In case anyone else out there needs a bit of good cheer, and a bubbling over of pride and patriotism, in celebration of their fourth world championship, here are a few favorite things I’ve read about the US Women’s National Soccer Team in the past few weeks:
“Nearly 50 years after title IX became law, a generation of women has reaped the benefits of institutional support, professional development and education that the law provides, and many of them have gone on to successful athletic careers. Those careers were made by policy: title IX effectively turned the American education system into the world’s most successful women’s sporting development organization. The success story of women’s sports under title IX shows how marginalized groups can be given opportunities through policy interventions; how the talents and passions of individuals can be fostered when they have institutional support.”
Moira Donegan for The Guardian
Through her example, Rapinoe has instructed the world on how to play soccer and how to dissent. Her genius is that her political commitments, her public persona, and her playing style are one and the same. In every realm, she is fearlessly open, outrageously joyous, and unabashedly true to herself.
Franklin Foer for The Atlantic
“Instead of Team USA being celebrated for what its players achieved, the victory became an opportunity to lecture these women on how to behave. That lecture is all the more galling given that, in March, the team filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The women are fighting, in the courts, for equal pay and respect—and, on the field, for the right to pummel their opponents and express themselves in a way that men often do.
…if anyone deserved to celebrate on their own terms, it’s these women.”
Jemele Hill for The Atlantic
“Everyone who enters the program understands she is expected to perform with a certain ethic: to handle discrimination with equanimity while charging across lines that previously seemed impassable, and to do so without an audible word of complaint that life isn’t fair. When they were asked if they could fight a discriminatory pay suit and still play quality World Cup soccer, Ali Krieger answered: “Women can multitask. Imagine that; we can do two things at once.”
Sally Jenkins for The Washington Post
“This exact team was made for this exact American moment,” former U.S. star Abby Wambach, the world’s all-time leader in international goals scored, wrote in a text message. “We all just watched brilliant, brazen, united, joyful, unapologetic women – scoring, speaking out and celebrating on the world stage. Today, this team showed America what’s possible: no- they showed us what is INEVITABLE: women will lead us. And will win. And we won’t keep our mouths shut about inequality any longer.”
“Now pay them,” she said
Abby Wambach interviewed by Sean Gregory for Time Magazine
I swear, it was like the most amazing thing happened: It was like the entire country, all at once, for this improbable but also somehow very very very very possible moment….. PUT ON MEGAN GOGGLES.
It was like the entire country, all at once, said — Soccer? YES. Women’s soccer? YES. An openly gay superstar swagging out with two goals and batsh*t celebrations and leading us to a huge-ass win in women’s soccer? YES. That same openly gay superstar not just taking some preapproved level of pride in her sexuality, but actually being the world’s biggest most kissable goofball queen and literally crediting her sexuality for those two goals and her batsh*t celebrations and our huge-ass win in women’s soccer? YES.
Sue Bird for The Player’s Tribune