There hasn’t been much hype compared to last summer, but did you know another world cup is happening this year? That’s right, it’s the Women’s World Cup happening in Canada. While the press hasn’t covered it nearly as much as it did the Men’s World Cup last year, there are still lots of reasons to watch.

Abby Wambach

Though many people don’t know it, Abby Wambach is one of the best Americans to ever play The Beautiful Game. Not only is she one of the best American players, she’s also one of the best women soccer players in the world. However, this is very likely her last Word Cup, as she is 35. This is a chance for you to watch Wambach take one last shot at World Cup gold, especially as the USA is one of the favorites of the tournament. Oh, and did you know Abby Wambach has scored more goals for any national soccer team ever, male or female?

2015 women football world cup

1999 and 2011

In 1999, the United State Women’s National Team won the World Cup in a penalty shootout against China and since then, the USWNT has been a force to be reckoned with. However, they’ve also fallen short in the last three World Cups. In 2011 they made it to the final after comeback victories against Brazil and Canada in the quarter and semifinals, respectively. But they lost to Japan in the final, much like they had won it back in 1999: in a penalty shootout. 2015 is now the USWNT’s chance for redemption. With world class players, the United State may be bringing the cup home from across the Canadian border. With all this to offer, take a look at the Women’s World Cup schedule to see when the ladies wearing the stars and stripes take the field.

The Women’s World Cup and Equality

While male athletes are getting paid millions of dollars to kick around soccer balls, women soccer players get paid a tiny fraction of that. In Hollywood, the lack of respect for female directors and actresses alike raises outrage and discussions concerning sexism and equality issues, but seldom (if ever) does the lack of respect of female athletes enter such realms. While the Men’s World Cup can teach the world a lot about socio-economic conditions in countries all over the world, the Women’s World Cup shows the world a startling lack of respect for the female athletes who play the game.

For example, last year the Men’s World Cup was played in Brazil in 12 brand-new or completely renovated stadiums, each of which was carpeted with pristine sod, perfect for playing soccer. This summer the Women’s World Cup is being played in older stadiums in Canada, some of which hold no more than 10,000 people. Furthermore, all the games will be played on artificial turf. In outrage many of the players on the USWNT filed a lawsuit against FIFA claiming sexism and sub-par working conditions, as artificial turf is much harder on players’ bodies. The suit was dropped when the players found there would be no change in playing conditions, despite FIFA having more than $1 billion of excess in the bank —  many times the amount it would take to provide grass in all the stadiums use this summer for the Women’s World Cup.

While many fans of soccer look upon the Women’s World Cup with slight interest, it’s important to remember that these are world class athletes who can provide some of the most exciting soccer you will see. From breathtaking comebacks to heartbreaking shootouts, the Women’s World Cup is a great excuse to hang with friends, barbecue and root for the stars and stripes.

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