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Podcast Review: Hustle Rule

Hustle Rule: The Untold Story of Women’s Soccer is a podcast about women soccer players. The podcast is based on Gwendolyn Oxenham’s book Under the Lights and in the Dark. The host is Hannah Waddingham who plays Rebecca Welton in Ted Lasso. The episodes that I listened to are about female soccer players in Nigeria and North Carolina and jobs former players now have. Hustle Rule is an interesting podcast and an excellent companion to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Episode one is about Nigerian footballer Josephine Chukwunonye. Chukwunonye always had a passion for playing soccer but she was initially discouraged from playing the sport by her parents. When they saw how talented she was and the passion she had for playing soccer, they relented and supported her as she began playing professionally. Chukwunonye was eventually recruited to play on a Nigerian team and her career took off from there. She played in clubs in Nigeria, the United States, and Europe. She felt blessed to represent her country at the World Cup in 2011. As a result of her success as a soccer player, she was able to build her mom a home. This is an uplifting story about a woman’s determination and passion for playing a sport that she loves.

Episode two is about homophobic policies of a female soccer club. Upon graduating from college, women soccer players were thrilled to be recruited to the Charlotte Eagles, a semi-professional soccer team that was dominant in their league. However, players felt ostracized when they learned of its homophobic policies. Those who are gay were forced to suppress their sexuality and relationships between women were prohibited. When it was discovered that women were in relationships in the past, they were fired from the team. Some of these women eventually played for the Asheville City Blues that is owned by gay women. At the climax of this episode, a match between the Blues and Eagles is described. Much of what is in this episode is distressing but the hidden history of the Charlotte Eagles is important to know about.

The last episode of Hustle Rule is about jobs former players have because they could not play professional soccer. Former athletes are now bankers, rocket scientists, coaches, and music supervisors. Some women had full time jobs and played soccer at the same time because their salaries as players were so low. At the end of the episode, you learn about how men and women’s soccer is becoming more equitable. As much as it is great to learn the successful careers these women have, it is a shame they could pursue their passion as soccer players.

Hustle Rule: The Untold Story of Women’s Soccer is a well crafted podcast that contains incredible stories. Listeners will appreciate the research that Gwendolyn Oxenham did to write her book and create this podcast. Even if you do not follow soccer, you will appreciate the excellent content in it. This podcast will serve as motivation to those encountering obstacles while pursuing their dream.  

You can listen to Hustle Rule: The Untold Story of Women’s Soccer online or apps such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Michael Walsh

Adult Services-Will Library

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