What do we mean by “prehistoric”? We mean before FIFA adopted – co-opted, some might say – women’s soccer a couple of decades ago, with its history seemingly dated to the 1990s. Though there has been some coverage of the pre-war era (especially the interesting focus put on Dick, Kerr Ladies), the period between the end of the Second World War and the fall of the Berlin Wall is patchily covered, at least to our knowledge (feel free to leave links to any good books, essays, papers etc in the comments).
Somewhat prompted by this, we have scoured through the archives of the Associated Press, and found some marvelous photos of women’s football from that era, especially the important West German teams of the 1980s along with the “European Ladies Soccer Championship” of 1957 (the first of its kind, and completed before its male counterpart’s inaugural competition) and the NCAA championship in 1985, featuring a player who should be very familiar to Chicago Red Stars fans. Please note, the captions are from the AP archive, as are the photos. If you have access to any other photos from that era, please drop us a line!The goalkeeper of a West German ladies soccer team goes down in all-out effort to prevent score but the ball rolls through for a goal, Nov. 3, 1957. Moving in are Mary Bee, left, and Margaret Hilton of British team which won match, 4-0, for the European Ladies Soccer Championship in West Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo)