Skip to main content Menu Menu

Duke Forum for Scholars and Publics

Login   |   Signup

The Futures of Women's Soccer

April 10th, 2015
11:00 AM


The Futures of Women’s Soccer Symposium coverage: 

The Futures of Women’s Soccer one-day symposium was held at the Forum for Scholars & Publics on April 10, 2015. It brought together scholars, journalists, and former players to discuss the past and future of women’s soccer, exploring how history can help to understand the institutional barriers and models for development that have surrounded women’s participation in the game, and discuss what the best strategies are for cultivating full and equal participation. The symposium also explored the role of sexism in the media and how it influences the coverage of women’s soccer. Also discussed was the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Canada, and what can beexpected from this tournament both on and off the pitch.

The conference was co-organized by Laurent Dubois and Joshua Nadel of North Carolina Central University.

Opening Plenary

“Women and Soccer: Research Agendas and Policy Debates”

10 a.m. -- 11:30 a.m.

By Jean Williams, DeMontfort University


Panel 1: Institutional Impediments and Models of Development

12 - 2 p.m. (A light lunch will be available for all attendees)

How does an understanding of the history of women’s soccer help us understand its current configuration and challenges? What are the best strategies for developing women’s soccer: incorporation into powerful sporting institutions, or cultivating alternative institutions? If we could create the ideal institutional contexts for supporting women’s soccer today, what would they look like?


Brenda Elsey, Professor, Hofstra University

Carla Overbeck, Former Captain of U.S. National Team, and Assistant Coach of Duke University Women’s Soccer

Cindy Parlow Cone, Former player of U.S. National Team & Coach

Jen Schaefer, Emory University

Moderator: Jennifer Doyle, University of California, Riverside


Panel 2: The Role of Media

2:30-4:30 p.m.

How does sexism in the media operate with regards to the representation and coverage of women’s soccer? How has media coverage evolved in the past decades? What kind of role can today’s media – both mainstream outlets and alternative spheres, including social media – play in supporting women’s soccer?


Shireen Ahmed, Writer and Blogger

Jennifer Doyle, Professor, University of California, Riverside

Sarah Gehrke, Media Relations and Social Media, Washington Spirit

Monica Gonzalez, Former player of Mexican National Team & ESPN Analyst

Moderator: Jean Williams, De Montfort University


Header Image: 2015 Women's World Cup Official Poster

Shireen Ahmed

Shireen Ahmed is a writer, public speaker and sports activist focusing on Muslim women in Sports. She is an athlete, advocate, community organizer, and works with Youth of Colour on empowerment projects and is an avid sports coach and mentor. She is a regular contributor to Muslimah Media Watch, a Global Sports Correspondent for Safe World For Women and works on the Muslim Women in Sports website. Her work has been featured and discussed in Racialicious, Policy Mic, The Globe and Mail, Jezebel, VICE Sports, Islamic Monthly, Soccer Politics/ The Politics of Football, A Football Report, Huffington Post, Football Beyond Borders, International Museum of Women, Best Health Magazine, Aquila Style, Muslim Voices, Women Talk Sports, Footynions, espnW and Edge of Sports Radio. Shireen’s blog “Tales from a Hijabi Footballer”, where her passion for sport, politics and women’s issues collide, has been recognized by Sports Media for its candid discussions. She is currently working on her first book and drinks a lot of coffee. Shireen lives in Toronto, Canada with her family. Follow her on Twitter: @_shireenahmed_

Cindy Parlow Cone

Cindy Parlow Cone is the former head coach for Portland Thorns FC in the National Women's Soccer League, and a retired American professional soccer player and two-time Olympic Gold medalist. Parlow Cone played college soccer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a four-time All-American and member of three teams that won the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship. She won the Hermann Trophy as outstanding female collegiate soccer player twice, in 1997 and 1998, and the ACC Female Athlete of the Year in 1999. Parlow was a founding member of the Women's United Soccer Association, and played for the Atlanta Beat, helping her team reach the playoffs in each of the league's three seasons of operation (2001–2003). Parlow began training with the U.S. Women's National Team in March 1995, making her first appearance (and scoring her first goal) in a January 14, 1996 friendly against Russia. She started all six games for the United States during their 1999 World Cup victory, scoring two goals. She was also a member of the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic teams, as well as the 2003 Women's World Cup team.

Jennifer Doyle

University of California, Riverside

Jennifer Doyle is a Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. Her most recent book, Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art (Duke University Press, 2013) explores the idea of difficulty in art, ideologies of emotion, and how emotion circulates in and around art in flows that are directed by histories both personal and political. Her book Sex Objects: Art and the Dialectics of Desire (University of Minnesota Press, 2006) considers how and where sex “happens” in art – as well as how discourse on sexuality is deployed in criticism. Professor Doyle’s current project (The Athletic Turn) explores the recent and extensive turn toward sports in contemporary art and performance. From 2007-2013, Doyle wrote From A Left Wing, a blog about the cultural politics of soccer. In 2013 she started a new blog, The Sport Spectacle. Her writing on sports has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian,, as well as in Social Text, Cabinet, and World Literature Today.

Brenda Elsey

Hofstra University

Brenda Elsey is Associate Professor of History at Hofstra University. She studies Latin American political and pop culture history in the twentieth century. She is currently working on a monograph with Joshua Nadel, Futbolera: The History of Women and Sports in Latin America. Elsey’s publications include: Citizens and Sportsmen: Fútbol and Politics in Twentieth Century Chile (2011), “As the World is My Witness:’ Popular Culture and the Chilean Solidarity Movement, 1974-1987,” in Topographies of Transnationalism (2013) and “The Independent Republic of Football: The Politics of Neighborhood Clubs in Santiago, Chile, 1948-1960,” The Journal of Social History 42 (Spring 2009): 605-630. She has several articles forthcoming, including “Sport, Gender, and Politics in Latin America,” in Oxford University’s Sport in History (2014)She can be found on Twitter at: @politicultura.

Mónica González


Mónica González has been an ESPN soccer commentator since 2011 as a soccer commentator, when she covered the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011.  González serves as a sideline reporter for select events, including the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams on ESPN, studio and match analyst for the Longhorn Network, and is a contributor to espn W, ESPN’s digital platform for female athletes and fans. González was a founding member in 1998 of the Mexican Women’s National team and helped lead the team in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.  She captained the team from 2003 – 2007, including the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece – the nation’s first appearance in Olympic soccer competition.  González has also played in several Gold Cups and FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifiers for Mexico. A former All-America and Academic All-America player at Notre Dame University who helped lead the Fighting Irish to three NCAA final four appearances, González was the 11th overall pick in the 2002 WUSA draft by the Boston Breakers.  She played two seasons of professional soccer with the Breakers, earning 2003 WUSA All-Star honors. A native of Richardson, Texas, González is the founder of Gonzo Soccer, a not-for-profit soccer and leadership academy for girls in ages 8-16 from Chicago’s underserved inner-city communities.  She is also an active supporter of the Women’s Sports Foundation and remains dedicated to promoting women’s soccer in Mexico.

Carla Overbeck

Duke University

Carla Overbeck is a retired American soccer player and longtime member and captain of the United States women's national soccer team. She is currently an assistant coach of Duke University's women's soccer team, where she has been coaching since 1992, overseeing Duke's defensive unit principally. She was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006.

Jennifer L. Schaefer

Emory University

Jennifer L. Schaefer is a doctoral candidate in Latin American History at Emory University. Her dissertation, “Rebels, Martyrs, Heroes: Authoritarianism and Youth Culture in Argentina, 1966-1983,” analyzes how young people mobilized the symbolic power of these archetypes through public acts of commemoration. She earned a MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago with a thesis focusing on representations of young people during Argentina’s last military dictatorship (1976-1983). She holds a BA in History and Comparative Literature from Brown University.

Jean Williams

De Montfort University, Leicester

Jean Williams is the leading global scholar of women's football. She is the Faculty Head of Research Students for Art, Design and Humanities and Deputy Head of the Sports History Research Group at De Montfort University. She is the author of a wide range of articles on sport and society, as well as four books: A Game For Rough Girls (2003), A Beautiful Game: International Perspectives on Women's Football (2008), and of Globalising Women's Football: Europe, Migration and Professionalization (2013), and most recently A Contemporary History of Women's Sport, Part One: Sporting Women, 1850-1960 (2014).