We’re tired. We’re tired of skimming through soccer news and reading men’s bylines, seeing men’s faces, hearing men’s voices. We’re tired of women asking the questions of soccer experts, of women literally standing on the sidelines, of women being called upon only when a sexist scandal has broken, of trans persons and queer individuals being used only to comment on oppression. We’re tired of simply accepting the statistics that reveal women hold approximately 10% of sports media jobs.
We bet you’re tired too. You’re tired of seeing the same names circulating across the web. You’re tired of hearing the same voices when you turn on the TV. You’re tired of being forced to pretend only 10 clubs exist, of having to use Google Translate to read about global soccer, of having to accept the current standards of the soccer industry.
We’re tired of being tired. So we’ve set aside our exhaustion, funneling our energy into this very project. Unusual Efforts, a brand-new website with a magazine to follow, produces engaging, entertaining, and enlightening soccer stories for everyone. The twist? Everything you see here is produced by women, trans or cis, and non-binary people.
We realize that oftentimes, sexism in the soccer industry is not overt, but rather a byproduct of networks stemming from the days in which asking a woman to explain the offside rule was considered acceptable. Our hope is that Unusual Efforts will provide the tools to expand these networks, redefining the commonly held image of the “soccer expert”.
This is not a competition. We’re not looking to take over the world. We want YOU, yes, you, the head of a major sports outlet, the editor of an impressive daily, to come to this site to discover the talent that is on offer. We want to demonstrate that you do not need to choose the same voices to tell the same stories. We want to prove that the world of soccer media would be infinitely richer when diversity is increased.
In the future we plan to provide forums to facilitate networking and the exchange of ideas, an online store where contributors may sell their work, and a mentoring program to assist aspiring creatives. We also dream of expanding into other sports, as gender inequality is by no means limited to soccer media.
Our authorship may seem unique, but it is representative of marginalized soccer content producers, everywhere. Unusual Efforts’ contributors are diverse in terms of race, sexual orientation, class background, geography, area of expertise, and yes, even gender. However, they all have one thing in common: they all know how to tell a damn good story about the beautiful game.