Every now and then the accomplishments of an individual athlete or team will transcend whatever it is that they have achieved in the world of sports. Prime examples include the late Muhammad Ali and the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team.
In our view, the incredible run by the U.S. Women’s Soccer team during the recent World Cup in France that culminated with Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in the championship game is one of those events that made us proud to be Americans far beyond their feat of winning a world title.
Not only did the team prove to be the best in the world on the pitch itself, game-after-game, with thrilling victories over Spain, France, and England in the knockout rounds, but off the field, they were incredible representatives for our nation and women the world over.
Beyond their amazing athleticism, the U.S. women displayed grit, class, and, smarts. Unlike some players on other teams who were a bit “chippy,” the American women were strong without resorting to rough behavior and never lost their cool.
Moreover, the U.S. team displayed an unbridled joy for the game that all too often is lacking in sports in these days, all the way from youth to the professional levels.
Jill Ellis, the U.S. coach, noted afterwards that her team members not only were outstanding soccer players, but they also were wonderful people who were superlative teammates and supportive of each other.
With the U.S. women suing U.S. Soccer for equal pay with the men’s team, as well as the comments from some members of the team about the politics existent in the country today, the 2019 team’s accomplishments on the field may be remembered a generation from now as less significant than the changes they are seeking to bring about in the perception of women athletes by society at large.
We are grateful for the excitement the USNWT brought to us during the past month. We know that their team will serve as an inspiration for future soccer players, both boys and girls, and we are hopeful that they will be able to bring about much-needed changes in the realm of gender equality in the sporting world.