Ranting Soccer Dad, Episode 4: Are women’s soccer players role models? With guest Jen Cooper

August 2, 2017

Charles Barkley said he isn't a role model. Women's soccer players, though, have typically embraced that role. But does being on a pedestal come with inevitable pitfalls? Jen Cooper, keeper of Keeper Notes and the Mixxed Zone podcast, joins the show to talk about it.

Here's the rundown: 

2:33 The Washington Spirit’s old pregame announcement on how these players are role models

4:40 Ballgirl: “They use a lot of dirty words”

6:15 A young fan reacts to a player’s arrest. Jen’s advice: People are multidimensional.

8:40 But fans still put players on pedestal -- how dare you say anything critical about Ali Krieger?!

10:42 Christie Pearce opens up about divorce and therapy.

12:52 The misstatements of collective bargaining -- veteran players gained at others’ expenses

13:55 Abby Wambach’s riveting memoir

15:15 Why at least one player blocked me on Twitter (trust me -- it's relevant to this conversation)

18:15 Suppose we’re more worried about NWSL players quitting the game than we are about the top players making more? “I am not going to promote a GoFundMe for people already making six figures.”

20:25 The advantages of seeing players as fallible. “Lay off Hope Solo because players ARE flesh and blood.”

23:00 Jen grills Julie Foudy about the past and present of collective bargaining

25:00 What did “Equal Pay for Equal Play” mean, anyway? Just the top 20? What about Casey Short or Mallory Pugh? And did the players err by framing it so simply without addressing those details?

26:15 The lack of critical coverage from the women’s soccer media -- unfair in the long run?

28:42 The silver lining of the 2007 World Cup goalkeeper controversy: It made us start thinking about women’s soccer as a sport with decisions and consequences.

30:00 Appreciating the U.S. team more when we see the nuances are realize winning isn’t easy, but the general media don’t see that yet.

32:05 Back to the 99ers and how they were marketed -- girls next door, “heteronormative,” Norman Rockwell painting of America

34:07 With players in a larger spotlight, how much scrutiny do we pay to their relationships? In other words, can a player announce a serious relationship (Rapinoe, Solo) without us all asking, “Hey, what happened to your previous significant other?”

39:10 Compare current atmosphere to the old guard -- Mia Hamm was divorced and remarried with very little publicity.

41:25 Are we sick of the “soccer mom” stories?

42:30 Wrapping it all up -- it’s a different media landscape (especially with social media fooling us into thinking we *know* players)

46:10 We finally mention the Charles Barkley ad.

47:40 The Hope Solo Eurosport ad.

And once again, this is sponsored by my youth soccer book, Single Digit Soccer, with thanks to Audacity, Garage Band, my 30-year-old Ibanez guitar and Peavey amp and listeners like you.

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