From Joy Fawcett to Alex Morgan, women’s football has always been known for keeping the dual role models of moms and champions deep inside its core.
In the previous years, the term “soccer moms” regularly describe, with enough bitterness, the standards of the middle-class American woman. She was well-known for passing most of her time moving her kids around sports avenues, among which football was at the top.
Nevertheless, the rise of women’s football in the 90s unexpectedly refreshed the term, exceeding every obstacle that was keeping women behind.
It was soon made clear that the term needed reconstitution. The introduction of a more tender and human meaning into the word resulted in a new term, far better from its predecessor. The new term now included both the mother’s and professional’s side of nature.Embed from Getty Images
Ηowbeit, the calling of the mother’s instincts made them feel obliged towards their kids’ raising, putting them under pressure when it was coming to make the right choice. Choose a career in football, or follow the lonely road of “soccer mom”.
The patriarchic complexity of modern’s world policy pushed women out of the game, keeping them close to their houses, watching over their kids. It kept shuttering their “ego” to fulfil their “destiny” and raise their children instead of following their dreams.
In spite of the pattern which finds women halting their dreams in favour of their kid’s future, the history of women’s football contains many women who managed to break their fetters in order to compete for their right to keep following their dreams no matter what.
Joy Fawcett: A real pioneer both on and off the pitch
One of the most well-known and finest examples of this is Joy Fawcett. The former USWNT’s defender gave birth three times through her 18 years of professional career span. Her daughters were born in 1994, 1997 and 2001.
Joy never gave up coming back not once but three times in seven years. Even though, the bargain was vast, giving birth and then having to find your in-game form in just a matter of months. The now 53-years-old American mom never lost her passion or willingness to play football on the highest level.
In fact, her daughters gave her an extra motive. Her self-confidence increased in time for the 1996 Olympic Games’ triumph in Atlanta and the 1999 World Cup road to glory.
Julie Foudy, later acknowledged that: “Joy was the first to spirit us up, to find the courage to be both a player and a mother. In the past, athletes were saying that they were going to give up, because “they could not bear having kids and playing on professionally”. That’s why they abandoned soccer, in order to fully devote themselves in their new role under the family’s “roof”.
In the 1996’s Olympic Games, Fawcett was the only “soccer mom” in the USWNT’s final squad. Three years later, her partner at the back, Carla Overbeck, became just the second ever active American player, as she was already a mom when she played in the 1999’s WC.
Their example was heavily followedEmbed from Getty Images
To this date, more players have given birth and came back on the pitch stronger than ever, delivering a special message to those who attempted to devalue their dual nature.
Also, defender Christine Rampone became the oldest field player to ever play in a WC final at the age of 40. Five years prior to that she won the WPS championship game in 2009 serving as coach and captain of Sky Blue FC. She was three months pregnant at the time. Try to beat that.Embed from Getty Images
Just to name a few more, Kristine Lilly, who holds the world record for most international caps with 354, gave birth to her first daughter at the age of 37. Shannon Boxx, who almost gave up football in 2003, became also a mom in 2014, one year prior to her final WC appearance with the USWNT.
In the last five years, Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan entered the “cute” list of “soccer moms”, after the first gave birth to her son Cassius in 2016 and the second gave birth to her daughter Charlie in 2020. They both achieved their glorious comebacks in some style.
Mother’s Day is a day for women all around the world to rejoice and feel special. It is also an emotionally difficult day for many. As all women are different, moms are no exception to that. It would be fairly uneven to make any attempts on constructing the perfect mom model.
It does not simply exist just one definition for motherhood, since all women prove their affection and love in thousands of different ways. Women like those we addressed, proved that point in the best way possible. So don’t try to mould a mother’s behaviour or measure a mother’s love for her kids.
You all are moms of this world’s children and we as kids, love you all to the moon and back. Happy Mother’s Day.