So I saw the headline Natalie Portman Is Leading A Group Bringing A Women’s Soccer Team To Los Angeles and read the article from Bailey and thought “Good luck to them, why not”.
Although I was a little bit skeptical because apart from the national team there is limited interest in women’s soccer in America. OL Reign, for example, who the national captain plays for has a stadium capacity of only 6,500 and Houston Dash is only slightly bigger at 7,000.
But then I watched the video and it’s at this point my heart sank and the truly disturbing ambitions of this ‘Angel City’ team are revealed. This team isn’t about sport, it’s about identity politics which will only serve to be more divisive and damaging to women’s soccer.
At 39 seconds into the video it says
“Coming together, we’re naturally destined to be bigger than the game.”
You do not start a sports team to become “biggest than the game”. This is nothing more than cheap identity politics and is an insult to the concept of sport and the origins of soccer. Soccer comes from the working class communities of England where football teams were formed from mining towns and factories workers. Bringing local communities together around a sport than billions of people have grown to love. Not by making people “bigger than the game”. This soccer is team is the complete inverse of the concept of sport and the global success of soccer.
A group of people starting a sports team to be “bigger than the game” should be run out of town. Sport is not a vehicle for identity politics or to raise celebrities profiles.
If you have a sports team with individual players who think they are bigger than the team they are often disruptive and only serve to antagonise fans. This ‘Angel City’ team only serves to antagonise fans of soccer by believing they are bigger than the sport.
Sadly, hopefully this team crashes and burns and is replaced by a team that respects sport and the origins of soccer and becomes a success by it’s on the field skills and performances. Not by its identity politics.
Start a women’s soccer team by all means, good luck to you. But do it for the right reasons, not so that any group of people can be bigger than the game.
What a terrible disgrace to sport and the origins of soccer.