Women in Football: Celebrating the Achievements of Trailblazing Players Like Marta and Mia Hamm

Women in Football

While football is enjoyed by many, traditionally, the athletes were mostly men. Although the limitations for women in this sport weren’t as strictly enforced as in martial arts like boxing, there were still many barriers to overcome.

Our article will focus on how women’s football came to be. We will examine the sport’s history, including its early days, and list notable athletes, such as Mia Hamm. Moreover, we will take a look at some of the influential games.

The article won’t include information about wagering on women’s football. Or betting on any other sport, for that matter. You can read up on other resources to get your information. For example, you can check out an article about the minimum stake in Helabet.

Early History

Women played football as early as it appeared. While it took several centuries for women’s football to become fully recognized as a sport, Some of the earliest mentions date back 2,000 years, showing women playing the Chinese game with similar rules: cuju. There’s evidence of games being actively played in Scotland in the late 18th century.

But officially, the sport’s history begins on May 3rd, 1881, in Glasgow. Two opposing teams were Scotland and England, with the Scotswomen receiving a clear sheet victory of 3:0. There was a rematch a few days later, but it didn’t finish since there were crowd issues. One thing was clear: there was enough audience for the sport to become popular. especially in Scotland, where women’s association football seemed to form as a sport.

A female munition worker tournament started in 1917 in England. The Blyth Spartans club was a winner, and the final game had over 20,000 spectators, proving the sport’s popularity yet another time. The Cup was held again next year. Many attribute female employment in heavy industry during the First World War to the sport’s growing popularity, the same effect factory workers had on regular association football decades before.

Unfortunately, after the end of the war, women’s football went through another problematic time: the Football Association, an entity governing all things related to this sport in England, banned women’s sports. While historians cite sexism as the reason and the organization claimed that the discipline was unfit for women many think that the real reason was envy for the huge attendance and the fact that the organization didn’t make money for such events.

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Many other organizations, notably Germany, France, and Brazil, applied similar bans. It often lasted until the late 1960s or early 1970s.

Modern History

The bans we mentioned earlier started to get lifted by the 1970s. And that’s exactly when modern women’s football started getting back in shape. In 1969 England’s FA lifted the ban, and the English Women’s Football Association existed. Many other countries followed suit, with Italy being the first to hire female athletes professionally and make contracts with foreign players. The first Women’s World Cup took place in 1970 in Italy, with Denmark winning it. The next year, another World Cup was hosted in Mexico, this time with Denmark winning again. Both tournaments were rather unofficial, so not all organizations consider their results. Women’s football appeared on the official program of the Summer Olympics at 1996.

Notable Athletes

And now, let’s look at the most significant female soccer players in the sport’s history. During its long history, the sport has survived tough times, so, unsurprisingly, there are its own legends. Let’s take a look at them and start with the most famous ones.

Marta

Marta Vieira da Silva, known as simply Marta, is a footballer of Brazilian origin who played for Brazil and Sweden and is considered by many to be the greatest female player of all time. She’s also the most powerful and currently active one by different standards. FIFA named her World Player of the Year six times total. She played for many clubs, such as FC Rosengard, Orlando Pride, and Santos FC, and represented the Brazilian team in various Olympic games and World Cups.

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Her playing style involves incredible quickness and great skill with the ball. She’s very agile, and her small stature allows her to be even quicker when needed. The fans usually compare her with Ronaldinho and Pelé, with the former agreeing to the comparison.

Mia Hamm

Another legendary football player, this American, got two Olympic gold medals and participated in two World Cups, making her team champions. Hamm’s career lasted for nearly two decades, starting in 1987 and ending in 2004. She retired with 158 international goals, a record for a female football player. Similarly to Marta, she’s considered to be one of the best female footballers.

Abby Wambach

Another famous American footballer, she’s the best scorer for the US national team, with 184 international goals. Her career lasted for over two decades since she started playing as a junior in 1994 and ended up with her retiring in 2015

Birgit Prinz

This retired German footballer was named the Player of the Year by FIFA three times. She played for numerous clubs and for the German National Team, where she became a two-time World Cup champion. Her career lasted for nearly two decades, and she’s a successful goalscorer.

Christine Sinclair

One of the best currently active female soccer players, this Canadian footballer holds several records. Most notably, the one for the most international goals for men or women: 190. She’s an Olympic gold medallist, a CONCACAF winner, and the second soccer player ever to score at least a goal in five different World Cups.

Important Matches

Obviously, we wouldn’t call this article complete without examples of the most notable matches in the sport’s history. Thankfully, there are plenty, ranging from the game’s early days to more modern ones.

1999 Women’s World Cup Final: USA vs China

The game ended up with a penalty shootout, with the USA winning the match in front of a record-breaking crowd of over 90,000 spectators at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. It also had an international audience of nearly 18 million viewers, another record that was only broken in 2015. The game featured Mia Hamm and

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2011 Women’s World Cup Quarterfinal: Brazil vs USA –

The match featured a dramatic comeback by the USA, who scored two goals in the final minutes of extra time to win 5-3 on penalties. The USA team ended up being a runner-up for the championship, with Japan scoring first place.

2012 London Olympics Final: USA vs Japan

In this brutal showdown, the USA team avenged their loss to Japan in the previous year’s World Cup final with a 2-1 victory to win their fourth Olympic gold medal.  

2015 Women’s World Cup Final: USA vs Japan

In another game in the long-standing rivalry between these two successful teams, The USA dominated the final match, winning 5-2 to claim their third World Cup title. It was the second time the US had two major women’s soccer trophies: the World Cup and the Olympic medal. The previous one took place in 1999.

2019 Women’s World Cup Quarterfinal: France vs USA

Unsurprisingly, the crowd and viewers highly anticipated the game, as both teams were among the favorites to win the tournament. The USA won 2-1 in a thrilling match that featured a spectacular goal from Megan Rapinoe.

Conclusion

Women’s football is a discipline with many fans and many things to watch. It wasn’t always that way; fighting some stereotypes was needed before the sport finally got its own shape. An English Football Association ban that lasted nearly 50 years was especially tough on the discipline since it was getting quite popular before that.

Thankfully, all of the limitations were lifted, and the discipline enjoys being a fully-fledged sport with its own World Cups and presence at the Olympics. In this article, we looked at the game’s history and its legends and even described the most important or impressive matches. We hope you enjoyed the read and learned something new about women’s football.

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