Three reasons why your daughter shouldn’t play football


The kids are back in school, and the habitual hunt for healthy, wholesome hobbies is on. Will it be cooking or curling this time? How about choir singing, maybe cloud watching for a change?

Not for our 12-year-old daughter. Owing to long-standing peer pressure she insists on trying her hand (i.e. feet) at football, which is fine with me – as long as the ball keeps rolling in our tiny backyard. Organised football is a different business, of course, but modern, malleable parents can hardly be expected to overturn the globally binding Declaration of the Rights of the Child with perfectly rational arguments. Yet there’s no harm in trying, as they say.

To begin with, consider injuries. Decades ago, a wise old sports-minded man here in Finland argued that if human beings were meant to play football, our knees would surely bend both ways. They still don’t, and some of us (parents, not kids) find it hard to bend them at all.

Next, think about role models with outrageous habits. Just the other day I chanced upon a real-life video clip in which an apparently famous footballeuse literally walked all over her opponent. The ugly World Cup incident occurred not far from Papua New Guinea, once famous for similar behaviour including cannibalism – and it just might have expanded the naughty player’s fan base.

Finally, and this should really be the closing argument, in my youth most decent girls knew better than to kick a ball around. And they didn’t admire boys merely on account of our dribbling ability.

Such a pity that scouting is not considered a sport. Last week’s scout camp on an isolated island proved to be one of the summer’s highlights for our family, including the hobby-seeking young lady. Apart from hiking and swimming and other outdoor activities, the gutsy scouts practiced non-conventional ball games and survival sports such as mud wrestling.

No complaints were registered, not a single kid yearned for rigid, rule-bound association football. Be a sport, become a scout!


  1. Funny piece, Erkii!

    Your list could be extended to at least 20 reasons why girls – and boys – should avoid soccer. Still, millions of people around the world are fascinated. Few are concered about the corruption, the commodification, the threat to climate etc. that also characterize soccer globally. This willfull ignorance puzzles and concerns me as a sociologist, father and grandfather. Any explanation of this fascination and ignorance, Erkii?

    All the best,
    Jan Ove Tangen

    • That’s right, at least three perfectly rational reasons apply to boys as well… As to the puzzling popularity of this particular ball game, French scholars may have solved the mystery back in 2006 (Le football, une peste émotionelle) – let me just reread their argument!


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