Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by Alex PT
Women’s and men’s soccer differ in physicality and pay. Men’s games tend to be more physical and faster-paced. However, women often face pay disparities, with top female players earning significantly less than their male counterparts.
The table below contains the major differences between men’s and women’s soccer:
|Perimeters||Men Soccer||Women Soccer|
|Financial Capacity||Bigger||Relatively smaller|
|Rules & Regulations||Similar to women’s soccer||Similar to men soccer|
|Goal Density||Fewer goals||Higher goal density|
|Training||Intense training session||Mild training session|
Major Differences Between Women & Men Soccer
Here we will take a closer look at the differences between the way men’s and women’s sports are played. When it comes to playing on the field, there are many differences between the two. For example, male players tend to be bigger in stature when compared to female players and they run around very fast with high intensity during games. Meanwhile, female players jump a bit higher than their male counterparts overall but they don’t cover as much area during each game or for that matter, during a season. Since not all rules apply when we talk about off-field ball-related stuff, let’s elaborate on some of those differences as well here. When it comes down to players’ salaries, for instance, females make less money than males but then again it’s understandable due to their lack of experience. Let’s take a closer look!
1. Financial Capacity
Some might say the greatest difference between men’s and women’s soccer games is: let’s just say there is a big difference between their paychecks. Even though women are making leaps and bounds in the sport, this mindset still stands strong. The argument of “let them earn what they get” comes up time and time again whenever anyone mentions the topic of paying women and men fairly for their respective levels of expertise. This usually leads to discussions about how players play in college as well as conversations on why there is such a large turnover rate amongst athletes leaving college later on down the road. Is respect keeping these highly skilled female athletes from being compensated fairly?
The biggest sports teams – whether it’s football or basketball – can have salaries that are as high as US$400 million for a 25-man first-team squad. On top of this, they may also provide various youth-level teams with facilities, coaching, and allowances. In terms of the highest-paid athletes, men’s football (soccer) players can earn a lot more than the other games – depending on their team. According to Insider.com, Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi is said to make up to US$141 million per year in salary and endorsements alone!
For the women, U.S. men’s national team hero Carli Lloyd was awarded just over half a million dollars in 2015. For the records, this means the highest-paid female player earns 272 times as much as the highest-paid male star. For most female players compared to their male counterparts, they earn substantially less than amateur players in any given top men’s leagues currently receive and that means they have to find a way of supplementing their salaries by working second jobs or obtaining loans during and even after playing careers.
The differences in the team and player salaries come down to one simple thing…audience. Men’s teams and male players tend to attract more attention than their female counterparts. The huge crowds, television audiences, and huge community of fans that follow FIFA, the English Premier League, or Spanish La Liga, etc., show that most people enjoy watching men’s soccer far, far more than women’s soccer (even though it is maturing every year!). Big names in soccer like Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Rashford are a big reason why certain clubs do so well even during periods of financial hardship. They help bring in piles of money from ticket sales along with money made from sponsorship deals from companies like Adidas who have endorsement contracts with these star athletes. Most big clubs and national associations have their own stars who rake in big bucks via tickets and merchandise for example.
$400 million was up for grabs in the FIFA Men’s World Cup 2018. So how were the winnings divided? France was awarded $38 million, with $8 million each going to England and Croatia, while Belgium and Uruguay earned $7 million each and Panama settled for a mere $2 million. The United States women earned USD$4M in comparison to their male counterparts’ winnings of US$88M.
2. Rules and Regulations
Gender plays a surprisingly small role in soccer. Men and women play on the same fields, use goals of the same size, and with the same circumference. Teams are restricted to having three substitute players at any given time, regardless of gender. Professional matches last 90 minutes for both men’s and women’s games, although if they end in a tie it may take extra time or penalties to decide a winner. There are some differences between male and female soccer players, but that doesn’t mean rules have to be any different – although umpires are often either male or female, depending on the match’s setting.
Soccer rules and regulation specify that both male and female teams share fields of play. Men often play in the same stadiums and train in the same facilities as women’s teams. One reason for this is that field size is not specified for either men’s or women’s games. The pitch must consist of an area with no less than 100 yards length from one goal line to another. Within this, there can be a grass pitch that is between 56m-64m (110-210ft.) wide, marked either way with fine lines of white paint.
3. General Gameplay
Football is perceived by many observers as the ultimate team sport, with a clear need and emphasis placed on the importance of uniting and working in conjunction with all 11 members of the team. The intensity of both men’s and women’s professional football has reached new heights in recent years, despite a visibly obvious difference in each – men’s football is more physically inflexible than women’s rugby for example, although both games seem to have endless potential for improvement, which could only be described as relentless.
While men’s soccer is more about charging aggressively toward your target, women’s soccer plays up the grace and class of being graceful under pressure. Try to think of this like a battering ram versus a lock pick. Interestingly, it has been noted that on average female soccer players tend to go for longer distances, but in less time than their male counterparts. Some tough girls have been known to get back onto their feet within seconds after getting caught in tackles. Contrast this with Neymar’s 5-minute “stoppies” every time he encounters even a moderate breeze from an opposing player.
4. Goals Density
As a result of the quality training methods, player scouting, and coaching that flourished after the culture of soccer was drawn out of its shell in early colonial times, soccer teams compete at a high level across the globe. This quality is proved every four years at the World Cup tournaments – where soccer minnows not long ago shocked some of the more established soccer nations by upsetting them and beating them with much more regularity than before. In many instances, it takes moments of magic from veteran players on larger teams for smaller underdog ones to produce narrow victories against bigger clubs with nothing to lose.
In the women’s game, players aren’t as physical with one another. They don’t take as many risks, so that allows for less-skilled goal-scorers to put points on the board. As opposed to men’s soccer, women are physically smaller than men, which means they’re less likely to defend as strongly. Smaller and weaker teams tend to lose more frequently (especially to stronger teams), and when they do manage to score it makes their wins seem more shady. In the 2019 World Cup thus far, France has already taken home an impressive 13 goals compared to only 4 by Germany and 1 by Norway.
Football is a game played by men and women alike, yet both genders have fundamentally different approaches when it comes to preparing for competition. Statistically speaking, men are stronger than women on average, which results in them having an advantage at the professional level of the sport. It makes sense then that men should place more of an emphasis on power training or so-called “intense” forms of working out during their football off-seasons while women instead prioritize refining technique and working on their passing and positioning skills among other things over the course of theirs. Women’s menstrual cycles can create hurdles as well during certain stages that could affect what types of activities they can or cannot do outside of their training period entirely, namely those where a higher risk of physical contact exists like a match against another team for example.
Key Differences Between the Women’s and Men’s World Cups
|Aspect||Women’s World Cup||Men’s World Cup|
|History and Inception||First held in 1991 (inaugural tournament)||First held in 1930|
|Number of Teams||24 teams as of the 2019 tournament||32 teams as of the 2022 tournament|
|Qualification Process||Varied regional qualification paths||Regional qualification with various formats|
|Tournament Frequency||Held every four years||Held every four years|
|Prize Money||Considerably less than the Men’s World Cup||Higher prize money for the Men’s World Cup|
|Viewership||Smaller global audience and lower TV ratings||Larger global audience with higher TV ratings|
|Player Salaries||Generally lower player salaries||Higher player salaries, including lucrative contracts|
|FIFA Investment||Historically received less investment from FIFA||FIFA has historically invested more in men’s soccer|
|Sponsorship and Revenue||Lower sponsorship deals and revenue generation||Higher sponsorship deals and revenue generation|
|Attendance||Smaller stadium attendance on average||Larger stadium attendance on average|
|Prize Money Disparities||Significantly lower prize money for winners and teams||Higher prize money for winners and participating teams|
|Promotion and Support||Advocacy for increased promotion and support||More established promotion and support structures|
|Scoring and Gameplay||Scoring rates may vary, with different styles of play||Typically higher scoring rates and more physical play|
We’ve reached the closing session of this informative piece. We hope you find it useful in your quest to know the major differences between women’s and men’s soccer. If you have any questions or comments about the topic, please don’t hesitate to contact us m thanks!