Dads, This Is Why Your Daughters Should Watch Women’s Sports

Soccer is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the world, with over 3.5 Billion fans across the world, and the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 has shown the increasing interest in the traditionally male-dominated sport among females of all ages. This World Cup has also shattered global viewing records, with Fox Sports recording a massive 79% increase in viewers over the first weekend’s play, compared with the 2015 tournament (despite the unfavorable time-zone difference.

Many dads have seen their daughters inspired to participate in viewing soccer, and even take up the sport, by the amazing stories of women footballers from a wide range of countries, many of whom have reached these sporting heights despite poverty, discrimination and lack of opportunity. A 2018 study by Nielsen showed that 84% of sports fans are interested in women’s sports, and see them as more progressive and inspiring, less money-driven, more family-oriented and cleaner than men’s sports.

So here we are taking a look at why as dads, you can use this amazing sporting event, and sport generally, as a teaching moment for both you and your daughters to encourage your daughters to participate in sports.


Watching Soccer Together Is A Teaching Experience 

Suffice to say that for any young girl, the most significant relationship is the one that she forms with her father, and the health of that relationship will frame her future relationships with men. A dad has a responsibility to help-build a daughters’ self-esteem, body image, and to help her form healthy habits.

A great starting point is to bond through watching competitive sports like soccer – there will always be highs and lows in any sports competition, and as a father you can use the time to discuss and explain the reactions that players have to winning and losing. Take time to explain that the most important aspect of any sport is how you compete, react to pressure and the disappointment of losing - and that you can only ever be a loser if you are a bad sport.

Certain players will be heroes, some will be villains – take the example of Hope Solo, the former USA women’s team goalkeeper, who shamelessly called the Swedish team “cowards” after her team lost to Sweden at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, and was dismissed as a consequence of those remarks, for not demonstrating a true Olympian spirit.


Watching Soccer Can Teach Girls How To Compete In Life 

The latest Women’s World Cup has shown that half the viewership of women’s soccer is in fact male, and so watching it together will help to give your daughter an insight into how males interact and express emotions, and why as a young female she should appreciate and learn to embrace competition, and not to be scared of it.

Seeing fit, healthy, self-assured young females compete fairly in a traditionally male team sport like soccer will provide your daughters with a great opportunity to find non-traditional female role-models whom that can identify with, both by the example they show on the pitch and their life backstories off it.

Competition has always been considered to be more of a male trait, whereas women have a more natural instinct and have traditionally been expected to cooperate and to work together. However, learning to compete in life is an important lesson for girls to learn in modern life, especially as women have such a large presence in the workplace, where learning to compete with men without going to pieces when the going gets tough is an essential life skill.


The Father Effect - Time Spent With Your Daughters Improves Their Long-Term Development  

Research has shown that father involvement decreases girls’ psychological problems in early adulthood.

The more you engage and spend quality time with you children, their long-term development and prospects improve less likely they are to become school drop-outs or even wind up in jail, compared to households where the father is absent. In addition, they are less likely to become sexually active at a younger age or indulge in other high-risk behavior, more so in the case of girls.

So think about this – if you can show your daughters that sporting competition can be healthy and constructive, if you guide them and are involved with their healthy interests as they get older, you will be able to help them to moderate their behaviors in the inevitable adult temptations such as alcohol, sexual activity, or even gambling at a casino. They will learn to live with more balance in their lives and be better able to cope with the stresses of adulthood.


Girls Who Participate In Sport Are Healthier And More Successful 

Apart from the obvious physical health benefits to young girls participating in sports, they also receive many psychological benefits too – in general they will have:

·         a positive body image

·         higher levels of confidence and self esteem

·         lower levels of depression

·         lower rates of unwanted pregnancy

·         higher grades in school

·         higher levels of graduation

By encouraging your daughter to participate in sport, you’ll also be helping your daughter’s long term career prospects, because with the leadership skills that they will learn, many employers consider athletes to be great job candidates because it demonstrates the ability to work as a team player and to have a strong work ethic.

So in conclusion, even if your daughter does not participate in sport, take the opportunity to use watching soccer as your daughter’s entry level to understand that there are no social barriers to women and girls participating in sports, and to encourage them to become active.

Hopefully, by reading this article you will now understand that by being there for your daughters in their sporting endeavors, you’ll be giving your girls the confidence and to be able tear down barriers later in life, and attain their targets and goals. So enjoy the matches, and your daughter’s journey to a healthier happier life!