Britt Eckerstrom has hung up her gloves.
The Thorns goalkeeping depth has never looked more valuable, but it’s worthwhile to take a moment to ponder the loss of this player.
Eckerstrom didn’t give a proximal cause for her “retirement” at the age of 27, but if I had to guess it probably has something to do with the seemingly-endless grind of playing professional soccer for what amounts to entry-level wages for the sales floor in the appliances department of Sears.
And the reality of the league and the teams we follow as fans – of the Thorns, of the NWSL, of the women’s game – is that worldwide the women’s game stands behind, and often far behind, the men’s game in revenue and stature. That’s neither fair nor right, but that’s the fact.
Here in the United States the situation is even more difficult. Soccer as a professional sport is competing for the entertainment dollar that, unlike European or South American sport, goes largely to other entities; professional football, basketball, and baseball. MLS is fourth in line at the ATM, and the NWSL stands behind the men.
Again…I don’t like that. It’s grossly unfair to these exceptional athletes. But it’s where we stand, and to change that requires changing the landscape of American sport. Can we do that? Can it happen?
But it won’t be easy and it won’t be quick.
Until then I can ruefully promise we’ll see more farewells like this one.
Thanks, and farewell, Brick.
We’ll always have Utah.