(City Journal) -- The inspiring march of the U.S. Women’s National Team to the World Cup championship has elicited a fair amount of cultural commentary. Advocates of Title IX—the 1972 law requiring equal treatment of female athletes—claim that it set the U.S. apart from other countries by creating a competitive intercollegiate training ground for our best female players. To the global inequality crowd, first-world countries like the U.S. dominate women’s soccer because we pour enormous financial resources into player development. For others, it’s gender equality—the more your country has, the better—that generates victories on the field.
But as we look to understand why America’s women are so good at this game, it’s time to rehabilitate a phrase that has been overused, abused, and largely fallen out of productive use: soccer mom. As the players on the U.S. team themselves have told us, mom—and dad, and family in general—had an awful lot to do with their success.