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When women’s soccer started out in New Zealand in the early 1970s, it was very much regarded as “a bit of kick-and-giggle”, of novelty value more than anything else.

Sadly, it’s a preconception against which the sport is still battling at numerous levels in this country, even now, in the 21st century.

Unfortunately, at least for those whose mindset is very much of the “woman’s place is in the kitchen” and “football’s a man’s game” variety, the world has moved on somewhat markedly from the days when such thinking was commonplace.

So much so, in fact, that, as FIFA President Sepp Blatter claimed not that long ago, “The future of football is feminine”.

Australian women’s soccer international, Amy Taylor, who is arguably better known for her role as cover-girl of the Matildas’ (in)famous 2000 calendar, said of the fundraising venture, “We can be attractive girls and still play sport”.

This statement is backed up by New Zealand hockey star Mandy Smith, pictured right, who says, “As a sportswoman, you hope you’ll be recognised for your skills, not the way you look”.

This section of the site spotlights a number of female sports stars from New Zealand and around the world who are, first and foremost, highly-skilled technicians in their chosen code, and outstanding ambassadors and role models for same, too.

Their finely toned physiques epitomise their dedication to being among the very best in their chosen discipline - wrestling stunner Stacy Keibler (above) is a classic example.

At the same time, that same hard-earned combination of svelte curves, tight abs, good looks and all-round physical fitness serve as the prime means of attracting  the attentions of predominantly male sports fans, many of whom swiftly come to respect the fact that the girl who has caught their eye is actually quite good at the sport she's playing - that she happens to be eye-catchingly attractive is a bonus!

The skill-laden endeavours of these stars of the sporting world, allied to their natural beauty, charm, personality, femininity and sex appeal, help make women’s sport the tremendously attractive proposition it is today - no pun intended! And long may they continue performing to the best of their abilities - for everyone’s enjoyment, but most of all, their own.

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