Women have been in the shadow of men in football for a long time. This has changed in recent decades. Almost every UK club has now a women’s team, and the British women players are enjoying unprecedented popularity. In the United States, however, women’s football has been popular for years, and the US national women’s team is even more successful and popular than the national men’s team. In this article, you will read about the difference between women’s football in the UK and in the USA. Also, you will find out about the importance of applying for your ESTA for the USA on time.
Women’s football in the UK
Women have been playing football in the UK for more than one hundred years now. Women’s football used to be very popular at the beginning of last century. However, in the early 1920s, a series of theories advocating that football was a danger for women’s health and morality made that the Football Association banned all woman’s teams. Thus, professional women’s football disappeared for several decades, although women continued to play in amateur leagues. It took approximately 70 years for Women’s football to re-emerge, with the creation of the Women’s National League in 1992. Luckily, the number of female players and spectators has been increasing ever since, and the culmination has been the Women’s European Championships, held in England in 2005.
The international football organisations FIFA and UEFA have also recognised women’s football by organising football competitions at European and world level. Norway was the first country to organise the European Women’s Championship in 1987, when only four countries participated: Norway, Italy, Sweden and England.
Women’s football in the US
Compared to the UK, women’s football in the US has been very popular for a long time. The Americans have been taking women’s football seriously for decades. In 1971, a law was passed in the US that women’s football had to receive the same amount of money as men’s football and that women’s football had to be taken just as seriously.
The United States are not only the current world champion, they are also the undisputed superpower in international women’s football. They have won the most World Cup titles (in 1991, 1999 and 2015) and finished in the top three in all World Cups. The US men’s team, by comparison, never got further than third place. That was in 1930.
Individually, the players of the US national women’s team are immensely popular, and the matches of their national clubs attract many spectators. Alex Morgan, for example, is currently one of the best-known American players and plays for San Diego Wave FC. Other well-known players are Megan Rapinoe and Ashlyn Harris, who play for OL Reign, Seattle, and Gotham FC, New Jersey respectively.
Do not forget to apply for the ESTA
If you want to admire all these American stars in real life, you will need to apply for an ESTA before travelling to the USA. Do it with enough time in advance. Although you can obtain your ESTA in just a few minutes, there can always be delays, or you can make a mistake when filling in the online form and have to apply again. An ESTA is valid for two years from the date of issue and allows you to stay in the USA for up to 90 days. This will give you enough time to visit matches from the various clubs or perhaps attend a women’s team match.