Watch out, lady soccer fans. Your love of the beautiful game is turning off the dudes.
As Major League Soccer gets off to a new season — with a rapidly growing fan base and new franchises across North America — one spokesman for the league is worried that too many girls are too into the game. On Monday, Simon Borg, a writer for the league's official site, MLSSoccer.com, said so on the league's official podcast:
It's fine if you're a female and you want to be a super-fan. Clearly go for it, that's your choice. But there is something to be said for how appealing that might be to the other sex. Having a woman that's such a fan, like painting your face, tuning in to every podcast. I don't know how many males would be into that.
It's great that in Kansas City there are a lot of women in the stands, it's great, but for the guy who wants maybe a serious relationship... If you are following just casually, but if you're such a die-hard, I don't know, it comes a point that it is a bit of a turn-off.
As a man married to a wife who's a former soccer player turned LA Galaxy fanatic, I call bullshit. Borg gets both men and women wrong. He pathologizes female fandom, and completely underestimates just how much many straight male soccer aficionados love having a girlfriend or wife whose passion for the game matches their own.
Borg's comments come near the end of the show (just after the 59:00 mark if you listen to the April 30 podcast), as his co-hosts respond to a series of tweets from female fans. When called out on his remarks on Twitter by Women United FC, a community for female MLS fans, Borg responded that he'd be happy to host a discussion if "there was much left to say" after a brief twitter exchange.
As Women United point out, Borg is not just a journalist. He's employed by MLS and when he speaks, he speaks on behalf of the league. Sounds like Borg and his employers need to hear a vuvuzuela blast of indignation from female soccer fans and the men — and women — who love them.