Sisterhood Blog

Women's Professional Soccer Has a New Jewish Star

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

  • Print
  • Share Share

Three short-lived seasons of The Women’s United Soccer Association, which folded in 2003, left American fans distraught, but Women’s soccer is trying again.

The Women’s Professional Soccer league debuted in April with seven teams, no television deals, and a substantially smaller budget. Some are dubious that it will ever make real money, writing it off the rookie league as an exercise in fiscal conservatism.

Prospective fans, who probably care little about the league as a cash cow for corporate sponsors, will be happy to hear that single tickets begin at a recession-friendly $13.

Men’s soccer has never achieved the astronomical popularity in this country that it has abroad, perhaps because it challenges the prodigiousness of American football. Women’s soccer tends to find a following in young women who competitively play the sport and their number one fans, their families. Some involved say this is not enough.

The Boston Breakers team business director, Andy Crossley, puts it bluntly in The New York Times:

We need to get out of the ghetto of being a role model for girls. You can’t make dads feel like they’re visiting Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Athlete role models are not part of any ghetto. There should be more of them if anything, no matter the sex. And there’s nothing “Chuck E. Cheese” about it women’s soccer, which arguably moves faster than men’s and is a physical, exciting, and high-intensity sport. Young women could do worse than play soccer, or at least attend a soccer match.

One premiere player, hailing from UNC Chapel Hill (where she racked up two NCAA championships) via Montclair New Jersey would be hard-pressed to flee the role model business. She’s been waiting for an opportunity like this her whole life. Yael Averbuch, whose parents include a marathon runner and a sports book author, has been sharing her desire to play professional soccer with the likes of journalists since she was just a teen. Her mother, Gloria Averbuch even gave Yael and her sister, Shira, Hebrew names which undoubtedly stand out in a line-up. It was reported that Yael avoided a Bat Mitzvah, which would have interfered with her rigorous training.

Here she is below, executing the speediest goal ever scored in NCAA history:

Averbuch grew up asking for autographs from women players she admired, and now she signs paraphernalia for young hopefuls herself.

No one knows if women’s professional soccer will succeed or fail, but fortunately team sports tend to ingrain in players that giving up is never an option.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: womens professional soccer league, soccer, Yael Averbuch

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
Johnny Lange Tue. Jul 21, 2009

The league has had a television deal since the innaugural match. There is a game of the week shown on Fox Soccer Channel on Sunday afternoons.




Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.