Beyond Bend It like Beckham: The Global Phenomenon of Women's Soccer

By Timothy F. Grainey | Go to book overview

9
Ancestral Roots
Leveraging the Diaspora to Build the Game Abroad

For women, playing abroad is a recent trend, begun largely after the WUSA’S demise in 2003. (A few players from the 1991 U.S. National Team including Michelle Akers, Kristin Lilly, and Mia Hamm, played in Sweden in the mid-nineties, while Brandi Chastain played in Japan and Canadian Charmaine Hooper played in Italy, Norway, and Japan.) U.S.- and Canadian-raised men have been trying out with European soccer sides for the past few decades in increasing numbers; they earn more abroad and generally find a higher level of league play then they would domestically. Sometimes a player must try out for a number of teams before landing a contract. Unlike for men, women’s trips overseas are less for the money, as they would generally do better by using their degrees for jobs or further education. Women make contacts with the clubs through foreignbased friends who played there, or through networks developed by their club and college coaches, and occasionally through a few specialist agents. They come on short trials (normally a few days to a few weeks) or short-term contracts (from a few months to an entire season) with their expenses covered. They hope to make a positive impression so they can either be offered a more lucrative contract or be spotted by a more affluent team. By nature this path is unstable, but those who pursue it talk about the positives while

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