Female Soccer Player Continues to Inspire Japan

April 29, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. glory (n.) 
[glawr-ee, glohr-ee] – honor received from a certain achievement
Example: The doctor brought glory to his family when he topped the exam.

2. tough (adj.) [tuhf] – difficult
Example: He was able to pass all the tough subjects this semester.

3. league (n.) [leeg] – a group of sports team or club that play against each other
Example: He joined the basketball league when he was 18.

4. hone (v.) [hohn] – to improve a skill
Example:  An artist can hone his talent by practicing every day.

5. passion (n.) [pash-uhn] – strong interest or enthusiasm for something
Example:  His passion shows in his great performance on stage.

Read the text below.

After helping her team win the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Homare Sawa, former captain of Nadeshiko Japan, continues to inspire her country with “fighting spirit.”

Sawa and her teammates brought glory to Japan last June in the midst of tough times for the country.

In an interview with CNN, Sawa talked about how their coach showed images of Japan’s disaster-hit areas before the start of matches. She said all the team members did not feel as though they would lose in the finals, because they felt Japan was empowering them.

Recently, Sawa was awarded FIFA’s female player of the year. A gifted soccer player, Sawa made her first international debut at the age of 15. However, there was not much support for professional leagues for women which can further hone her skills.

Not many soccer teams for girls are established in Japan. When Sawa was a child, she used to play in a boys’ team. She said playing with boys pushed her to be better.

Sawa is now looking forward to this year’s Olympic Games in London. She hopes the women’s team can bring home a medal, so that there will be more support for female players, and fairer treatment between the male and female teams.

Although very talented, she humbly shook her head when asked if she feels she is a national symbol. According to Sawa, she is just glad that her team’s win inspired many Japanese fans, especially young girls who have the passion for the sport.

She said it took a long time to achieve the goal of winning the World Cup, so the most important message she wants to send people is to not give up in reaching their goals.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that Nadeshiko’s victory helped in the fast recovery of Japan? Why or why not?
·         How do you think can Nadeshiko Japan continue to inspire the people?

Discussion B

·         Would you say female athletes can be as good as male athletes? Please explain your answer.
·         Why do you think some female athletes do not receive the recognition they deserve?


April 29, 2012