Claims of equality between the U.S. men's and women's national soccer teams are unrealistic (“Equal pay for Alex Morgan,” June 12). Soccer is a different game for men and women due primarily to physiology, history and societies.
Physiology is one primary and important difference. Men are generally faster and taller than women. More speed enhances the game and likewise height assists in controlling the ball and directing it in the direction you desire.
Second, history is unequal as well. Modern soccer originated in England in 1863 and became popular and played throughout the world mostly by men. In the United States, men's soccer only gained prominence in the late 1960s and has increased in popularity since. However, U.S. men are still behind and trying to compete on an equal level with countries that historically have been playing the game longer than we have.
Contrary to this, women's soccer in the United States began on the World Cup level in 1991. The U.S. women's national team has had significant success in World Cup play. However, this success has been attained primarily because of Title IX and the fact that most other countries in the world have only recently started playing soccer on the international level with women. Therefore, on the world stage, soccer competition roles are reversed in the United States. More difficult competition for men and generally less difficult competition for women due to the fact that so few countries, from a historical and societal level, have had women playing the game.
Soccer is entertainment and is all about "putting fannies in the seats." As far as pay goes, as the U.S. Soccer Federation supposedly stated in responding to the U.S. women's national soccer team's recent claim of discrimination, "let the market decide."
Erskine Traynham Jr., Laurel