Are you ready to care about soccer again!?!? The World Cup started on Friday, but the USWNT plays TODAY. And as Americans, we are contractually obligated to give a damn when our team takes on the world. Didn’t you read all that fine print in the USA PATRIOT Act you signed?
I get it. You’re American. You’re willing to get turnt for a month of patriotic soccer, but you want an information download as thorough and quick as possible. That’s what I’m here for, delivering you a primer on this year’s American squad in a manner so digestible, the President could understand it. Let’s get it going!
Nope. That was the men’s team. This is the women’s team. It’s confusing if you forget that one is always great and the other is rarely any good. This is the always great one.
The World Cup kicked off on Friday, with host nation France dominating against South Korea with a 4-0 win. There are games every day for almost a month. The U.S. women start with three games in the Group Stage, playing teams within their randomly-drawn group. That means we play Thailand on Tuesday June 11th, Chile on Sunday June 16th, and Sweden on Thursday June 20th. If we finish in the top two in our group, which we should, we move on to the Knockout Stage (think March Madness but with 16 teams).
Not only can we win, but the USWNT is projected as co-favorite with the French team. But the U.S. team is both the reigning champs (from 2015) and the most winning nation ever (three World Cup titles).
Thanks for writing in, Dad. Yes, they still have offsides. And yes, the clock runs, even if play stops. The rules are the same.
There are 23 women on the USWNT, and 12 of them were on the 2015 championship roster. The offensive veteran stars of the team are Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, and Carli Lloyd. On the defensive side of the field, it’s Julie Ertz, Crystal Dunn, and Becky Sauerbrunn. In terms of new faces who can make an immediate impact, watch out for Mallory Pugh’s lightning quick goal-scoring ability, as well as NWSL MVP Lindsey Horan, holding the team together in the midfield.
I never said that. There are many teams that could beat us. In 2019 already, we’ve lost to France and tied England and Japan. As other countries’ pour money into the sport and women get more access to playing fields, their teams are rapidly catching up to ours. While we’ve always finished in the top three in World Cups, there are more teams who we can’t take lightly.
Our team has the most depth and the most cumulative talent by leaps and bounds, but a lot of our strengths overlap. We have so much skill in our midfielders and forwards, that world-class players will have to sit out or only play parts of games. For example, it’s likely that the 2015 World Cup top scorer, Carli Lloyd, won’t start for the U.S. in 2019 even though she has been a goal-scoring machine in warm-up matches.
And while we have too much talent up top, our defense could be vulnerable to counter-attacks and our goalkeeping is less assured than its been in over a decade. Ironically, this team will miss Hope Solo’s stability (ONLY on the field).
The good news is that rooting on this squad won’t feel like a chore, because the U.S. Women’s National Team is a group of badass ladies who are the best in the world. They are an international delegation that we can finally be proud to send to other countries. And as we continue to devalue women in Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, Ohio, Alabama, and OHGODITSEVERYWHERE, maybe this soccer team can be (gulp) a symbol of hope. Or at least a distraction from the non-fictionalization of The Handmaid’s Tale.