The team of women in America, usually the crown gemstone of the soccer federation of the country, drew a worthless crowd of 5,852 Sunday at Red Bull Arena in an ultimate leaving party match against Mexico prior to World Cup starts afterward this month in Germany.
The women in U.S. conquered play, outshooting Mexico 34-4, and finally broke through in the second minute of additional time on a 25 yard, clothesline right-footer from Lauren Cheney, substitute for a 1-0 victory. Pia Sundhage, the coach, then vocalized a remixed Springteen song to the crown, crooning, “This team’s on fire.”
When they previously won the tournament, the players of U.S. head to Dresden for a World Cup opener on June 28 against North Korea, for what they expect is a possibility to renew the sort of eagerness that enveloped this team in 1999.
Christie Rampone, the team captain from Manasquan, one of five Jersey women on the roster and of the ’99 veterans said, “We’re at a kind of standstill. Maybe we can elevate women’s soccer again. It’s about growing the sport and getting people to the games.”
Sunil Gulati, president of U.S. Soccer said,”If you’re talking about recreating the magic moment of ’99, no, that’s not going to happen. We’re not at home. It won’t be that iconic. Very few things can compete with that in any sport. And the history of women’s leagues is that they’re a struggle.”
Gulati added, “If you’re talking about winning the World Cup, that’s very possible. This team has a record unmatched by anyone around the world.”
Appropriately, the U.S. Soccer Federation held a retirement ceremony for Kristine Lilly, one of the key players from that 1999 team. Rampone, a 35 years old, talked concerning playing next to Lilly on the defensive line, while Cheney, 23 years old said she went to Chicago as a child to observe that winning World Cup.
Cheney said, “If we can get a few victories, hopefully the fans will be turned on to us like 1999.”
The U.S. men were knocked out in the next round by Ghana in a game they must have won. Juergen Klinsmann refused the national coaching job very openly. An unashamedly dishonest FIFA committee had chosen Qatar, of the entire locations, over the U.S. to host the 2022 World Cup. Americans did not fare mostly well in European leagues, with distinguished exceptions like Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Stuart Holden.
Sunhage said, “The road has been bumpy, and this will be the most difficult World Cup to win. But this was a perfect game. We played well and then a substitute scored the goal. That shows how important every player is on the team.”
Heather Mitts, a substitute, explained only sufficient to stay on the roster for Germany. This World Cup is not only concerning winning. It is as well regarding reinvigorating the game of the women.