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Global Jun 25, 2012

Title IX importance not lost on field at ECNL National Finals

By Jimmy LaRoue

Title IX, the landmark legislation that paved the way for women to participate on a level playing field in college sports, reached its 40th anniversary Saturday.

Its importance was not lost from people like President Barack Obama to women’s soccer standout Julie Foudy.

Obama noted the lack of resources afforded to young women who had to play in worn down uniforms, second-rate facilities and received little to no funding. (Origins of Title IX)

“What changed? Well, 40 years ago, committed women from around the country, driven by everyone who said they couldn’t do something, worked with Congress to ban gender discrimination in our public schools,” Obama wrote in an op-ed piece for Newsweek magazine. “Title IX was the result of their efforts, and this week, we celebrated its 40th anniversary—40 years of ensuring equal education, in and out of the classroom, regardless of gender.”

Talking on ESPN, Foudy said hers was “the first generation to reap the benefits of it.”

She said she wouldn’t be sitting where she is today without it.

The NSCAA also noted Title IX’s impact, highlighting just a few women who have had an indelible impact on women’s soccer, including, among others, Janet Rayfield, April Heinrichs, Louise Waxler, Marcia McDermott, Lesle Gallimore, Nancy Feldman, Lynn Berling-Manuel and Laurie Whitsel.

“There are many women in the NSCAA who have contributed countless hours to the organization and to the game of soccer to ensure that the participation of females within sports continues to grow and their experience is of the highest quality,” the article states. “The NSCAA would like to extend our gratitude to all of them for everything they have done for the beautiful game and the young women across the country and the world.”

At the Elite Clubs National League National Finals, Dallas Sting coach Tatu noted its importance on young women’s soccer.

“I tell you what, I came to this country in the 80s, and we used to laugh about the condition of soccer, but this is brilliant,” Tatu said, pointing to the dozen fields at the Waukegan Sports Park where young women were taking part in the Elite Clubs National League National Finals event. “It’s top-notch. Some of the kids are doing things today which is amazing.

“And I think the quality of coaching, especially in the ECNL, is excellent. We don’t have the 4-0, 5-0 games anymore. Everything is well-organized and the kids, tactically, are very good. I’d like to improve the technical a little bit more. I think that’s what we’re missing, but overall, I think it’s fantastic.

“Girls need to take that opportunity. There’s no easier way to get to college than through women’s sports, and soccer … is the sport. For the girls who play soccer, you have a good chance to get there.”

Here are the 37 words, contained within a large education bill, that comprised Title IX.

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

As women across the country know, the impact has been immense – on and off the field. And it continues to be felt.

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