Soccer

6 Highlights from the US Women’s Soccer Team’s World Cup Victory Week

USA's Megan Rapinoe celebrates with the FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup ran from June 7 to July 7. Over this month-long span, the United States Women’s National Team had a sensational run, dominating opponents on the pitch and becoming champions of gender equality off of it.

The week that followed the Women’s World Cup was an incredibly eventful one for Team USA. Starting with the win in the finals on Sunday and culminating with a ticker-tape parade and some recognition at the ESPYs on Wednesday, the USWNT had a wild four-day stretch that included plenty of partying, celebrating, and advocating.

1. Winning the World Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands

The semifinal against England was a nail-biter that included a penalty kick save by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher in the 84th minute to preserve the team’s 2-1 lead.

That turned out to be the U.S. Women’s biggest test of the tournament. In the final against the Netherlands, the USWNT thoroughly dominated the game, out-shooting their opponents 17 to five with 10 shots on target to one. Megan Rapinoe broke through with the game’s first goal on a penalty shot in the 61st minute, and Rose Lavelle sealed it with another goal just eight minutes later.

With its 2-0 win, the United States had earned its second straight World Cup victory and its fourth of all time.

2. Sparking “equal pay” chants after the final

This team has been fighting for equal pay for women since before the World Cup even began, filing a pay discrimination lawsuit in March before eventually agreeing to settle with mediation after the completion of the World Cup. While some teams and players shy away from politics and advocacy, this U.S. Women’s team has fully embraced their role as advocates for both women’s soccer and women being pain unfairly around the world.

During the World Cup postgame ceremony, classic “U-S-A!” chants were joined by a brand new chant with the same tone; those demanding “E-qual-Pay!” The team’s success in the tournament had brought their message to new heights.

3. Individual FIFA Women’s World Cup awards

Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Rose Lavelle pose with their trophies
Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Rose Lavelle pose with their trophies | Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

In addition to the World Cup, the USWNT came home with plenty of individual hardware.

Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan both finished in a tie as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals and three assists apiece. Rapinoe edged out Morgan for the Golden Boot, awarded to the tournament’s top goalscorer, on the tiebreaker of having played fewer minutes in the World Cup than Morgan did. Her timely goals throughout the knockout stage also helped earn Megan Rapinoe the golden ball, which is awarded to the tournament’s most valuable player.

Alex Morgan didn’t go home empty handed, however. For finishing in second place in scoring behind her teammate, Morgan received the Silver Boot.

At just 24 years old, Rose Lavelle was the breakout star on this year’s United States team. Her strong play throughout the tournament earned her the Bronze Ball as the World Cup’s third most valuable player.

4. Good Morning America appearance

After traveling back from France, the victorious United States women’s team was in New York City on Tuesday morning for an appearance on Good Morning America.

This was a really fun interview that gave the team’s players a platform for their personalities to shine through. The hosts and children in the audience spread the questions around to multiple players on the team, and the overall message was to work hard and to follow your dreams.

5. Ticker-tape victory parade

The following morning on Wednesday, the team was given a ticker-tape victory parade up the Canyon of Heroes through the streets of New York City. The team and fans along the road celebrated with chants, cheers, and confetti throughout the event. When the parade came to its final destination at City Hall, local politicians and players on the team had the chance to speak to the crowd about the team’s impressive accomplishments.

6. Awards at the ESPYs

Alex Morgan accepts the Best Female Athlete award
Alex Morgan accepts the Best Female Athlete award | Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Later Wednesday night, the whirlwind of media attention for the United States Women’s National Team continued at the ESPYs, ESPN’s annual awards show held in Los Angeles.

The team had a chance to add even more hardware to its growing collection. Alex Morgan took home the ESPY award for best female athlete of the year, and the USWNT earned the award for best team of the year.

And this all happened in just a four-day span. For this year’s World Cup Champions, the celebration and the fight for equality are far from over.