Why The USWNT Deserves Three StarsThe USWNT are World Cup Champions, and deservedly so
by Katherine Rupp | Thursday, July 09, 2015
That’s the vital word that can be expressed about having a third star – the first for a women’s national team – adorned above the crest on the jersey of the US women’s national team.
A whirlwind of a Women’s World Cup ended with gold confetti swirling around the USWNT, and with U.S. Soccer and worldwide female footballing legend, Abby Wambach, as well as ‘99er and ‘15er Christie Rampone, lifting up the Women’s World Cup trophy, the US women finally got what they had been wanting for so long. Some have been searching for this elusive trophy for 16 years, others have been for 8 years – with the trophy slipping through their fingers after the 2011 World Cup when Japan beat the United States in penalty kicks.
This Final was one like no one could’ve expected it would go. With the starting eleven the same as the Semifinal against Germany, fans and pundits alike knew that the USWNT would be going for it. With the youngest on the team – Morgan Brian – as the pendulum holding the defensive midfield position, Lauren Holiday and Carli Lloyd were able to roam to and fro in the offensive midfield area. Whereas during the Group Stage games and the Round of 16 game was a little sketchy (in terms of how fans thought Jill Ellis was deploying the team on the pitch), Lloyd and Holiday came into their own in the last two games – and most definitely in this World Cup Final.
Just in the first half, Lloyd, the New Jersey native, scored off set pieces in the 3rd and 5th minute, Holiday had a beautiful full volley goal from about 10 yards out in the 14th, and what will be remembered most from this Final – and quite possibly from this whole World Cup – will be Lloyd’s third goal to seal up the quickest hat trick in history. In the 16th minute, with confidence brimming over the edge for the USWNT, Lloyd just went for it and took a half pitch thunderstrike. The try for the third goal was audacious in any game, but for a World Cup Final, one could say it was a little stronger than confidence and in the camp of belief. And there it went, Lloyd’s try for a hat trick – in the World Cup FINAL – and amazingly enough, the USWNT went up 4-0 in about the first quarter of an hour.
Regardless of how strong and swift the US women came out, the Japanese women were no pushovers. There were some elementary lapses in defense and, rightly so in those moments, Japan battled back to 4-2. And yet, the US were just too determined to continue the momentum as Tobin Heath, the midfielder with such smooth moves even in the littlest of one-on-ones, scored a close range goal.
Much can be said about coach Jill Ellis and the tactics she came out with during the group stages versus later throughout the tournament; a lot can be mentioned about how Morgan Brian wasn’t deployed properly until when Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday were suspended because of yellow card accumulation; and some things could be talked about how the USWNT come up big in tournaments such as the Olympics or the World Cup, but not until when it’s necessary. A lot can be talked about but when all is said and done, the US women are World Cup Champions and because of that fact, there is now the addition of a third star above the US Soccer crest.
And nobody can take that distinction away and everyone will want to end up talking about the feat of the USWNT winning three Women’s World Cups.