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Opinion: The World Cup might be over, but we aren't nearly done with USWNT's stars

  • July 08, 2019

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After winning back-to-back World Cups the victorious USWNT is ready to come home and celebrate.
USA TODAY

The World Cup has ended and the wildly popular and successful Americans are on their way home. Their remarkable story, however, is far from finished. Their next battles, and their next victories, will come not on a soccer field, but in the far more vital venue of American culture. U.S. women’s national team fans, I bring great news: we are not done with them, nor are they done with us.

A few predictions: they will win equal pay from the U.S. Soccer federation. They deserve to be paid more than the U.S. men, but they’ll settle for equality. After the month they just had, come on. If you were going to devise a strategy for this team to get to the bargaining table with maximum leverage, what happened over the last four weeks would be it, exactly.

They will not go to the White House. They will go to the U.S. Capitol, where they will be feted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and more than 100 female members of Congress and 25 women Senators (and presumably some of the men too). Can you imagine the red, white and blue photo ops for those politicians? Campaign ads will be born that day.

STAR IN THE MAKING: One USWNT player is ready to take that next step

MAKING A STATEMENT: US women personified America with World Cup title

Eventually, Megan Rapinoe will endorse someone in the Democratic presidential race. Giggle all you want, you French-, English- and Dutch-loving Donald Trump supporters you. Rapinoe is going to become as big a presence in our culture as she wants to be, and if she appears on a campaign stage with Alex Morgan and a few other teammates, that will not be an insignificant moment in the 2020 election.

One of the reasons the U.S. players will be so present in our lives is because they can’t go away. They have another tournament, right away. Hello, Tokyo. The soccer tournament at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games starts 54 weeks from today, and the CONCACAF qualifying process will begin in a matter of months.

Major international women’s soccer goes dark for three years, then the calendar comes alive with the World Cup and the world’s second biggest women’s soccer tournament, the Olympics. I’m guessing that little bit of scheduling good fortune might come up in the team’s mediation talks with U.S. Soccer. Were anyone to let slip words like “strike” or “work stoppage,” that just might take care of things right then and there.

Because these players have become such a part of our lives, it’s impossible to imagine a U.S. Olympic team without them. They have made themselves both renowned and indispensable, which greatly enhances their bargaining position.

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  • United States celebrates winning the World Cup.1 of 154
  • United States players celebrate with fans after winning the World Cup.2 of 154
  • Megan Rapinoe kisses girlfriend Sue Bird after defeating the Netherlands in the World Cup final.3 of 154
  • Fans celebrate United States a goal against the Netherlands.4 of 154
  • United States midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) celebrates with teammates Alex Morgan (13) and Megan Rapinoe (15) after scoring a goal against the Netherlands.5 of 154
  • United States midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) celebrates with teammates including Tobin Heath (17) , Alex Morgan (13) , Megan Rapinoe (15) and Abby Dahlkemper (7), after scoring a goal.6 of 154
  • United States forward Megan Rapinoe (15) celebrates after scoring a goal on a penalty kick.7 of 154
  • United States players Allie Long (20) , Alex Morgan (13) and Ali Krieger (11) celebrate after defeating the Netherlands.8 of 154
  • United States forward Megan Rapinoe (15) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal.9 of 154
  • Netherlands defender Stefanie van der Gragt (3) got called for a penalty for kicking United States forward Alex Morgan (13) during the second half.10 of 154
  • United States defender Becky Sauerbrunn (4) receives treatment after a collision while trying for a header.11 of 154
  • July 6: Swedish players celebrate with their bronze medal after beating England 2-1 in the third-place match. Sweden has now medaled in four of eight Women's World Cups.12 of 154
  • July 6: Swedish players celebrate their 2-1 victory over England in the third-place match in Nice, France.13 of 154
  • July 6: Swedish players form a dogpile on the pitch after beating England 2-1 in the third-place match in Nice, France.14 of 154
  • July 6: England's Ellen White mimics the USA's Alex Morgan by sipping tea after scoring the game-tying goal. After a VAR review, the goal was disallowed because of a handball, and Sweden would go on to win 2-1.15 of 154
  • July 6: Sweden's Kosovare Asllani, right, opens the scoring for Sweden in the 11th minute, drilling a shot into the bottom right corner of the net, during Sweden's 2-1 win over England in the third-place match.16 of 154
  • July 6: Sweden's Julia Zigiotti, left, and England's Fran Kirby challenge for the ball during the third-place match. Kirby scored for England in the first half.17 of 154
  • July 6: Sweden's Sofia Jakobsson, left, celebrates after scoring what would turn out to be the game-winning goal during Sweden's 2-1 victory over England in the third-place game.18 of 154
  • July 6: England's Jodie Taylor wins a header between two Swedish players during the third-place game in the Womens' World Cup. Sweden won 2-1.19 of 154
  • July 3: Jackie Groenen is lifted after her winning goal for the Netherlands against Sweden.20 of 154
  • July 3: Sweden goalie Hedvig Lindahl looks on after she was beaten by a shot by the Netherlands' Jackie Groenen.21 of 154
  • July 3: Netherlands forward Shanice van de Sanden celebrates the victory against Sweden.22 of 154
  • July 3: Sweden defender Hanna Glas reacts after the loss to the Netherlands.23 of 154
  • July 3: Netherlands midfielder Jackie Groenen, left, plays for the ball against Sweden midfielder Caroline Seger.24 of 154
  • Alex Morgan celebrates her 31st-minute goal against England in the semifinals with a drink of tea.25 of 154
  • U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (1) makes a save on a penalty kick against England to preserve the Americans' lead in the second half.26 of 154
  • Lindsey Horan celebrates after the U.S. defeated England to reach the World Cup final.27 of 154
  • U.S. forward Christen Press (23) puts in aheader past England goalkeeper Carly Telford (13) in the 10th minute.28 of 154
  • U.S. forward Christen Press (23) celebrates her 10th-minute goal against England.29 of 154
  • U.S. forward Alex Morgan (13) fights for possession against England midfielder Jill Scott (8) in the second half.30 of 154
  • Alex Morgan (13) and Lindsey Horan (9) celebrate after the U.S. defeated England in the semifinals.31 of 154
  • U.S. forward Carli Lloyd (10) plays a header against England defender Steph Houghton (5) during the second half.32 of 154
  • June 29: Sweden players celebrate their 2-1 victory over Germany in the quarterfinals. Sweden meets the Netherlands in the semifinals.33 of 154
  • June 29: Swedish forward Sofia Jakobsson (10) scores a goal against Germany during their quarterfinal match.34 of 154
  • June 29: Germany's Lina Magull scores the opening goal during the quarterfinal match against Sweden in Rennes, France.35 of 154
  • June 29: Stina Blackstenius, right, celebrates after scoring for Sweden during the quarterfinal match against Germany.36 of 154
  • June 29: Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, right, vies with German midfielder Alexandra Popp, center, during their quarterfinal game in  Rennes, France.37 of 154
  • June 29: Netherlands players celebrate after defeating Italy 2-0 in the quarterfinals.38 of 154
  • June 29: Netherlands fans during the quarterfinal match against Italy.39 of 154
  • June 29: Netherlands and Italy players vie for the ball in the quarterfinals.40 of 154
  • June 29: Netherlands midfielder Danille van de Donk (10) plays for the ball against Italy midfielder Valentina Bergamaschi.41 of 154
  • June 28: United States forward Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring a goal against France at Parc des Princes in Paris. The United States defeated France 2-1.42 of 154
  • June 28: France forward Kadidiatou Diani  and teammates react after losing to the United States.43 of 154
  • June 28: United States goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher makes a save against France.44 of 154
  • June 28: France forward Kadidiatou Diani, left, battles for the ball with United States defender Crystal Dunn .45 of 154
  • June 28: France fans wave flags against the United States at Parc des Princes.46 of 154
  • June 28: France forward Eugenie Le Sommer heads the ball away from United States defender Becky Sauerbrunn in the first half of their quarterfinal match.47 of 154
  • June 28: United States forward Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring a goal.48 of 154
  • June 28: United States fans cheer before a quarterfinal match against France.49 of 154
  • June 27: England forward Ellen White celebrates beating Norway 3-0 in the Women's World Cup quarterfinal at Stade Oceane.50 of 154
  • June 27:  Steph Houghton of England clears the ball off the line as Guro Reiten of Norway applies pressure during the Women's World Cup at Stade Oceane in Le Havre, France.51 of 154
  • June 27: England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley makes a save against the Norway during the quarterfinal match at Stade Oceane.52 of 154
  • June 27: England forward Nikita Parris (7) and Norway defender Maria Thorisdottir argue during the quarterfinal match at Stade Oceane.53 of 154
  • June 27: David Beckham stands with his daughter, Harper, and mother, Sandra Georgina West, prior to the quarterfinal between England and Norway at Stade Oceane in Le Havre, France.54 of 154
  • June 25:Netherlands forward Lieke Martens celebrates with teammates after scoring against Japan.55 of 154
  • June 25: Japan's forward Mana Iwabuchi  vies with Netherlands' defender Merel van Dongen.56 of 154
  • June 25: Japan's Yui Hasegawa  scores a goal against the Netherlands.57 of 154
  • June 25: Italy players celebrate defeating China.58 of 154
  • June 25: China's Wu Haiyan, left, shoots the ball next to Italy's Aurora Galli.59 of 154
  • June 25: Italy's Elisa Bartoli, right, jumps over China goalkeeper Peng Shimeng.60 of 154
  • June 24: The USA advanced to a quarterfinal match with France after beating Spain 2-1 in the Round of 16. Megan Rapinoe starred for the USWNT.61 of 154
  • Megan Rapinoe scores her second goal of the game against Spain. Both were on penalty kicks.62 of 154
  • June 24: Megan Rapinoe raises her arms after scoring a penalty kick goal against Spain during the second half.63 of 154
  • June 24: U.S. forward Carli Lloyd (10) battles for the ball with Spain midfielder Marta Corredera.64 of 154
  • June 24: U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe is fouled by Spain defender Irene Paredes during the second half.65 of 154
  • June 24: U.S. forward Alex Morgan (13) battles for the ball with Spain defender Irene Paredes (4) during the first half.66 of 154
  • June 24: U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe reacts after missing a goal opportunity.67 of 154
  • June 24: Spain goalkeeper Sandra Panos makes a save.68 of 154
  • June 24: Spain's Jennifer Hermoso celebrates with teammates after scoring her side's first goal.69 of 154
  • June 24: United States forward Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring a penalty kick goal during the first half against Spain.70 of 154
  • June 23: Midfielder Amandine Henry beats Brazil's defense to score a goal for France in extra time after the teams ended regulation tied 1-1 in their round of 16 match in Le Havre, France.71 of 154
  • June 23: French players surround teammate Amandine Henry (bottom) after she scored the game winning goal in extra time to give France a 2-1 win over Brazil.72 of 154
  • June 23: Brazil forward Ludmila (19) is chased by France defender Amel Majri (10) during their round of 16 match.73 of 154
  • June 23: Valerie Gauvin beats Brazil goalkeeper Barbara to score France's first goal in the round of 16 match in Le Havre, France.74 of 154
  • June 23: France forward Viviane Asseyi (18) is tripped by Brazil forward Debinha (9) during their round of 16 match.75 of 154
  • June 23: Steph Houghton, center, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during England's 3-0 win over Cameroon in the round of 16 match in Valenciennes, France.76 of 154
  • June 23: Forward Ellen White scores England's second goal past Cameroon goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom during England's 3-0 win in the round of 16.77 of 154
  • June 23: Cameroon players argue with referee Qin Liang following England's second goal during the round of 16 match in Valenciennes, France.78 of 154
  • June 23: Alex Greenwood celebrates with teammate Fran Kirby (10) after scoring England's third goal during their 3-0 win over Cameroon.79 of 154
  • June 23: England forward Francesca Kirby, center, vies with Cameroon defenders Estelle Johnson, left, and Ysis Sonkeng during their round of 16 match  in Valenciennes.80 of 154
  • June 22: Norway players celebrate after knocking out Australia 4-1 in a penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 tie in regulation and extra time during their round of 16 game in Nice.81 of 154
  • June 22: Caroline Graham Hansen  scores the first of four Norway goals in the penalty kick shootout against Australia in the round of 16.82 of 154
  • June 22: Australia goalkeeper Lydia Williams, right, makes a save against Norway before the game went to a penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 tie in regulation and extra time.83 of 154
  • June 22: Norway's Lisa-Marie Utland, in red, tries to reach the ball while battling with three Australian players during their round of 16 game in Nice.84 of 154
  • June 22: Australia's Chloe Logarzo makes a play on the ball ahead of Norway's Guro Reiten during their Round of 16 match in Nice.85 of 154
  • June 22: Midfielder Sara Dabritz (13) scores a goal on a penalty kick during Germany's 3-0 win over Nigeria in the first game of the knockout phase.86 of 154
  • June 22: Klara Buehl poses for a photo with fans after Germany's 3-0 win over Nigeria in the round of 16 at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France.87 of 154
  • June 22: Desire Oparanozie and her Nigerian teammates wave to the fans after their loss to Germany in the round of 16.88 of 154
  • June 22: Germany's Sara Daebritz and Leonie Maier of Germany celebrate following their 3-0 victory over Nigeria in Grenoble, France.89 of 154
  • June 22: Germany defender Giulia Gwinn (15) battles for the ball with Nigeria forward Francisca Ordega (17) during their round of 16 match at Stade des Alpes.90 of 154
  • USNWT midfielder Lindsey Horan  heads the ball against Sweden.91 of 154
  • USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher greets fans after shutting out Sweden 2-0.92 of 154
  • June 20: United States forward Tobin Heath, left, celebrates with defender Kelley O'Hara after scoring a goal against Sweden. It was later ruled an own goal by Sweden.93 of 154
  • June 20: USNWT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher makes a save as Sweden midfielder Lina Hurtig looks on.94 of 154
  • USNWT midfielder Lindsey Horan scores the opening goal in a 2-0 win against Sweden.95 of 154
  • June 20: Defender Anouk Dekker celebrates after scoring the Netherlands' first goal against Canada.96 of 154
  • June 20: Cameroon celebrates a goal  against New Zealand.97 of 154
  • June 19: Referee Ri Hyang Ok checks on Scotland midfielder Caroline Weir.98 of 154
  • June 19: England's Ellen White celebrates after beating Japan.99 of 154
  • June 18: Jamaica's Cheyna Matthews, foreground, fights for the ball with Australia's Steph Catley.100 of 154
  • June 18: Australia's Sam Kerr celebrates after scoring her side's fourth goal against Jamaica.101 of 154
  • June 18: Brazil defender Letcia Santos leaps over Italy midfielder Barbara Bonansea.102 of 154
  • June 18: Brazil forward Ludmila shoots against Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani.103 of 154
  • June 17: France's Wendie Renard scores on her second penalty kick after video replay ruled Nigeria's goalkeeper came off her line to make a save on the first attempt. France beat Nigeria 1-0 to win Group A.104 of 154
  • June 17: Moments after saving a penalty kick, Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, left, is shown a yellow card by referee Melissa Borjas when video replay technology ruled Nnadozie came off the goal line to make the save. France was awarded a second penalty kick, which it converted to win the Group A match 1-0.105 of 154
  • June 17: Norway defender Maren Mjelde, left, is congratulated by South Korea forward Ji So-yun after Norway won 2-1 to clinch second place in Group A.106 of 154
  • June 17: German players and coaches celebrate after beating South Africa 4-0 to clinch first place in Group B for Germany.107 of 154
  • June 17: Spain midfielder Virgina Torrecilla, left, kicks the ball in front of China's forward Li Yang, who crashes into another Spanish player, during their 0-0 draw in their final Group B match.108 of 154
  • June 16: U.S. defender Kelley OHara (5) celebrates with fans in the stands after the USA beat Chile 3-0 in their Group F match.109 of 154
  • June 16: Morgan Brian, left, congratulates teammate Carli Lloyd, right, after Lloyd scored her second goal in the USA's 3-0 win over Chile.110 of 154
  • June 16: Chile goalkeeper Christiane Endler (1) makes one of her many spectacular saves during the USA's 3-0 win in Group F.111 of 154
  • June 16: Julie Ertz (8) battles for the ball with Chile forward Maria Jose Urrutia (9) during their Group F match. Ertz scored the USA's second goal in their 3-0 win.112 of 154
  • June 16: Sweden's Elin Rubensson scores her team's fifth goal on a penalty kick during their 5-1 win over Thailand in Group F.113 of 154
  • June 15: Canada's Jessie Fleming celebrates with her teammates after scoring the opening goal their 2-0 victory over New Zealand in Group E.114 of 154
  • June 15: The Netherlands' Danielle Van De Donk and Cameroon's Raissa Feudjio duel for the ball during the Netherlands' 3-1 win in a Group E match.115 of 154
  • June 14: Cristiana Girelli (10) is congratulated by her Italian teammates after scoring at hat trick against Jamaica during Italy's 5-0 win in Group C.116 of 154
  • June 14: Japan's Mana Iwabuchi, right, scores past goalkeeper Lee Alexander during Japan's 2-1 win over Scotland in Group D.117 of 154
  • June 14: Jodie Taylor (9) celebrates Beth Mead (22) after scoring England's lone goal in the 62nd minute during their 1-0 win over Argentina in Group D.118 of 154
  • June 13: Marta Vieira Da Silva, left, after scoring for Brazil against Australia.119 of 154
  • June 13: Australia's forward Caitlin Foord scores a goal  against Brazil120 of 154
  • June 13: South Africa midfielder Kholosa Biyana misses her shot on goal.121 of 154
  • June 13: China forward Li Ying (10) celebrates with midfielder Gu Yasha (17) after scoring against South Africa.122 of 154
  • June 12: France's Eugenie Le Sommer, celebrates with Amel Majri after scoring her side's second goal on a penalty kick.123 of 154
  • Norway players argue with referee Bibiana Steihaus.124 of 154
  • June 12: Nigeria players celebrate a goal against South Korea.125 of 154
  • June 13: Nigeria's Asisat Oshoala takes the ball around South Korea goalkeeper Kim Min-jung on her way to score.126 of 154
  • June 12: Spain forward Nahikari Garcia (22) battles Germany defender Marina Hegering (5) for a ball.127 of 154
  • June 12: Germany players celebrate a goal against Spain.128 of 154
  • June 12: Spain's Virginia Torrecilla tackles Germany midfielder Sara Dabritz.129 of 154
  • Forward Alex Morgan (13) scores a goal past Thailand defender Natthakarn Chinwong (3) during the second half, one of her five goals in the USA's 13-0 win in their first Group F match on June 11.130 of 154
  • June 11: Sam Mewis (3) celebrates with Megan Rapinoe (15) during the USA's 13-0 win over Thailand in Group F.131 of 154
  • June 11: Midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) heads the ball against Thailand during the first half. Lavelle scored twice in the USA's 13-0 win.132 of 154
  • June 11: Thailand goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying (18) makes a save as U.S. forward Tobin Heath (17) looks on during the first half of their Group F match.133 of 154
  • June 11:  Samantha Mewis (3) gets pulled down by Thailand midfielder Kanjana Sungngoen (21) during the first half. Mewis scored two goals for the USA in their 13-0 win.134 of 154
  • June 11: U.S. forward Mallory Pugh (2) races gets past Thailand goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying (18) to score a goal in the 85th minute.135 of 154
  • June 11: Madelen Janogy (7) came off the bench for Sweden and booted this ball past Chile's goalkeeper in the Group F opening matach.136 of 154
  • June 11: Jill Roord celebrates scoring the winning goal in the Netherlands' 1-0 win over New Zealand in their Group E opening match.137 of 154
  • June 10: Forward Christine Sinclair (12), the greatest scorer in Canadian soccer history, slides to play a ball against Cameroon in Canada's 1-0 win in Group E.138 of 154
  • June 10: Cameroon goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom (1) reaches for the ball in front of Canada forward Deanne Rose (6) in their Group E opening match.139 of 154
  • June 10: Japan's Narumi Miura, left, vies for the ball with Argentina's Miriam Mayorga during their 0-0 draw in their Group D opening match.140 of 154
  • June 9: Brazil players celebrate a goal against Jamaica.141 of 154
  • June 9: Brazil forward Debinha and Jamaica defender Dominique Bond Flasza battle for thhe ball.142 of 154
  • June 9: Italy midfielder Barbara Bonansea (11) celebrates with teammates after defeating Australia.143 of 154
  • June 9: Italy defender Alia Guagni and Australia forward Lisa De Vanna battle for the ball.144 of 154
  • June 9: England's Nikita Parris, right, celebrates after scoring her team's first goal during a Group stage win over rival Scotland.145 of 154
  • June 9: Scotland defender Jennifer Beattie, right, and goalkeeper Lee Alexander (1) jump for the ball during their Group stage match against rival England.146 of 154
  • June 8: South Africa goalkeeper Andile Dlamini reacts after giving up a goal against Spain.147 of 154
  • June 8: Spain forward Jennifer Hermoso (10) celebrates scoring against South Africa.148 of 154
  • June 8: Norway's Lisa-Marie Utland, left, kicks the ball past Nigeria's Onome Ebi to score her team's second goal in Norway's 3-0 win.149 of 154
  • June 8: Germany players celebrate after defeating China.150 of 154
  • June 8: Yasha Gu of China in action against Kathrin Hendrich of Germany.151 of 154
  • June 7: France's Eugenie Le Sommer celebrates after scoring a goal against South Korea.152 of 154
  • June 7: France players celebrate a goal against South Korea.153 of 154
  • June 7: France defender Griedge Mbock Bathy (19) attempts a bicycle kick against South Korea.154 of 154

Lofty stuff, isn’t it? Over the top, some might say, like those last remaining American male chauvinists who have spent Monday hiding under their desks, or those anti-Rapinoe patriots who chose to root against the Americans and ended up a perfect 0-3. 

My experience tells me it’s simply not possible to over-inflate the meaning of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. I covered the 1999 World Cup final 20 years ago Wednesday. That was an extraordinary day by any measure. A crowd of 90,185, the largest to ever witness a women’s athletic event anywhere in the world, gathered in the Rose Bowl to watch a riveting game ending with one of the most iconic moments in American sports history: Brandi Chastain’s celebration of the winning penalty kick. To this day, Chastain and her U.S. teammates remain the only news story to grace the covers of Time, Newsweek, People and Sports Illustrated in the same week.

That was a revelation, the nation realizing it had fallen in love with what Title IX, signed by Richard Nixon in June 1972, had created. This is bigger. This is an affirmation of everything that has happened in the 20 years since, all the goodness that comes from raising another generation of strong, intelligent, fearless and successful women through sports.

In 1999, we couldn’t have imagined a Megan Rapinoe so confidently standing up to a controversial president, then blowing the doors off the arena with an athletic performance for the ages. By 2019, we expected it.

There’s only one thing left to say. Bring on 2039.  

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  • Jan. 23, 1992: U.S. President George H. Bush heads a soccer ball while meeting the 1991 Women's World Cup champions, in Washington. Anson Dorrance, coach of the team, is at center.1 of 35
  • July 21, 1996: Mia Hamm celebrates after scoring a goal against Denmark at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. during the 1996 Olympics. The U.S. beat Denmark, 3-0, in the first game of the women's soccer tournament and would go on to win the gold medal.2 of 35
  • Aug. 1, 1996: Carla Overbeck (left) and Briana Scurry of the U.S. Olympic women's soccer team react during the gold medal ceremony at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.3 of 35
  • June 19, 1999: A crowd of more than 78,000 watch the opening ceremonies at the opening game of the Women's World Cup Soccer at the Medowlands in New Jersey. The U.S. beat Denmark, 3-0, in the opening game of the 1999 Women's World Cup.4 of 35
  • June 19, 1999: Michelle Akers (10), heads the ball against Denmark during the opening game of the 1999 Women's World Cup at Giants Stadium. The U.S. won the game, 3-0.5 of 35
  • July 4, 1999: Michelle Akers (10) is congratulated by teammates Shannon MacMillan (8) and Tiffeny Milbrett after scoring the team's second goal in a 2-0 win over Brazil in the Women's World Cup  semifinal  in Stanford, California.6 of 35
  • July 10, 1999:  The pregame show before the Women's World Cup final between the U.S. and China at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Califirnia. The U.S. won the game on penalty kicks.7 of 35
  • July 10, 1999: China goalkeeper Hong Gao misses the final and winning U.S. penalty shootout goal shot by Brandi Chastain in the Women's World Cup final at the Rose Bowl.8 of 35
  • July 10, 1999: Brandi Chastain celebrates after making the game-winning penalty kick against China in the Women's World Cup final at the Rose Bowl.9 of 35
  • July 10, 1999: U.S. players react as Brandi Chastain takes the winning penalty kick during the Women's World Cup Final at the Rose Bowl.10 of 35
  • July 10, 1999: U.S. coach Tony DiCicco celebrates by holding the trophy aloft after defeating China in the Women's World Cup final at the Rose Bowl.11 of 35
  • July 10, 1999: President Bill Clinton and California Governor Gray Davis pose with U.S. players after winning the 1999 Women's World Cup at the Rose Bowl.12 of 35
  • July 19, 1999: President Bill Clinton holds up a women's U.S. World Cup jersey that was given to him by  co-captain Julie Foudy (center) and Carla Overbeck (right) during a cermony on the South Lawn of the White House.13 of 35
  • Aug. 26, 2004: U.S. players listen to their national anthem before the start of the gold medal match against Brazil at the Olympic Games.14 of 35
  • Aug. 26, 2004: Abby Wambach celebrates after scoring against Brazil during a gold medal game for the Athens 2004 Olympics at the Karaiskaki stadium.15 of 35
  • Aug. 26, 2004: Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm celebrate the Olympic gold medal win over Brazil in Karaiskaki Stadium in Piraeus, Greece.  Wambach scored the game winning goal in overtime play to defeat Brazil, 2-1. It marked the second time that the USWNT won gold in the Olympics.16 of 35
  • Aug. 26, 2004: Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Brandi Chastain receiving their Olympic gold medal beating Brazil 2 -1 in overtime at Karaiskaki Stadium.17 of 35
  • Aug. 29, 2004: At the Closing Ceremony for the 2004 Summer Olympics, Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Brandi Chastain -- also known as the fab five of the U.S. women's soccer team -- have their photo taken.18 of 35
  • Aug. 21, 2008: Christie Rampone (left), Shannon Boxx and Amy Rodriguez celebrate with the U.S. Flag after beating Brazil in the gold medal match at the Beijing Olympics.19 of 35
  • Aug. 21, 2008: U.S. players show off their gold medals on the the podium after winning the women's soccer gold medal game against Brazil at the Workers Stadium in Beijing, China.20 of 35
  • Aug. 6, 2012: Abby Wambach celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in extra time during a 4-3 semifinal win over Canada at the Olympic Games in London.21 of 35
  • Aug. 9, 2012: U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo makes a save as Japan forward Yuki Ogimi (17) watches during the women's gold medal match at Wembley Stadium.22 of 35
  • Aug. 9, 2012: Carli Lloyd celebrates after defeating Japan, 2-1, during the gold medal match at Wembley Stadium.23 of 35
  • Aug. 9, 2012: U.S. players celebrate with their gold medals after defeating Japan in the gold medal match during the London Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium.24 of 35
  • July 5, 2015:  Carli Lloyd scores her second goal in a 5-2 win over Japan in the World Cup final at BC Place in Vancouver, Canada.25 of 35
  • July 5, 2015: Morgan Brian (14), Tobin Heath (17), Alex Morgan (13), Lauren Holiday (12), Carli Lloyd (10) and Ali Krieger (11) celebrate after Lloyd's second goal against Japan in the Women's World Cup championship in Vancouver, Canada.26 of 35
  • July 5, 2015: Abby Wambach celebrates winning after the World Cup final against Japan at BC Place in Vancouver, Canada.27 of 35
  • July 5, 2015: Confetti floats down as the U.S. celebrates with the trophy after beating Japan, 5-2, in the Women's World Cup final in Vancouver, Canada.28 of 35
  • July 7, 2015: U.S. coach Jill Ellis addresses the crowd at the 2015 Women's World Cup champions celebration at L.A. Live in Los Angeles.29 of 35
  • July 7, 2015: Abby Wambach kisses the World Cup trophy at the championship rally at L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles.30 of 35
  • July 10, 2015: Fans cheer as the U.S. Women's World Cup champions parade through Broadway to City Hall in New York.31 of 35
  • July 10, 2015: Megan Rapinoe celebrates with the Women's World Cup trophy during  a ticker tape parade in New York.32 of 35
  • Jul 15, 2015: Members of the U.S. women's soccer team, winner of the 2015 World Cup, pose on the red carpet during the 2015 ESPY's award show at the Nokia Theater. The USWNT won the ESPY for outstanding team.33 of 35
  • Oct. 27, 2015: President Barack Obama poses for photos with a jersey he received from head coach Jill Ellis as he welcomed the U.S. women's World Cup championship team in the East Room of the White House.34 of 35
  • April 7, 2019: Members of the 1999 World Cup championship team pose for a photo at halftime of the USWNT vs. Belgian  game at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.35 of 35

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