Entertainment

Not One Of The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Players Is Latina, Here’s Why

On July 7, the U.S. Women’s National Team went up against the Netherlands Women’s National Team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup and USWNT took home the championship cup. During the team’s victory speech in New York, U.S. women’s soccer star and forward, Megan Rapinoe, said, “We got white girls, black girls, and everything in between.”

However, Rapinoe should have thought twice before making that statement. After all, what exactly did she mean by “everything in between” if the U.S. Women’s National Team didn’t feature a single Latina woman on its roster this year?

Rapinoe’s comments recently inspired a Los Angeles Times story about an L.A. girls soccer club trying to make the face of women’s soccer.

Columnist Bill Plaschke spoke to young soccer players from the Downtown Los Angeles Soccer Club, whose team is mostly made up of Latina athletes “facing economic and cultural battles that have long kept them on the soccer sidelines.” The Downtown Los Angeles Soccer Club is made up of 175 girls trying to change the face of women’s soccer that has historically been dominated by white women. 

“That’s why …. I like watching [the U.S. Women’s national team] and everything, but I still say my idol is Lionel Messi,” said 15-year-old-striker Nayelli Barahona

This critique of the U.S. Women’s National Football Team is not new. When they also held the title for world champions in 2017, NPR’s Latino USA published an article “Why Is Women’s Soccer so White?” 

Audio producer and journalist Michael Simon Johnson writes, “The United States women’s national soccer team is far from a beacon of diversity, especially when compared to their male counterparts. With few women of color––and no Latinas––the team is extremely white, in spite of soccer’s entrenched place in Latin American culture.” 

However, the issue isn’t that young girls of color aren’t interested in playing the sport. 

But rather, as NPR notes, “youth soccer’s play-to-play system favors not necessarily the most talented children, but the children of parents who can afford elite clubs’ steep fees.” Club soccer fees run from $2,000 to $5,000 annually, per the Los Angeles Times.

That’s where Downtown Los Angeles Soccer Club comes in. Their club president Mick Muhlfriedel helps run the all-volunteer operation out of a middle school field in Pico-Union. According to Mulhfriedel, “some of the girls contribute $25 a month. Most pay nothing.” 

Since the 1991 World Cup, there have been 12 women of color on the U.S. World Cup or Olympic teams.

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, 14-year-old girls drop out sports at twice the rate of boys. 

“Add in the lack of diverse role models and access, transportation issues and the cost, the number of obstacles facing girls of color in the game of soccer becomes poignantly evident. Although progress has been slow, there has been progress. It would be remiss to not acknowledge some of the black players who are trailblazing on the field,” writes Stephanie Taylor of Girls Soccer Network.

In September 2018, Hope Solo also penned an opinion piece that focused on what’s wrong when the U.S. women’s soccer teams are dominated by “white girls next door.”

She writes that race was something most people on the teams she played didn’t want to discuss or even acknowledge. 

“Over most of my 20-year career, I hadn’t realized how uncomfortable some teammates were around certain coaches or officials. Most players wanted to represent the US, to be at the Olympics or the World Cup, and they’re proud to be on the team. So they kept quiet. But those conversations with teammates who felt things were off, means race is an issue we need to discuss a whole lot more,” Solo writes. “The numbers are very clear. We need more men and women of color to represent US national teams. So few players of color representing the USWNT means there are great athletes across the country we are ignoring.” 

The Los Angeles Times also cites that according to NCAA reports from 2017-2018, only 8% of female soccer players were Latino women. This is why it’s so important to not only advocate for young Latina athletes but also help mobilize the conversations further surrounding not only gender parity’s in professional sports but also race. 

In the last two years, the Downtown Los Angeles Soccer Club has won three of their eight major tournaments and made it to the finals three other times. This fall, the Los Angeles Times writes that they’ll compete in the prestigious Premier division of the Coast Soccer League and compete in the California Regional League. 

The young Latina soccer players from the Down Los Angeles Soccer Club seem to be resilient soccer players passionate and determined.

More importantly, they seem resolute in their efforts to change the face of future World Cup and soccer matches that take place on a national stage.

Here’s to hoping we see some of these young talented players giving that victory speech or holding the cup in the future. 

Washington Post Editor Says Texas Rangers Might As Well Be Called Texas Klansmen

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Washington Post Editor Says Texas Rangers Might As Well Be Called Texas Klansmen

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Amid calls for sports teams to reassess those with mascots and names with strings attached to racism and hate, fans have seen teams such as the Washington Redskins abandon their longstanding “identities.” 

Now it’s the Texas Rangers who are up to bat.

The American professional baseball team based out of Texas recently felt the ire of a Washington Post editor who called on the team to change their name. 

Notably borrowed from the famous law enforcement agency of the same name, the Texas Rangers were established in 1961 as the Washington Senators but in 1971 after a multimillion-dollar buy out were moved to Arlington, Texas, and dubbed the Rangers.

 Today, the mascots are celebrated and led by their mascot Rangers Captain, a palomino-style horse, who wears the team’s uniform. And while the team might have a history that spans back decades, it’s their name and mascot whose history appears to be much more troubling and problematic. In a recent opinion piece shared by the Washington Post, global opinions editor Karen Attiah called for a name-changing citing that “to know the full history of the Texas Rangers is to understand that the team’s name is not so far off from being called the Texas Klansmen.”

Speaking about the Rangers, Attiah claimed that she had been raised on “myths about Texas Rangers as brave and wholesome guardians of the Texas frontier.”

According to Attiah, who was raised in Dallas, Texas, “What we didn’t realize at the time was that the Rangers were a cruel, racist force when it came to the nonwhites who inhabited the beautiful and untamed Texas territory.”

In her op-ed, Attiah pointed out that the original Texas Rangers, who were established in 1835, had early assignments that were made “to clear the land of Indian[s] for white settlers.”

“That was just the start,” she went onto explain. “The Rangers oppressed black people, helping capture runaway slaves trying to escape to Mexico; in the aftermath of the Civil War, they killed free blacks with impunity.”
Citing the recently published book Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers by Doug Swanson, Attiah further underlined this point quoting that the job of the rangers in the force’s early days “was to seize and hold Texas for the white man.”

Renewed conversations about systemic racism and the passive ways in which we accept it as a society, were stirred up in the weeks following the death of George Floyd.

In response to calls for a change, the Washington Redskins announced on Monday that they would retire the team name and logo after years of protests.

Activists in Texas are now urging the Rangers to follow suit.

The team replied to recent requests in a statement to the Dallas Morning News, saying “While we may have originally taken our name from the law enforcement agency, since 1971, the Texas Rangers Baseball Club has forged its own, independent identity. The Texas Rangers Baseball Club stands for equality. We condemn racism, bigotry, and discrimination in all forms.”

In response to the team’s statement, Attiah called its owners to put their money where their mouth is replying “If the team ownership, as it proclaims, condemns ‘racism, bigotry, and discrimination in all forms,’ there is an easy way for it to prove that,” she wrote. “The Texas Rangers’ team name must go.”

Serena Williams Twinning With Her Daughter On The Tennis Court Will Make Your Cheeks Hurt

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Serena Williams Twinning With Her Daughter On The Tennis Court Will Make Your Cheeks Hurt

Hannah Peters / Getty

Serena Williams’s daughter someday might feel as if she has big shoes to fill but currently the 3-year-old seems to be doing it in stride.

Serena Williams and her daughter Alexis Olympia have been taking part in quite a bit of mommy/ daughter girl time. 

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Caption this (MUST SWIPE RIGHT)

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In a series of  Instagram photos shared over the weekend, the sports athlete showed off Alexis’s tennis court skills. In what has to be the world’s cutest Instagram post, Williams and her daughter wear purple Nike bodysuits while striking poses with their tennis rackets. In the last image of the series, the mother/ daughter duo do a sweet high five.

More photos of the day were shared on Alexis’s official Instagram page which is run by her parents.

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In the photo, Serena and Alexis wear their long-sleeve bodysuits with skirts. Serena posted the photo with the caption “Caption this.” Of course, it didn’t take long for Alexis’s photo to receive tons of Instagram love. Dwyane Wade commented on the image saying “If this isn’t the cutest thing I’ve seen” Chloe x Halle awwed over the image as well.

It’s not the first time Alexis has stolen the limelight from her mother.

Earlier this year, Alexis stole more awws when her mother posted a photo of her holding her daughter while she was sleeping. In a post to Instagram, Serena wrote “I am not sure who took this picture but Working and being a mom is not easy. I am often exhausted, stressed, and then I go play a professional tennis match. We keep going. I am so proud and inspired by the women who do it day in and day out. I’m proud to be this baby’s mama @olympiaohanian#nofilter#nomakeup#nohairbursh lol #justme.”