Hey, son, can I talk to you for a sec? I know you’ve been having so much fun at soccer camp, and you mentioned wanting to play professionally, and I think that’s so great. Especially since you’re a boy. Honestly, when you first asked to take lessons, I was, like, “Really? Wow. Not ballet? All right. Good for you!”
You get a little exercise. You’re out with your friends, burning off some steam. And, hey, knowing a lot about sports can only help you with the ladies! The way I see it, if boys want to play soccer just for fun, understanding that it’ll never really go anywhere, why not just let them have this?
But you get that there’s just really no place for men in American soccer long-term, right, son? Sure, there are some guys who do O.K., but your mom and I believe you’re capable of achieving such great things, and the glass ceiling on U.S. men’s soccer is about as tall as you are. Ha ha! I’m kidding but extremely serious.
I mean, when I think about the soccer greats, I immediately think Mia Hamm, Marta, Abby Wambach, Christine Sinclair, Birgit Prinz—I could go on, but do you see a pattern here? Yes, son, they’re all women.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: What about Lionel Messi? And to that, I’ll say, “But you could only name one guy. And we both can agree he’s no Homare Sawa.”
Look, when it comes down to it, maybe men just aren’t built to play soccer. It’s not personal; it’s just biology. What if you got hurt? Men are more delicate than women. It’s simply a fact, son. We can’t take pain the way they can. Or what if you got dirty? Your clothes are so pretty; it’d be such a shame to ruin them.
Believe it or not, I thought about playing soccer when I was your age, too. I remember seeing Marco van Basten as a kid and thinking it’d be so cool to be him. But then my dad reminded me, as I’ll remind you, “How is that going to help you find a wife?”
Plus, it takes a lot to be the only guy at the top, as opposed to the countless women up there. Could things change someday? Why not! If enough little boys work hard enough to be good, it’s possible that in ten, twenty, thirty years, the world will give them a shot. That could be fun! But, for now, it’s just not done.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t still play. Of course not. No one would ever dream of taking that away from you. If you really want to play soccer that badly, by all means, create your own independently funded all-male team and play for free. You know, for the love of the game! Then maybe, eventually, you’ll get paid a little more. And then maybe, eventually, almost as much as the women make. You can’t expect equal pay, though. It’s equal pay for equal work, and, truth be told, women work harder. They just do. They have to provide for their families.
Listen, buddy, I don’t want to sound like I’m anti American men’s soccer. I think it’s great that they’re out there doing their thing. I’d totally watch men’s soccer some time. It’s not real soccer, but who cares? Men are really attractive when they sweat, and they look so cute running around in their little uniforms. I love the face men make when they’re really trying to focus, like, “Grrr. Men can be tough, too!” It’s adorable.
And listen, I hear you, it’s old-fashioned thinking. But, right now, women players are the ones in the headlines. They won the World Cup! Men in America have never done that. Never! So, for the time being, soccer is a women’s sport, simple as that. They’re dominating it in a way that men just can’t measure up to.
If you really want to play with the big girls, you’ll just have to wait your turn.