I’m terrible at soccer. I’m also terrible at football, in case we’re talking about soccer in a country other than the United States. But what I’m not terrible at is
ogling appreciating the athletic abilities of the very talented players in the Women’s World Cup. Sure, yesterday our beloved Team USA (sorry, rest of the world) fell to the mighty Swedes (but congrats, Sweden). Still that’s OK because the tournament gives us plenty to cheer about. And by plenty, I don’t just mean countless well-defined quadriceps.
The international tournament brings together the best female soccer players in the world for the sport’s biggest prize. And among those players are several out and proud stars as well. So, in case you want to root on your national team and the ladies who play for our team, here’s a look at the World Cup’s out lesbian and bisexual players.
Jessica Landström, Sweden, forward
The 26-year-old Swede joined the national team in 2007. In 2008 she came out in the pages of Swedish magazine QX, where she spoke about being out to family and friends and why she felt it was important to also come out publicly. This year for the Women’s World Cup Landström has also shaved the right side of her head. She wears the No. 9 – I will allow you to make your own “You’re a wanker, No. 9” jokes here.
Isabell Herlovsen, Norway, striker
The 23-year-old Norwegian player made her debut on the national team at just 16. Her father is former football player Kai Erik Herlovsen. Earlier this year she came out in an interview with Norwegian TV2. She said she came out to family and friends as a teenager and felt it was important to be open about it.
Trine Ronning, Norway, defender
The 29-year-old defender made her debut on the national team in 1999. In 2009 she became team vice-captain. In January 2009, she married teammate Kristin Blystad Bjerke shortly after same-sex marriage became legal in Norway.
Nadine Angerer, Germany, goalkeeper
Angerer made her international debut in 1997 and has since been Germany’s starting goalkeeper in the 2007 Women’s World Cup and 2008 Olympics. The 32-year-old told the German newspaper Die Zeit last year that she is bisexual, saying, “I am very open about this, because I am of the opinion there are nice guys and nice women.”
Linda Bresonik and Inka Grings, Germany
The national team colleagues were involved in a well-publicized love triangle that also involved their coach Holger Fachs. The teammates have since broken up but continue to compete together on the World Cup stage, Bresonik (above, right) is a defender and Grings (above, left) is a forward.
Ursula Holl, Germany, goalkeeper
Twenty-nine-year-old Hull plays reserve goalkeeper on the World Cup team to teammate Angerer. In June of last year she married her partner, Carina. She told the German newspaper Bild that her parents were very happy when they heard the couple would marry and their wedding was a joyous affair. She also said her being out has “not been an issue at all” with fellow players and opponents.
There are no officially out Team USA players, though the Swedish head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, Pia Sundhage came out in a TV interview in January of 2010. Sundhage took over as US head coach in 2007. The 51-year-old also played professionally and for the Swedish national team. A popular and successful player, her image also graced a Swedish postage stamp. When she came out on Swedish TV, Sundhage said, “There has been no problem for me to be openly gay as head coach in the U.S.”
And, since you’re watching anyway, here are a few other not out but still very notable players to look out for during the remainder of the Women’s World Cup in Germany. A few other favorites in the tournament.
Hope Solo, USA, goalkeeper
Abby Wambach, USA, forward
Megan Rapinoe, USA, midfielder
Marta, Brazil, forward
Kelly Smith, England, forward
Christine Sinclair, Canada, forward
Birgit Prinz, Germany, striker
Lotta Schelin, Sweden, striker
So, are you watching the Women’s World Cup this year? And who are you rooting for?