Dr. Dina Gentile on the field coaching her team
Youth Soccer Insights: Title IX’s Anniversary Reflection
Title IX’s 40th Anniversary is here and it is a time to reflect – Here are Dr. Dina Gentile’s insights on the importance.
Title IX turned 40 this month and it is impossible to escape the powerful stories recounted by so many athletes and coaches involved with girls and women in sport. Title IX has meant so much for so many females who just wanted the same opportunities as their male friends and brothers. All these pioneers of Title IX wanted was a chance to play. It is seems so simple a concept to want to have boys and girls experience all of the positive elements of sport. Why we needed federal legislation to do this still surprises many of the college age students I teach because all they have ever really known is that anyone can play sport.
The summer of 1999 put women’s soccer on the sports map for this country and beyond. I can still remember attending the Opening Match and watching the finals in solitude because I just wanted to be completed focused on each play.
We all know the outcome of that World Cup tournament for that team, but it is the ripple effects of that summer of soccer that has changed how we perceive girls and women in sport. Since that great championship game watched by a record number of spectators across the globe, soccer players became the change agent needed to get soccer on mainstream television and radio. Finally soccer was America’s game and the 1999 World Cup Team created opportunities for female and male soccer players across the country.
Thanks to Title IX we were able to watch the greats of this game: Michelle Akers, Kristine Lilly, and Mia Hamm. These players created a desire in all of those little girls on soccer fields with big dreams to wear those same jerseys representing the USA. Girls who play sport can dream big and because of Title IX those dreams can become reality. Certainly we have more work to do to make sure equal means equal in sport and in any educational or vocational opportunity for females.
Boys are never left out of the equation, in fact when males and females can support each other we have reached a great summit of success in sport. As a soccer player at Adelphi University, we played and trained on the same field as the men’s program. In fact, many times we wore the same gear and mine was sometimes mixed up with MLS’s great Chris Armas (we shared #9).
The respect and support the men’s team gave to the women’s squad allowed both teams to flourish and work hard knowing they had a true group of soccer players cheering them on each step of the way.
Throughout my entire soccer career, I have always had a male coach and I have always learned so much from them. But it was because of their guidance and knowledge they turned me and many like me on to coaching. Their legacy is that they contributed to Title IX by inspiring female athletes to turn into coaches.
You do not have to look far to notice the impact of Title IX.
As I explain to my students, what would you do if you were a parent of a son and a daughter and you had to tell one of them they could not play a sport because there was not a team for them?
Now, we can all experience the joys of sport for both our sons and daughters, that is the power of Title IX.
Boys now have heroes who are female and finally girls can hang a poster of a female soccer player on their walls! Happy Anniversary Title IX and thanks for being the greatest gift for all athletes.
Related Article: Learning Valuable Lessons in Soccer from Other Sports, Preparation for Youth Soccer Tryouts and Dr. Dina Gentile's Column
SoccerNation News is proud to welcome Dr. Dina Gentile as our newest contributing writer. Dr. Gentile is a Professor of Sport Management at Endicott College. A volunteer youth coach herself, Dr. Gentile understands from both practical and theorectical experience what happens on the soccer field.
Gentile has also coached the Endicott College Soccer Team for 11 years. Gentile is the owner/director of Precision Soccer, LLC, which operates camps, clinics, and coach education training throughout the year. She is a former All-American and Academic All-American at Adelphi University. Gentile has been inducted into the Adelphi University and Endicott College Halls of Fame. She is the Pre Kindergarten and Kindergarten Coordinator for Beverly Youth Soccer Association. This season she is the proud coach of her daughters 1st Grade team in the Wilmington Youth Soccer Association. Gentile is also a Soccer Ambassador for Korrio.