Here are 20 important things you should know:
1. FIFA stands for “Fútbol: It’s Fútbol, Americans.”
2. Soccer began — some say — when a group of Medieval Brits gathered together around a pig’s bladder to receive endorsements from Nike.
3. All of the matches for the month-long championship are held in nine cities across France. ettie™ is the Women’s World Cup mascot. She is the 15-year-old daughter of Footix, the big blue rooster mascot for France in 1998. Seriously!
4. Except for boxing, it’s the only other sport that allows you to use your head.
5. The U.S. women’s national soccer team beat Thailand 13-0. They scored more goals than the men’s national soccer team has scored in every World Cup series since 2006 combined.
6. And they’re still not paid as much as their male counterparts! “As Sen. Chuck Schumer explained on the Senate floor, women players earn a base salary of $3,600 per game while men earn $5,000. Women who play on the world stage — like in the World Cup — get a $15,000 bonus; male soccer players earn a bonus of $55,000.” From Tara Golshan of Vox.com
7. Each team has 11 players. Follow this easy trick to remember the positions on the field. There’s a goalkeeper, then all the others.
8. A game lasts 90 minutes, made up of two 45 minute halves and a bunch of random extra minutes no one ever tells you about.
9. Like we have fantasy football leagues, other countries have fantasy soccer leagues.
(I don’t actually know if this is true; I’m just assuming it is.)
10. For years, most dopey Americans knew only a few famous female fútbollers; Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Mia Hamm.
11. Oh, and Brandi Chastain.
12. Current names to drop when you’re trying desperately not to sound like a nitwit at a graduation party; Becky Sauerbrunn — defender; Crystal Dunn — defender; Voltron — defender of the universe.
13. Oh, and Brandi Chastain.
14. “Some of Jamaica’s players held fundraising events… Were it not for funding from the Bob Marley Foundation, the Reggae Girlz may not have been in a position to qualify.” from Aimee Lewis of CNN.
15. There are 26 referees from six continents officiating the matches. All of whom are women. The Antarctic team didn’t send a delegation.
16. Soccer is basically lacrosse without sticks, or padding, or helmets.
17. Vladimir Putin R̶ E̶ D̶ A̶ C̶ T̶ E̶ D̶
18. Did I mention that the women are paid far less than the men?
19. Team USA star Carli Lloyd’s high school soccer coach was a Holocaust survivor. From 7 Jewish fun facts about the 2019 Women’s World Cup by Emily Burack.
20. Like presidential elections and new episodes of Rick and Morty, Women’s World Cup happens every four years.