Soccer has never been the most popular sport in the US, but it’s clearly time we pay some serious attention. The US Women’s soccer team is the best in the world right now, and they just won their second World Cup in a row. Compare that to the men’s team, who didn’t even qualify for the World Cup last year. Yikes. The USWNT is still fighting for equal pay despite being way better than their male counterparts, but these ladies are full-on superstars of their sport.
If you’re just now getting used to the idea that you should be paying attention to women’s soccer, that’s okay. There’s a lot to keep track of, so we’re breaking down some of the top players on the US women’s soccer team that you should be following. I couldn’t write about all 23 of the women on the World Cup team (even though they’re all badasses) because I do not have the finger strength, but here are seven you really need to know.
Without a doubt, Megan Rapinoe is the breakout star from this year’s World Cup. Basically everything she does is iconic, from her purple hair to saying that she’s “not going to the f*cking White House.” She’s played for the USWNT since 2006, and has co-captained the team since last year. She was the top scorer in the World Cup this year, winning multiple awards for her performance throughout the tournament. Rapinoe has been dating women’s basketball legend Sue Bird since 2016, and as a couple, they’re making history for LGBTQ people in the sports world.
Carli Lloyd is the second of three co-captains of the USWNT, and she’s been a top performer on the team since 2005. Carli has had an incredible career, but she might be calling it quits after the latest World Cup victory. In the past, she’s said her goal is to play in the Olympics next year, but she’s recently said that this might be it for her. Either way, she’ll go down in history for her many accomplishments, like scoring three goals in the 2015 World Cup Final.
Alex Morgan is the third c0-captain, and by far the most famous player on the USWNT. She was on the cover of TIME earlier this year, and also covered the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue along with Tyra Banks. Just this week she won the ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete, proving that she’s really on top of the world. Off the field, Alex Morgan writes a series of children’s books, which has also been turned into a series on Amazon Prime. And I barely have the time to go to my 9-to-5 and then the gym, but who’s counting!
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Thank you New York for an amazing few days celebrating our victory. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to play in the final not only once but twice now. Each journey to get there is special in its own way and it truly is an honor to wear this crest and represent the USA. Thank you to my teammates for pushing me and challenging me everyday. Thank you to my family for supporting my dream since day 1. Zach thank you just for everything, truly. And to my sisters in Christ, your words of encouragement and prayer kept me fueled. Those words kept the game in perspective and focused me on an audience of 1. World Champs 2x is an indescribable feeling. Blessed.
Julie Ertz has been a top player on the USWNT since 2013, and she She’s married to Zach Ertz, who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, which is important because of a tweet that went viral last month. CBS News tweeted about Zach leaving Eagles training camp to watch Julie in the World Cup, but managed to completely f*ck up what was actually a really nice story.
US soccer midfielder Julie Ertz visited by husband, who also plays a sport https://t.co/0AG2IdUyv7
— ryan teague beckwith (@ryanbeckwith) June 17, 2019
This is a classic case of “man gets emphasized as more important despite his wife’s amazing accomplishments”, ugh. Sorry Zach, but Julie is way cooler.
Rose Lavelle is a major breakout player from this year’s World Cup, and her biggest achievement was scoring the second goal for the US in the final. This picture she posted on Sunday really says it all. Rose is only 24, which makes me feel very unaccomplished, and she’s become a top player since her debut with the USWNT in 2017. One of the best things on the internet this week was the video of an 11-year-old Rose doing tricks with a soccer ball. Watch it, you’ll thank me.
Christen Press has been killing it on the USWNT for years, and she’s now expanding into the lifestyle space with a couple of her teammates. Along with Megan Rapinoe, Meghan Klingenberg, and Tobin Heath, Press is the face of the new gender-neutral lifestyle brand re—inc, which focuses on “championing equity, creativity, progress, and art.” I’m excited to see how these soccer stars use their continued success to grow their personal brands, because I love everything I’ve seen from them so far.
Aside from posting this absolutely incredible photo from the World Cup celebrations, Tobin Heath has been a rockstar on the US team for over a decade now. She was the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year in 2016, and has won two World Cups and two Olympic gold medals. She also works with re—inc along with her teammates.
I could go on for hours about all of the amazing players on the US Women’s soccer team, but hopefully now you’ll notice some familiar faces when you watch their games in the future. Because we’re all watching their games in the future, right? Right?? Let’s pay these women fairly, and support them like the world champions they are.
Images: Shutterstock; mrapinoe, carlilloyd, alexmorgan13, julieertz, lavellerose, reeba04, christenpress, tobinheath / Instagram; ryanbeckwith / Twitter