Yesterday I had the privilege of being a part of women’s sports history. Like millions of others, I was glued to my TV as I watched the USA women’s team bring home the FIFA world cup after a 4-tournament/16-year hiatus. It’s their third championship overall, which has broken the record for most number of wins by a women’s soccer national team.
What I saw throughout this tournament were groups of strong and powerful women who carried the hearts of true champions. They shrugged off injury and blood, they patted each other in support when they made mistakes, and they stepped up with the utmost bravery when times were rough. They cried when the emotion became just too much to handle. And they promoted the pride that they had in each other. They knew that they played for something greater than soccer and it was beautiful to witness.
During this year’s FIFA WWC I was a decently avid fan, with ramped up tweets and Facebook posts. Since we choose not to have cable TV, my husband and I became regulars at Buffalo Wild Wings so that we could watch a couple of the group stage matches. It’s my first year to seriously watch the tournament and, honestly, I’m a little embarrassed that it took me so long to join the fever pitch. Therefore, I utilized social media to promote not only the USA team, but women’s sports in general. Women seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to sports. There are fewer or no teams represented across major sports, unequal media coverage, and smaller paychecks. There just simply hasn’t been rivaled interest. But…it looks like real change is in the air. Case in point – the number of fans watching this year’s event on FOX has doubled since the last tournament in 2011.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup is hosted every 4 years and has been since 1991. It is held the year after each FIFA Men’s World Cup. The United States women’s national team has the honor of holding 3 of the 7 championship titles (’91 – inaugural tournament, ’99, and now ’15). And in every single FIFA Women’s World Cup the United States has scored in the top 3 places, which is a record that no other country has been able to match. In this year’s World Cup, the United States surpassed Germany for the top scoring team in the FIFA Women’s World Cup history with a total of 112 goals. The United States has also had the pleasure of hosting 2 of the 7 world cup locations (’99 and ’03). There is a nice, concise write-up of the history of the FIFA Women’s World Cup here. The notable statistics from this year’s world cup are published on FIFA’s website here.
The official Top 10 FIFA Women’s World Rankings, as of March 27, 2015:
UPDATED: The official Top 10 FIFA Women’s World Rankings, as of July 10, 2015:
It is my hope that women’s sports continue their upward trend over the years. I don’t have children myself, but I often wonder if young girls look around at their options for professional sports and believe that their choices only include soccer, basketball, golf, or softball. I also hope that young girls continue to have strong role models in all avenues of life so that they can believe their parents when they are told that they can accomplish anything if they put their mind to it. And I hope that my parent friends who have girls will ponder the world that their little ones are born into and continue to break the molds that were created for women many generations ago.
It has warmed my heart to see the uptick in commercials supporting the US women’s soccer team this year. Below are my 2 favorite commercials:
Congratulations to the USA women’s national soccer team! You Ladies are top notch fighters and awesome role models for our younger generations. World champions!
You have done us proud every world cup and I look forward to supporting you in France in 2019!