

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Sunday, June 12, 2005

More unrest occurred overnight across Iran following the national soccer team’s June 9 victory over the team from neighboring Bahrain in a World Cup qualification match.

Soccer Jubilation Pushes Boundaries

The match marked the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that women could attend a soccer match. A group of one hundred pre-selected women were admitted to the game under official escort; a protest group of a further twenty-six women attempted to gain admission, but were dispersed by police.

A young Tehran resident reported via instant messenger that she heard what appeared to be raucous celebrating outside the night of the 1-0 victory over Bahrain. She had been babysitting that night, and returned quickly home, having decided it was probably not safe to investigate the crowds after hearing a large boom, which she attributed to pranksters possibly detonating outsized illegal fireworks. However, she also noticed that a public telephone had been damaged.

If utilities were being damaged, it is very possible that the boom was produced not by a high explosive, but by the bursting of sodium vapor lamp bulb that had been knocked over by vandals — this reporter has seen it happen before, and can attest that it sounds very much like an explosion.

Some Crowds Get Political

In the city of Tabriz in East Azerbaijan, demonstrators reportedly tore down a large poster of the late Ayatollah Khomeini (founder of the present Islamic Republic of Iran) and burned it while chanting “Freedom!” and anti-regime slogans. The crowds of young people caused traffic congestion, apparently halting movement through the center city for several hours. Numerous arrests have been reported. The city is home to a substantial Turkic Azeri minority, but the unrest seems to be political in nature, not ethnic.

Meanwhile, in the theological center of Qom, reformist politician Behzad Navabi was attacked by a group of about thirty unidentified men who apparently disagreed with his political platform. The group employed lethal and non-lethal weapons, including tear gas, to disrupt Navabi’s political rally. Navabi reports that he suffered a skull fracture and numerous cuts and bruises in the attack. Police clashed with the attackers, and eventually arrested some of them. Navabi is a member of the Mujahadeen of Islamic Revolution party and a backer of reform presidential candidate Mustafa Moin.



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May 21, 2005

UEFA Women\’s Cup: Potsdam wins Women\’s Cup against Stockholm

UEFA Women’s Cup: Potsdam wins Women’s Cup against Stockholm

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Potsdam players with the UEFA Women’s Cup

Saturday, May 21, 2005

POTSDAM, Germany – After a 3-1 victory in the 2nd game of the UEFA-Women’s Cup final 2005 the players of the 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam have won the European championship against the Swedish team of Djurgården / Älvsjö – the UEFA Women’s cup.

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