Beyond Bend It Like Beckham


Beyond Bend It Like Beckham

The Global Phenomenon of Women's Soccer

Timothy F. Grainey
Foreword by Brittany Timko

304 pages
7 illustrations, 15 tables


May 2012


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

May 2012


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Though it burst into public consciousness only with the 1999 World Cup, women’s soccer has been around almost as long as its male counterpart, flourishing in England during and after World War I. From the rise of women’s soccer following Title IX legislation in the early seventies to the watershed 1999 World Cup performance that turned the American team into instant celebrities, soccer is now the most popular sport for girls and women, with participation growing exponentially worldwide. Beyond “Bend It Like Beckham” presents the first in-depth global analysis of the women’s game—both where it has come from and where it is headed. With commentary from key players, coaches, and administrators, Timothy F. Grainey follows the sport’s reach into the unlikeliest places today, even countries where women were banned from playing soccer just a few short years ago.

Though women in the United States and Canada still fight for equal treatment and funding, their situations differs markedly from the hostility, abuse, and even outright bans that some women still encounter in trying to pursue an activity they love. Through the prism of soccer, this book explores the struggle for women’s rights abroad, in countries as diverse as Sweden, Russia, South Africa, Pakistan, Australia, and Iran.

Author Bio

Timothy F. Grainey is a sports journalist who has written extensively on soccer for World Football Pages, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,,, and


Beyond ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ serves as a great history lesson for a sport where persistent struggle has led to remarkable growth. It is a wonderfully insightful look at the development of the sport in the United States and abroad. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any women’s soccer enthusiast.”—Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak, Olympic gold medalist, World Cup Champion, and co-head coach of women’s soccer at Virginia Commonwealth University

“The fascinating history of women’s soccer around the world is a story that transcends sports. . . . This important book tells the interesting story of the past, present, and future of the sport that woke up Americans to the success of Title IX during the wildly popular 1999 Women’s World Cup. But there’s much more to women’s soccer than those memorable few weeks, and Tim Grainey covers it all.”—Christine Brennan, ABC News commentator and author of Best Seat in the House

"I have long heralded Grainey as the king of knowledge on international women's soccer. While I have spent the past three years scrutinizing women's soccer in North America, Grainey has spent parts of the last three decades collecting information on the game and watching it grow up. All that culminated into a piece of literature that serves as both a compelling a read and a reference book."—Jeff Kassouf, Equalizer

"Beyond Bend It Like Beckham presents the first in-depth global analysis of the women's game—both where it has come from and where it is headed."—Total Football Magazine

"As a longtime journalist and organizer, Tim draws upon decades of experience in the sport. The story he tells is encouraging, showing how the profile of women’s soccer has grown."—Bruce Berglund, New Books in Sports

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 
Part One: Rapid Growth in the United States
1. Title IX, Soccer Moms, and Pioneering Players 
2. U.S. National Team, 1996<EN>1999: "Welcome to Our Party" 
3. Professional Women's Soccer and the <SC>wusa</SC>: "The Best Three Years of My Life" 
4. Women's Professional Soccer 
Part Two: Challenges in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America
5. The State of the Game in the Middle East 
6. Challenges and Successes in Africa 
7. Latin America: Fighting Machismo Attitudes 
8. Women Athletes: Objects versus Wholesome Role Models 
Part Three: Building Leagues and National Team Programs
9. Ancestral Roots: Leveraging the Diaspora to Build the Game Abroad 
10. National Leagues around the World 
11. Overcoming a Fifty-Year Ban in England 
12. Canada's Youthful Road to Success 
Conclusion: "The Future of Football Is Feminine" 
Afterword: 2011 Women's World Cup 
Appendix of Tables 
Selected Bibliography 

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