2019 was one of the extremes for US soccer. While the men’s team toiled away trying to understand new head coach Gregg Berhalter’s system, the USWNT women were crowned champions of the world.
Becoming Back-To-Back World Champions
As the reigning champs, the USWNT had a target on their back going into the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Being the dominant force in women’s soccer, everyone wanted a piece of them. Not to mention, the US was coming off their record-breaking 2015 triumph over Japan, a.k.a the most-watched final in the history of US soccer.
Although a lot had changed in the four years between the two showpiece events, and the competition was noticeably stronger, the USWNT dominated their group again, kicking off the tournament with a brutal 13-0 beatdown of Thailand.
After defeating Spain, France, and England, they took care of business against the Netherlands in the final, retaining their World Cup title.
Throughout the tournament, the USWNT played with an unmatched swagger while breaking every conceivable record.
USWNT Dividing Opinions
With success comes envy. With confidence comes accusations of arrogance. And with being an outspoken woman comes misogyny.
Nobody cares about women’s sports, and the USWNT is unpatriotic were just two of the countless insults hurled at the team on the road to victory.
Megan Rapinoe made headlines after saying that she wouldn’t go to the White House if the team won the World Cup. Of course, President Trump didn’t appreciate those comments and publicly went after Rapinoe on Twitter to no one’s surprise.
USWNT Fighting For Equality
Rapinoe and Team USA took all the unfair criticism in stride and continued to use their fame for good.
When the players weren’t on the pitch, they were fighting for equal pay. Rightfully arguing that they should be paid the same as their perennially underperforming male counterparts. (In case you forgot, the men famously missed the 2018 World Cup.).
Yet, despite being back-to-back world champions and objectively being the more popular team, the USWNT’s fight for equal pay continues. Whether that fight will be successful remains to be seen, but nobody can argue that the four-time champions of the world dominated 2019 both on the pitch and in popular culture.
Now all eyes are focused on the 2023 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand.
Main Image: Vox