A small change might occupy a big shift in mindset on the part of US Soccer.
In sports, soccer non-exempt, men are often taken as the default. There’s the World Cup, and then there’s the Women’s World Cup; there are teams, and then there are ladies’ teams; and, until now, there’s been @USSoccer and then there’s been @USSoccer_WNT.
The question has long been why the women’s national team, by far the more successful of the two U.S. soccer national teams, has been relegated to a designated handle while the men’s team gets to occupy “US Soccer” as a whole.
But an announcement on December 11 finally remedied that: the handle for @USSoccer will now encompass all things U.S. Soccer – “MNT, WNT, YNT and more.” Men’s-specific content would be covered by the newly-created @ussoccer_mnt, just like the women have always had with @ussoccer_wnt.
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 11, 2017
Can their timing be questioned? Sure. They happen to finally champion their highly successful women’s team equally — at least on Twitter — right after a massive men’s failure; that can certainly read like face-saving or placating a distraught fanbase.
All it took for them to launch separate handles was the men missing out on the world cup.
— Maxi Rodriguez (@FutbolIntellect) December 11, 2017
But at the end of the day, regardless of the reasoning, it’s an important step in not always giving the main spotlight to the men — at least, if the account truly splits the attention equally. At the time of writing, 6 of the 14 team-specific tweets from the account so far were retweets of the women’s account and 8 were retweets of the men’s; so it’s so far, so good, but only time will really well.