Grande Finale, Part Deux.

Jessica Vann is a member of the championship women's soccer team at WVU.  She has explored this well-loved sport as it is practiced in Les Sables d'Olonne.  She has a detailed graph going from the pure starters, to the "chicks" (8-9 years old) to the "seniors" (above 18).  She notes that private clubs are the soccer centers of France and that public schools and universities do not offer organized competition.  Soccer clubs offer all levels of training and competition, from the local amateur level all the way to the professional level.  Since schools and colleges to not compete in athletics, there is no such thing as the NCAA, etc.  Players are free to compete and to be compensated in a very open market for athletes.  Most good players compete for fairly small purses, but some make a living in the elite clubs that draw vast crowds of enthusiastic and even fanatical supporters (you don't know what "fan" really means until you've seen a European soccer riot...).  Salaries at the professional level run from 15,000€ (one euro now equals about $1.15) all the way up to 450,000€ for the super star Zénadine Zidane.  I might note that all of France and all of Cameroun are in mourning today.  These two teams are finalists in the Confedrations Cup championship this Sunday, but yesterday one of Cameroun's favorite players dropped dead on the field in the semi-finals.  Two nations and the world of soccer are gravely shaken.  France played Turkey last night and won 3-2.  Each goal was marked with an index finger to the heavens in honor of their friend and fellow sportsman.
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This page last updated on 6/28/2003 2:32:03 AM.