Soccer….Family Style

US vs Panama – Gold Cup
June 15, 2011, 5:37 pm
Filed under: International Soccer, US Soccer

It’s not like we were sleeping in the first half. It’s not like we weren’t playing with all kinds of heart. But US Soccer faced nothing but frustration in Game 2 of the Gold Cup Round Robin after beating Canada in Game 1 on Tuesday. After a junk goal and a 36′ penalty kick left the US down 2-0 to Panama, the team looked visibly shaken. We didn’t receive any favors from the referee, who seems to have never heard the term “home field advantage”.

Someone will have to explain to me how it’s not a conflict of interest to have a Mexican referee officiate for the US when the US and Mexico are expected to be the top two teams in the tournament. There were more questionable calls in this game than should be allowed by law, but (gritting my teeth) you have to play with the referee you’re assigned. The US came back and scored in the 2nd half in the 67th minute on a pretty header from Goodson to make it 2-1 in favor of Panama. I really needed to take some blood pressure medicine (does beer count for lowering blood pressure?) for how many times the US had amazing chances to score. Coulda shoulda woulda penalty kicks, Dempsey wide open in front of the goal while Donovan takes the tougher shot instead, Wondolowski misses a goal that would have been easier to score….the end result was a long night of frustration for US Soccer fans and players, and Panama ending up on top of the group.

Next up: Guadeloupe in Kansas City on Tuesday. Better luck, better officiating then I hope.

Well, That Sucked….On to the Gold Cup!
June 6, 2011, 12:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Do we really need to rehash the 4-0 slaughter of the USMNT by Spain on Saturday? (You can always read the piece I wrote for Aerys Sports on the subject.) I was chatting with a friend in Germany, who pointed out that Spain destroyed Germany too, and I guess I’ll claim a victory in the idea that many Americans believed in the US’s ability to compete with the reigning World Cup champions.

Moving on. Gold Cup has started, and I’m leaving today for a road trip to Detroit for the USMNT opening game against Canada. I’s excited to see my American Outlaws buddies, and excited to debut our new 20 x 30 US flag in the stadium! We decided that we needed a couple days on our own, so the kids are staying home this trip, resting up for their road trip to Kansas City next week. between Gold Cup and the USWNT playing in the Women’s World Cup in Germany, it should be a pretty great summer for US Soccer fans. Especially if the dramatic win over Mexico in USWNT’s warm up is any indication.

Look for the Midwest Mama flag at the Detroit and KC games, and for updates here soon!!

Really FIFA? Really? FIFA rules Iran’s Women’s Team Uniforms Unacceptable
June 6, 2011, 11:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As a woman who has refereed and been a supporter of soccer since the early 90s, I’ve seen plenty of FIFA decisions come and go, but this is by far, the most offensive and ridiculous. The Iranian women’s football team was banned from playing an Olympic qualifier vs Jordan moments before the game, according to the Guardian.CO.UK. FIFA determined that their uniforms covered too much of their bodies to comply with the Laws of the Game.

The rule that this uniform supposedly violates states that “Players and officials shall not display political, religious, commercial or personal messages or slogans in any language or form on their playing or team kits.” Unless there’s some message printed across the back of these uniforms, I don’t see how this is broadcasting a religious message. It’s a simple covering that is in the same color as the rest of the kit.

It makes me sick to think that FIFA is taking any part in limiting the participation of women in soccer in any part of the world, but particularly in Iran. It has been my experience as a woman refereeing in theUS, that even in one of the most liberated countries in the world, there are still many challenges for equality for women. Knowing the discrimination I faced as a referee in theUS, I can only imagine what these women have had to go through to play inIran. For them to reach the level of Olympic qualifying, only to be turned back by a FIFA decision that approves of head coverings, just not that much head covering, is absurd, and should be deeply offensive to all fans of the game.

Let these women prove themselves on the field FIFA. Stop making trifling uniform decisions and allow this team of women to play on.

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