The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team triumphed against the Netherlands in Lyon, France, on Sunday, making America the first country to win two Women’s World Cup titles in a row — and the first to earn four wins altogether. Both Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle scored in the second half, giving the team a 2-0 win.
Whether or not you’re a soccer fan or even an American, there’s a lot to celebrate here. Over the course of the month-long tournament, they scored 26 goals, breaking the record the team set in 1991 of 25. Rapinoe, the team’s co-captain, scored six of these goals, earning both the Golden Ball (the tournament’s top player) and the Golden Boot (the tournament’s top scorer). Rapinoe’s penalty on Sunday was the 50th international goal of her career, and at 34, she also became the oldest athlete to ever score a goal in the Women’s World Cup final. Suffice to say, these are a lot of wins for Rapinoe, who wasn’t even expected to be in the starting lineup this weekend following a hamstring injury.
Both the U.S. and Netherlands are breaking barriers in women’s sports, too: the teams have more openly lesbian and bisexual athletes, a combined total of 10, than any other country. The USWNT’s coach, Jill Ellis, is also out.
“[The team] put their heart and soul into this journey, and I can’t thank them enough,” Ellis said immediately after the game. Since Ellis took on her present role in 2015, her team has been undefeated.
In the months leading up to the tournament, the USWNT filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. “Despite the fact that these female and male players are called upon to perform the same job responsibilities on their teams and participate in international competitions for their single common employer, the USSF, the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts,” the team wrote in their statement. Unfortunately, despite the USWNT’s historic performance this year, The Guardian pointed out that the players on the U.S. Men’s National Team, which didn’t even qualify for the 2018 World Cup, still earn more than their female counterparts. This prompted a chant at Sunday’s game.
As for the prize money, the USWNT will take home $30 million compared to the $400 million prize for the 2018 Men’s World Cup. “I don’t think FIFA respects women as much as men,” Rapinoe said.
Here are some more reactions and highlights from today’s landmark win.
Rose Lavelle watched 2015 World Cup Final in pizza shop watching with handful of teammates from an amateur Seattle summer league team. She just struck goal that most probably clinched 2019 Trophy. What feelings she must experience. Dizzying rise born of dreams, skill and wonder🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/kVu5xhoWFI— roger bennett (@rogbennett) July 7, 2019