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Chloe Kelly shoots for equality

British star makes history at ’23 Women’s World Cup
joshjdss on Flickr
Playing for for Arsenal Ladies of the Women’s Super League in 2015, Chloe Kelly defends against Kara-May Howes of London Bees. At the Women’s World Cup, Kelly gained notoriety for striking a penalty kick so hard, that the shot speed exceed any goal speed in the men’s English Premiere League the previous season. Photo accessed on the joshjdss Flickr account. Reposted here with permission under a creative commons license.

This summer, women’s soccer players worldwide took part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, held in New Zealand and Australia. Spain took home the gold, while the runner-up, England, enjoyed a record-breaking performance, making headlines and history. In the round of 16, England played Nigeria, in a close game that ended in penalty kicks.

As women’s sports progresses in the world, the question is, how will they capture our attention, long enough to keep it?

For anyone who doesn’t know, penalty kicks take place when the score is still tied after regular and two overtime periods. To settle the tie, both teams put forward their five best shooters, to face off against their best goalkeepers, in a one-v-one shot on the goal. The ball is set at a motionless position for the attacking player to take a shot on the goalkeeper. Whoever makes the most penalty kicks, wins. England won, making every penalty kick, while Nigeria was only able to make two. Though each goal was good enough to keep England alive in the World Cup, one player stood above the rest: Chloe Kelly. Kelly was able to strike the ball at such a fast pace, she surpassed the reigning title for strongest shot in the English Premier League last season, held by West Ham’s Benrhama.

As women’s soccer is finally seen in the spotlight throughout the world, what does this incredible feat mean for the future of sport and entertainment? 

For some, the men’s and women’s World Cup were equally entertaining, but most still view the women as less skilled and less famous than their male counterparts. In the women’s game, there are fewer star names such as Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Cristiano Ronaldo.  While there may still be naysayers about the skill and stature of the women’s game, the progress that these inspiring women continue to make can’t go unnoticed. 

Comparing soccer to soccer, the 2022 men’s FIFA World Cup, brought in about $7.5 billion, while the 2023 Women’s World Cup only brought in $570 million.

Kelly, Sophia Smith, Linda Caisado and so many more have far exceeded expectations. Kelly’s penalty kick was nothing short of outstanding. Not only did it break records for reaching 69 mph, but it was faster than any Premier League soccer goal of last season and would be the second fastest-goal recorded in all of Premier League history, which is a men’s league soccer federation.

Kelly was able to make headline news, but the glory did not last for long. The men’s World Cup final was one of the most talked about matches in all of soccer history, and while all that was for good reason, society still must acknowledge the record-breaking and heart-shattering saga that was 2023 Women’s World Cup. 

Taking the time to appreciate some of the incredible women who represent our countries and unify our world is the least we can do for the courageous and strong leaders behind the movement to elevate women all across the world to full equality in sports, an aspiration that won’t come overnight but will come eventually one laser kick at a time.

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