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Japan soccer chiefs neglecting women's game, says former striker

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Wrote about this on an earlier article.

When Japan Womens Soccer (football) was on top of the world a decade or so ago the media, govt etc couldn't get enough.

Sawa was the super hero of Japanese sports. There was no debate, no umming or aahing the Nadeshiko team was The Team of Japan. They were World Champions after defeating the US in the final in 2011. Sawa's insane equalizing goal was something indelibly stamped for soccer posterity. She was World Player of the year.

This trend continued with further successes but all the attention dried up when favorite players retired, more losses occurred, and their ranking slipped.

Deserted by Media / Corporate / Govt Inc like rats scurrying from a ship.

I re-iterate earlier comments - Japan has a Huge number of fair-weather sports followers esp in the business world.

We only like winners. Weak.

Show some spine and support your national teams.

Women's football is here to stay and it's growing phenomenally.

Those who don't believe, should read a little more widely.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

My daughter is captain of her local team in the UK.

I was truly amazed last summer at the groundswell of popularity of women’s soccer/football. Every last ticket sold out. There must be huge marketing potential just awaiting here in Japan. I agree with Nagasato’s comments.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I aree with her.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

In Japan Football is called Soccer. In other countries as well the female game is not as popular as the male game. I think that they should sell the rights for both male and female games as a combination. This will make it more popular.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

In Japan, everyone calls the sport soccer. So why isn’t the Japan Football Association called  Japan Soccer Association. Just curious.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

They try to force women's sport on sports fans but it just isn't working

I don’t know about ‘force’ here but it is undeniable that audiences for women’s football have soared internationally. The viewership for the last women’s Euros was estimated at 350 million plus. This is far higher than many men’s sports. I wouldn’t say not ‘working’ in this sense.

. Its not disrespectful to women but sports fans want to watch the best. That's why the premier league gets high attendance and the lower leagues get two men and a dog.

True for your example here, but it might be worth looking at the popularity of college sports in the US and high school baseball in Japan. I know people who have more interest in these tournaments than in the pro games. Also, we need to look at the game itself. Many would rather watch lower level football than other sports played at the top level. 

I heard one interesting view on the popularity of women’s volleyball in Japan. A friend of mine who played volleyball told me that the lower power in the women’s game made it a more interesting spectacle - it was less predictable ( I have no knowledge of the game and so I’m just going on what he said ).

Anyway, I hope women’s football continues to develop and improve. It certainly has over the past few years in particular.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Missed to load this link for a clip of Sawa's 2011 World Cup goals.

She was Queen of the World and Japan thrived on it.

https://youtu.be/Ig3GiXtqRXI

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I live in one of the world's epicenters for the women's game, Portland, Oregon, USA. Well before the current worldwide surge in popularity for Women's football, Portland Thorns FC of the NWSL, the US women's 1st division, had absolutely unheard-of attendance for a women's pro side (21k+ per match, when "big name" European sides like Olympic Leon were lucky to get 3500). Women's soccer's a big deal here. I've been a season ticket holder since the team started and have been watching the women's side of the sport for a long time. I vividly remember that "golden age" Japanese team and their World Cup win. They were legendary.

They've been in a rebuilding phase for a while now as the golden age players have aged out, and the reduction in support from the federation hasn't helped. But the thing is, the team is going in the right direction. Most of the players are pretty young - and that shows sometimes - but their technical ability is at least as good as the previous generation's was. More Japanese players than ever are playing in Europe and the US (Thorns FC brought in Hina Sugita from INAC Kobe Leonessa last year, and she's been terrific). At the recent cringe-y named She Believes Cup, Japan finished 2nd behind the US, but were really the best team in the tournament (but dropped matches to the US and Brazil because of bad finishing - which green players do sometimes - despite outplaying them); they stomped on Olympic Gold medalists Canada 3-0. Despite the neglect, it's a team on the rise and they deserve better.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Feel she has a point to a degree regarding JFA, however in all seriousness the she believes cup games are effectivley glorified friendlies.

Interest in this is likely low for that reason plus 6am kick off times in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If Japan doesn't invest in the present, they will bear no returns in the future

Investing means losing money for now, with the aim of earning more in returns sometime in the future

If Japan doesn't support their women's team now --even if it means losing money right now-- then Japan can't expect to have a winning team in the future

So get a broadcaster, even if it means they have to pay money. They have to build interest in the women's game. It has to be sustained interest that builds over time, not stop-and-start, stop-and-start. They have to be their own catalyst to do it - somebody isn't going to come from the heavens and do it for them.

If they cannot stand to lose money for investing in the women's game, then they deserve the blame when nothing grows

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Big name? Lol ...

How to say you don't follow womens football without saying you don't follow women's football. No team in Europe has been more successful over the years than Lyon, who have won the UEFA Women's Champions League 8 times.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

PepperLunchToday  08:07 am JST

Feel she has a point to a degree regarding JFA, however in all seriousness the she believes cup games are effectivley glorified friendlies.

Interest in this is likely low for that reason plus 6am kick off times in Japan.

Sounds plausible.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Jorge, the answer is in the year ewhen it was founded, 1921. And by the way, in Japanese it is called shukyu (蹴球)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

 Portland Thorns FC of the NWSL, the US women's 1st division, had absolutely unheard-of attendance for a women's pro side (21k+ per match,

I would guess that is more than the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA. Impressive if true.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's outrageous that women's football isn't broadcast on japanese tv. It's all baseball, baseball, baseball. Give us a break and show some real sport, let the women encourage the younger generation that they will not be left behind. Every sports channel has far too much of one sport and I hate baseball. It's a man's country Japan, women are still considered to be in the kitchen and look after their kids. The japanese sports association (fat cats) show some respect. We pay for NHK broadcasting, spend some of our money on showing us international as well as local womens soccer. WAKE UP

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its not just the soccer chiefs, its the fans, media and everybody else.

They try to force women's sport on sports fans but it just isn't working. Its not disrespectful to women but sports fans want to watch the best. That's why the premier league gets high attendance and the lower leagues get two men and a dog.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

"big name" European sides like Olympic Leon.

Big name? Lol ...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Nothing like ignoring the fairer sex-Recognition for women happens outside Japan, not within..

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The issue with women’s football is that it’s not very good.The level of the top teams or nations teams is below that of many high school boys teams, far below in fact. Whatever improvements are made it’s never going to be comparable to the men’s game. Doesn’t mean it can’t be good. Women’s tennis is preferred by many to men’s as it is less brute force and points usually last longer.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

"accused Japan's soccer association "

There's NO such THING!

JFA = Japan FOOTBALL Association.

Simples.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

The Asahi Shimbun daily reported that the Japan Football Association had been unable to find a broadcaster for the matches against the United States, Brazil and Canada.

because contrary to what a few fanciful posters say above, the ratings would be abysmal. very few Japanese including women, are interested in watching it. When the average weekday audience for a travelogue show watching people eat dwarfs the audience for a women's soccer game, its an easy and simple decision for broadcasters to make.

Nagasato, part of the Japan team that won the Women's World Cup in 2011, said the JFA's efforts were "not good enough" and accused the association of failing to promote women's soccer.

Silliness. Look in the empty seats in the stands of any women's soccer game. Feminists are not walking the walk.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

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