Women’s Soccer Reaffirms Dominance

Women's soccer of the US celebrates its most recent and most important win
The US celebrates its most important win ever in a way they were, critically, expected to. EPA pic

Sunday’s 2-0 US World Cup win over the Netherlands marked another flashbulb photograph entrenching the national team as legends. After its first mostly-unknown 1991 triumph, a fantastic 1999 summit, and a redemptive 2015 blowout, no doubt remains. The US is the world’s premier women’s soccer nation for a country obsessed with being on top, yet frustrated by irrelevance in the world’s most popular sport. 2019 marks the first accomplishment that turns an era of suspense to one of an unremarked assertion.

In 2015, the women claimed a win that supposedly put it on top. But staying in first is always more challenging than getting there. Heading into France, the US was an overwhelming favorite. But some situations are overhyped. Four years ago, Serena Williams buckled under unfair pressure in the US Open, grand slam-denying loss to Roberta Vinci. Two female pro soccer leagues couldn’t fulfill the most earnest hopes of football fanatics. Would the situation ever improve in women’s sports?

World Cup Ascension

America tore through group play and snuck by in three knockout challenges. In the scoreless halftime against the Dutch, one announcer remarked America’s opponent was “no one’s underdog.” That’s a huge problem. Not the score; the perception of equality was troubling. To further female athletics, the national team can’t just win. It must be expected to win, and still win easily. Megan Rapinoe half-solved the problem with a perfect ball past a stubbornly talented Sari van Veenendaal.

Minutes later, Rose Lavelle confirmed the rest of the world were indeed puny under-underdogs.

Play-on Whistle

The bench thankfully had the gall to smugly walk up to the pitch with two minutes left in stoppage time. The United States owns women’s soccer in the past, present, and foreseeable future. Is gender equality in sports imminent? To be sure, there’s plenty more work to do. But unlike its previous three triumphs, there’s no “wow” about this victory. The world favored America. They won. They’ll enter as favorites in Japan. Success is now business-like and routine, and little will change when the whistle blows to begin the next strike into history.

Jeffrey Newholm
About Jeffrey Newholm 185 Articles
Hey there! I’m Jeff Newholm and depending on your point of view I’m blessed or cursed that my two favorite sports are outside the limelight. Being a UW-Whitewater grad (winter 2013) my first love was d3 college football, but over the last few years I have picked up a huge interest in woman’s basketball (Uconn being my favorite team as their 90 game winning streak helped show me how good a team can get in the woman’s game). I like all the sports everyone else likes (NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA basketball and football) but those two sports are where I really have a passion.
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