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!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • 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.