Sunday, August 1, 2010

Whenever I hear or see women's football mentioned I automatically think back to Tim Lovejoy's days on Soccer AM and his assertion that he'd rather watch monkey tennis.

It's a line I've found myself using a lot recently, as women's football bizarrely has a bit of a following in North America amongst the soccer mums, families and those that really should know better.

Last night, Vancouver Whitecaps ladies team were in the USL W-League Championship final match against Buffalo Flash. The game was on TV and as there wasn't a lot else on, I thought I may as well sit down and cheer on an apsect of my club as they attempted to bring the trophy they last won in 2006 back to Canada.

Fuck me though. That was hard to watch.

I tried to watch subjectively. Take it for what it was - ie not proper football. Cheer on the Whitecaps. But I couldn't help but laugh at some of the "skill" on display and ended up just trying to work out which girls were most attractive. Sadly for me, Buffalo just edged it, as they did the match 3-1. Shocking I know, but you had to see it. Even my wife was laughing at it and she has no interest in football in the first place. She was the one that came out and said that women shouldn't be playing football!

The USL W-League is the second highest tier of women's football in North America, WPS (Women's Professional Soccer) being the highest. So these are the two best teams of the second best league on display, two unbeaten teams, and it was woeful stuff.

There was the odd glimmer of skill, but even after you got over the fact that most of them looked really funny when they ran, it was more often a case of punt and rush, toepokes, misplaced passes and clumsyness.

That said, they could probably have beat East Fife yesterday if the accounts of our first half performance are anything to go by!

The sport draws not bad crowds in North America though. The Whitecaps team averaged 1513 fans for their five home games, with a high of 2247. They drew 1712 to their Western Conference Championship game. All crowds that would put many Scottish football clubs to shame.

It's just hard to take them seriously when you have clubs with names like Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues, Hampton Roads Piranhas and my particular favourite, Kalamazoo Outrage, which to me just sounds like a bunch of angry lesbians, whilst Ottawa Fury sounds like a team on their periods the whole time. Sadly Buffalo Flash didn't live up to their name and there were no flashes of skin on display. Or skill for that matter.

I don't get it. Many don't get it. But those that do love the women's game, love it with a passion and the most famous set of supporters of the game in North America is the Pali Blues' Tony Danza Army. Yup, you're right in thinking they're name after that talented actor that is Tony Danza of Taxi fame. And no, he has fuck all to do with the team.

Told you they're crazy over here! To be fair to the Tony Danza Army though, they do a fantastic job and show a passion and support for their team that is lacking at a lot of the male USL clubs.

I get free Whitecaps women's tickets in my proper Whitecaps season tickets package every year. I've yet to use one. One year I'm hoping for tickets to the monkey tennis.


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