Being a women’s soccer reporter is great, most of the time. But there are reasons it’s not the greatest thing since bicycle kicks.
1. Pay? What Pay?
No one who goes into writing about women’s soccer is doing it for the money. Most sites don’t pay their reporters. Full disclosure, neither does this one (we do pay in cool stickers). Not because we are being cheap. Sites that aren’t attached to a larger company simply do not have resources or ad income to be able to pay staff. (And, as we’ve seen just recently with Fox Sports, the number of paying jobs for soccer writing are becoming all the rarer.)
There are some sites that do pay by the story. And some writers who already report on other sports do get paid to write women’s soccer. But most of those women’s soccer reporters you love to read the work of? They all have day jobs to pay the bills.
2. The Hours are The Worst
The NWSL has this fun little habit of putting big news out at the worst possible time. 60 seconds before kick off. Friday night. A week after the thing happens. To make it worse, most of the time it’s something that you at least need to know about, if not need to drop everything and write about.
Even if the news isn’t drop-everything-and-write-about-it-right-now worthy, it is frequently something that we women’s soccer writers do have thoughts about. Twitter is a very easy way to express that. And the hours we’ve all spent on Twitter expressing those thoughts are longer than the amount of time most of us see our families in a week.
3. Haters Gonna Hate
One of the facts of writing anything — not just sports — and putting it online is that someone will hate it. Someone is going to tell you that it’s stupid. That you’re wrong. That the facts used are just biased garbage.
Sometimes they are right. More likely, it’s hate for the sake of hate. You expressed your professional opinion about something and they disagree and “OMG YOU ARE WORSE THAN CANCER” because of it. It can be harsh and it can be annoying and there are times when good reporters have left the job because of it.
Be prepared to be hated sometimes. We all are.
4. Forgetting How to Fan
As a fan, you love your team. As an NWSL reporter, you pick apart your team in articles, opinion pieces, interviews, and everything else you write. You have to. It’s the job. And sometimes that leads to a disconnect from the very joy that brought you to the game in the first place.
Nearly every NWSL reporter I know still has a spark of fan in their hearts. They love the game and they have teams or at least players they enjoy. And doing this job does require putting a wall around that enjoyment. You have to be able to critique and read or write criticism about your favorite team and players. And sometimes, that’s hard. But you either have to accept the wall or you have to step away.
5. Big Fish Eat Small Fish
It happens now and again. You have the perfectly sourced story. You have the receipts. You break it. And the NWSL media world and fans go nuts. And then you see someone on ESPN “breaking” the story a few days later. You see all of the hard work you put into being the first, brushed away because you are not on the payroll of one of the large media companies.
It is maddening. It is frustrating. And one day we all hope it changes so someone who works for a site without ESPN bankrolling them can be asked on to the news to break the story they worked so hard on.
So. Why do we do it? Why should you do it?
Because there is one big reason that this job is the best in the world …
1. It’s a Labor of Love
Literally. We’re here because we love soccer. Because we love women’s soccer in particular. We’re here because we love watching the game, cheering for the players, rooting for the underdogs, coaching from our keyboards, dissecting every minute of the game from every angle. We’re here because we have been inspired, because we have made great friends, because in the end, it’s the love that keeps us coming back each and every day.
We do it because we love it. And that makes everything else worthwhile.
Read all of that and still think you might want to give women’s soccer writing a shot?
Apply to join the Backline Soccer family here.