Women in Soccer, Chicago Fire ‘Keeper Debate and “Puto”

National Women’s Day

Since today is International Women’s Day, I thought I’d use this edition of my semi-weekly Musing column to write about gender equality among soccer fans and players.  Did you know that FC Dallas has female capos?  I did not know this until I read this great piece in What a Howler written by Gaby Kirschner.  Gaby’s piece, linked below, identifies some of the following negative and positive points.


 $2,000,000, the 2015 World Cup prize money awarded to the victorious U.S. women’s team.

$9,000,000 the amount awarded U.S. men’s team’s  11th place finish.  Granted, the counter argument is that the men’s World Cup receives tens of millions more in sponsorship fees and ticket sales.

“the maximum salary for a senior roster player in the National Women’s Soccer League ($37,000) is just over half the minimum salary for a senior Major League Soccer player ($60,000 in 2015 increased to $62,500 in 2016).”

This article in The Telegraph discusses how “sexism” exists in football. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2016/03/08/sexism-occurs-daily-in-football-reports-reveals/?mc_cid=b08de9f70c&mc_eid=69322f43f8

We all know that Sepp Blatter is a cad. This article from The Guardian contains a few sexist quotes. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2016/03/08/sexism-occurs-daily-in-football-reports-reveals/?mc_cid=b08de9f70c&mc_eid=69322f43f8

screen_shot_2015-05-27_at_18.00.22 (1)

Thanks to Squawka.com for the above gem.

Finally, there’s litigation between United States Soccer and the Women’s Player Union.  More about the lawsuit here.  http://otfsoccer.com/2016/02/04/legal-analysis-regarding-us-soccer-vs-us-womens-national-soccer-team-players-association/.  In fairness, the men’s union has been caught up in litigation and beat USSF in arbitration.


The U.S. women’s team won the World Cup (for the third time) and the men’s team lost to Belgium after sneaking out of the so-called “Group of Death.”

Ami Rivera is the President of the Philadelphia Union’s supporters group “Sons of Ben.”  Maybe the group  should be changed to “Children Ben”?

“NYCFC’s Blue Ladies SC, a self-described ‘social group for NYCFC’s female supporters,’ have around 1,200 Twitter followers and host regular and well attended meet-ups and watch parties.”

FC Dallas has a female supporters group called “Dallas Beer Guardians”.  According to its president, she became a Dallas supporter on her own (“when some people find out I’m a supporter, they ask me if I had a boyfriend that I went to the games with. But I can tell them, ‘No, I became a season ticket holder and a supporter on my own.’”).

And as noted above, Dallas as has a “full-female capo stand”.

Gaby also reports that soccer culture is split down the middle. She writes that “Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing’s “Soccer in America 2015” summary report says that U.S. supporters’ culture is almost evenly divided: 51% male and 49% female. ”  Read more at http://www.howlermagazine.com/bleachers-full-of-women/ and follow Gaby at @GabyKirschner

Closer to home, several female Chicago Fire fans have created their own groups on social media.

@CF97Sirens is described as: “a group of like-minded women, who support the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.” https://twitter.com/Cf97Sirens

Chicago Women’s Soccer, or @chicagowoso, is described as: “A group dedicated to forming a community of female soccer players & women soccer supporters in the Chicagoland area. Sharing our love…”  https://twitter.com/ChicagoWoSo

Then there’s Chicago Fire WUFU, or @FireWUFC , which appears to be the oldest female based supporters group.  https://twitter.com/FireWUFC

Finally, a newly formed Twitter account, @cindercunts, is described as: “The only thing more potent than our radical feminism is our Cider Malort Bomb. Down with the Patriarchy, up with the Fires.”  https://twitter.com/CiderCuntscf97

Who knows that the future holds, but with Section 8’s board having a strong female presence, and with the emergence of female focused groups on Twitter (and presumably Facebook) maybe it’s only a matter of time before we have female capos?


As I predicted in my last piece #cf97 – Hope, Passion and the Fire’s Three-Way Battle for ‘Keeper, coach Pauno decided to start Matt Lampson in goal based upon Pauno’s assessment of Lampson’s preseason form.  Lampson did not have good debut, and it didn’t take too long for people to remind me of this on Twitter.  In fairness, the back line was a bit shaky.  Other fans continue to support Lampson.  One of my favorite contributors to the “Fuegodemivida” podcast, Elle “Harrier Jet”, voiced her eloquently based opinion in an NC-17 rant (wear headphones and/or close your office door).   Her partners in crime were also in agreement and you can find the podcast at www.fuegodemivida.com.

I like Sean Johnson and believe that he’s a good keeper.  The fact of the matter is that coach Pauno is the one who decides who plays under his new “system”, and in his wisdom he went with Lampson.  In retrospect, that may not have been the best choice for his official season debut against a team eager to prove itself, but Lampson “owned it” (or words to that effect) in his post-game interview.  Lampson had a tough go defending a strong attack against the wind, and his defenders didn’t do him any favors.  Whether he gets the nod again (it was a game day decision by coach Pauno) is an open question.  I’m comfortable with the Fire having the ability to swapping out starting ‘keepers depending on the tactical decision Pauno may face against our myriad of opponents.   I think this point is missed on many because Sean should get called up to the USMNT, and if he is injured, we need very capable back-up and not just someone who is nearing the end of his player years (no offense Jon Busch).  And as noted on the “Fuegodemivida” podcast, nobody really freaked out when Busch started in goal last season and the team didn’t exactly go on a winning streak or keep clean sheets.  If Sean takes over, the faithful will rejoice in until the next loss.

I’ll let OTF writer George Gorecki  provide you with his detailed post-match analysis.  His latest game recap is at Fire on Wrong Side of Toyota Park Goal Fest.  But before I leave my mile high analysis of Sunday’s game, here’s one thing that I have not seen anyone discuss on any social media – that the “veteran” players who started Sunday’s match are players acquired under Frank Yallop’s tenure:  Cocis, Gilberto, Accam, Iggy and Polster.  Think about that for a second before you pile onto Yallop.  If I’m wrong about this, let me know below in the comments section.

Yallop’s players did well.  Despite some over-exuberance by Polster which led him to get out of position (which led to a goal), he showed grit, determination and a bit of “Dark Arts”.  Despite some questionable shots directly at the NYCFC keeper and his failure to make some obvious passes to open teammates, Accam demonstrated that he could be a force to recon with this season.  As for Gilberto, he showed some moments of brilliance and if he stays injury free, he may turn out to be a very capable striker (we just may need to clone him).  IMHO, he was fouled for a DOGSO, and I question whether the ref “let the players play” after learning that our general manager has initialed a team wide gag order regarding post-game comments on referring and questioning calls during games (I’m joking!).  But maybe our GM’s directive was is a result of Mike Magee’s tiresome antics last year?  Yeah, I know, Magee was his “Magic” old self Sunday night, earning himself MLS player of the Week and a nice mention in the LA Times

As for Iggy, he hustled and showed versatility on the pitch. And Razvan showed maturity and poise with a decent (but not fancy goal).  His goal celebration looked genuine and it was refreshing to see that after the tiresome displays we see every week during EPL highlights.  Here he is from a few years ago from Romanian football article (don’t mind the yellow uniform).


Maybe Scott Fenwick can translate the article from which I poached this fine photo.  http://ofsaid.ro/2011/11/razvan-cocis-a-marcat-golul-victoriei-pentru-fc-rostov/

To “Puto” or “Not to Puto”

Today I’ll offer you a little insight into the current debate among Fire fans regarding the use of the chant “puto” during last weekend’s game.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the chant was loud and clear at the stadium and on TV when the NYCFC goal keeper made his goal kicks.  Some fans says it’s a “cultural issue” associated with Mexican based soccer and that the use of the word is not intended to be offensive. Here’s my friend Eric trying to fit in with several Mexican fans at Columbus in 2013.


Of course, others have taken up a contrary view , saying that action must be taken against the word, including but not limited to bans of fans who chant the word.  So-called “private” discussions are taking place on certain forums and fans who have asked to debate this on Twitter have been accused of being ignorant, sympathizing with the use of the word, or worse.  People have responding by suggesting polite education to fellow fans, physical ejections, monetary sanctions, and another resorted to calling a fellow Caucasian male “snowflake.”  Yes, look that up on UrbanDictionary.com.

Against this backdrop, a scuffle took place before last weekend’s game between NYCFC fans and Fire fans.  A hat was stolen and an explanation was provided by one NYCFC supporter:


What’s your view on all of this?  Please comment below.

Update at 4:35 p.m., the “puto” chant was mentioned by What a Howler’s recent piece regarding Chick-fil-a’s sponsorship of the LA Galaxy.  http://www.howlermagazine.com/robbie-rogers-la-galaxy-chick-fil-a-homophobia

I’ll end by posting links to two articles that I tweeted earlier this year before the season started and one from last year.  The articles cover all of the bases, including the alleged meaning behind the term, the professed lack of a homophobic connotation behind the term and contrary arguments to each of these positions.  I’m sure there are a lot more articles, so feel free to add them to the comments section.

Elliot Turner wrote, “Why FIFA should hit Mexico with harsher penalties for ‘puto’ chants”, found here, http://fusion.net/story/262110/fifa-mexico-fans-homophobia-puto-fine and Duncan wrote, “Homophobic Soccer Chant Provokes Debate in Mexico”, found at https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/homophobic-soccer-chant-provokes-debate-in-mexico.  Lastly, in August of 2015, Sean Steffen wrote about the LA Galaxy’s efforts to raise awareness and eradicate the chant here, http://www.lagconfidential.com/2015/8/28/9219003/robbie-rogers-la-galaxy-educational-combat-puto.

Again, if you’d like to join the debate, please add your comments below.  Don’t be afraid to comment if you think everyone is being “overly sensitive.”  After all, this is OTF; nobody is going to judge you for speaking your mind. 

10 thoughts on “Women in Soccer, Chicago Fire ‘Keeper Debate and “Puto”

  1. I’ve hear privately from someone who suggested that none of the forums are “private” in the sense that anyone can join if they create a use name and an account. I agree with this person’s position, but wish to clarify that I used the phrase “[s]o-called ‘private’ discussions” as a short hand way of describing how others have viewed the debate. I hope this comment clarifies the on-going debate. By way of example, there is a publicly view-able debate on Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/chicagofire/comments/49ai9s/also_section_8_and_other_supporter_groups_enough/

  2. I’m very curious to see how this plays out in Chicago. I have NYRB season tickets and about four or five guys in my section (two different groups) were yelling p… at the Toronto keeper on goalkicks. I yelled over for them to stop, in English and in Spanish. The closest group mostly did, they did it once or twice after I first asked them to stop but then they stopped for the rest of the game. The other group I think couldn’t hear me and they kept yelling it throughout the game. I don’t sit in a supporter’s section and I was really torn about what to do. No one else in the section was saying anything against it (although no one else was joining in either) and I didn’t want to potentially create a bad situation by confronting a group of people by myself.

    • Thank you for your comment Alex. Keep us updated as to what happens at the next NYRB, including whether the NYRB front office takes any proactive measures.

  3. I am against the use of Puto. I would prefer to go back to the YSA. Why in the world would we use Puto when YSA has a clear understanding by everyone in the stands and on the field?

    As for goalkeeping, Sean appears to be a better shot stopper than Lampson, and that’s really what we needed in that game. And in terms of the issue of distribution, which many have complained over the years that is a weakness of Sean, Sunday showed poor placement choice by Lampson in my opinion. In a dogged determination to pass it out of the back, he really got close to getting it picked off by an opponent who would then have put it in the back of the net. Way too close for comfort.

  4. I appreciate the nod to women in soccer here, James. I do wish your positive highlights for women in soccer would have highlighted more of what’s going on in Chicago instead of Philly, NYC or Dallas (though I’m always happy to hear about women being involved in soccer/sport). However, Chicago’s soccer culture is thriving with awesome women. Last year we had four women on the ISA board, this year we have three. We also have a vice-chair, who is female too. And this is just the beginning…

    Thanks for the s/o to ChicagoWoSo, CF97Sirens, Cider Cunts, and Fire WUFC.

    • Thanks for letting me know. I presume that “people in the know” in Chicago are aware of what’s going on locally but you’re right, I could have emphasized a more local approach. However, FWIW, I think many around Chicago may not know about other female supporters groups and that knowing what other groups have done may foster more growth here. At the same time, I’m sure I could have written an entire piece on Portland or Seattle supporters. Hey, maybe you could be a writer for OTF? 🙂

  5. I appreciate the nod to women in soccer here, James. I do wish your positive highlights for women in soccer would have highlighted more of what’s going on in Chicago instead of Philly, NYC or Dallas (though I’m always happy to hear about women being involved in soccer/sport). However, Chicago’s soccer culture is thriving with awesome women. Last year we had four women on the ISA board, this year we have three. We also have a vice-chair, who is female too. And this is just the beginning…

    Thanks for the s/o to ChicagoWoSo, CF97Sirens, Cider Cunts, and Fire WUFC.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s