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"Feminine Football"

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In Shanghai, the FIFA Women's World Cup continues to explode with high-octane fútbol femenino. So far, the most consistent TV coverage I've found is on Spanish-language GLVSN. ESPN promised to re-broadcast all 32 matches, but it looks like they're covering only the U.S. team. SETANTA has vanished out of my Dish package, but I imagine that this Ireland-based network must be covering some of the Women's Mundial, since they are besotted with soccer.

Hopefully ESPN will re-air the U.S.-Sweden match today, which was played yesterday. Thanks to two goals by striker Abby Wambach, the U.S. women hammered the Swedes 2-0. After the U.S. got off to a soft start, Wambach nailed her first in the 34th minute. A little later, according to the FIFA website's write-up: "After expertly bringing down a lofted ball from Kristine Lilly in the 58th minute, the predator supreme and top scorer for her country four years ago unleashed a searing left-footed half-volley that was quite simply unstoppable."

On other fronts, Korea - a relative newcomer - is emerging as a favorite, with their ferocious shooting power, whether short passing or from a distance. One favorite individual is Brazil's Marta, who is already draped with medals and awards at age 21, and virtually carries her team with her complete playing.

With talented and colorful women athletes teeming on the Mundial playing fields, I would hope to spot an out lesbian or bi woman here and there. But the homophobia that stifles men's soccer is stifling women's soccer as well. The atmosphere is summed up by former club and college player Rebecca Bayer of Missouri, who quietly posted her story on a blog two years ago. Rebecca said, "I waited until after I finished soccer to come out because I was terrified of being ‘the lesbian soccer player.'" -- Patricia Nell Warren