Question of the Week: The women’s game would be more attractive to watch if they made the field smaller. True or false?
One of our favorite players on Twitter, Joanna Lohman asked a great question earlier this week and we wanted to throw it out there for a discussion.
Here’s her question:
Here’s some thoughts from the Two Touch Pass team…
I love that Joanna asked this question and it sparked some great debate on Twitter. At first I wholeheartedly agreed with Joanna and thought the women’s game would definitely be more attractive to watch on a smaller field. But then I began to consider what some of the repercussions of this change would be for the women’s game. I’m not sure such a change would lead more people to become fans of women’s soccer. My worry is that such a change might actually draw harsher criticism and help legitimize arguments that the men’s game is superior. As far as I’m concerned, there’s already enough challenges facing women’s soccer. While I love the idea, I’d hate to see it used to further denigrate the women’s game.
Truthfully false. I know that’s not a real answer… but I’m going to go with it any way. If the field was made smaller the game would most likely be played at a faster pace with more goals scored. This would seem to make it more appealing to thrill-seeking spectators. However, it would take away one of the best parts of the sport and in turn lose true soccer fans. I believe if played on a small field soccer would begin to look a lot like indoor soccer… and while the game is played at a faster pace with more scores there is still one thing missing: fans.
I have to put on both my coach’s cap AND my analyst’s cap for this question. If you shrink the width of the field (say 70 or 65 yards wide versus 75), it would open up the game to a wider range of options a team can deploy to be successful and infuse creative/attractive play (more three-forward lineups without losing defensive coverage in the midfield or on the backline, for instance). Shrinking the length of the field (100 yards long as opposed to 110) I think would create a less attractive game, as teams would have less space to create in and defenses would be more capable of bottling up play (think of teams bunkering now say ten yards out from the top of the “D” and then realize that on a 100-yard field, that would be just a few yards short of the midfield circle). Could you shrink the pitch a little from end-to-end and more from side-to-side? Yes. Moving to a maximum length of 110 yards as opposed to 120 and a maximum width of 70 yards instead of 80 would keep the field “big enough” to allow for an open, flowing game while still making it possible for undersized or less-skilled teams to be more competitive and thus would make the game more attractive to the viewer.
Does a standard-size soccer field take away from the enjoyment of watching the women’s games? Personally no, because I find the women’s game attractive and exciting to watch no matter what type or size field they are playing on. As noted by professionals, the women’s game may be typically slower than men. Despite physical differences, female players work hard on the pitch, regardless of the field size, to develop their technical ability and style of play and compete at highest levels. Over the years, soccer teams have adapted to they evolution of the game such as variety of style of play. They also have and will continue to adapt to playing at different stadiums and in all sort of weather conditions.
Many argue that current field size dimensions on the international level favor the most athletic teams like the US Women National Team (USWNT) over teams that may not be as fit. In other words, the standards of the women’s game must be set low so the playing field is equal for all. This claim, in my opinion, does a disservice to the game and our wonderful female athletes. We look no further to the final of Women’s World Cup 2011 and USWNT friendly game against New Zealand to see that it doesn’t matter what size the field is. In the end, technical skills and style of play (or strategies) still prevail. If we leave the current field dimensions alone on the international level, this will continue to encourage teams to adjust and adapt just so they stay competitive to the game.
I cannot predict how these changes will look in women’s game. All I know is in spite of field dimensions and weather conditions, true fans will watch the game and cheer on the teams doing their talking on the field.
What do you think? Please comment down below!