Friday, July 10, 2015

For Everyone, Everywhere: Scott on the USWNT's World Cup Triumph

photo by Nabeel Hvia PhotoRee

Scott reflects on a remarkable run:

With the Women's World Cup trophy safely ensconced in team USA's display case, a reflection on the tournament feels in order. I must admit, I was captivated by Team USA's unwavering march to the Final and found myself swept up in the excitement that made that Final the most watched US soccer event in history, men's or women's, drawing more viewers than Game 7 of the World Series or the final games of the NBA Final and Stanley Cup Final. If there was any doubt before that soccer is in America to stay, such thoughts were smashed by the Women’s World Cup Champions.


For me, once I mentally accepted that I was not watching the men's World Cup, and just accepted the differences, I found the whole tournament very enjoyable. It is clear that the women have more time on the ball which often means a more thoughtful progression of play. I subsequently watched the US Men v Honduras and the increased speed of play was very apparent. What I've come to appreciate is that the differences in the women's game make it just that - different - certainly not worse. Exhibit A was the breathtaking Final which was exhilarating to watch as an American soccer fan, regardless of the gender of the players.


Let's hope the US Men learn from the US Women and improve as the Gold Cup tournament progresses because they were also below their best in their opener. The women, of course, did just that - slowly finding their feet in the group stage before changing tactically for the knockout games and seeing it all come together in a dominating performance over reigning World Cup champions Japan. There was a bit of fortune to USA's early goals in the Final but there was no denying their inevitability - from the perfectly executed turf-burning corner delivery to the audacity that saw the game's hero, Carly Lloyd, shoot and score by lobbing the Japanese goalie from midfield. The confidence, awareness and skill needed to score from there is hard to describe to non-soccer watchers. But if I explain that I've only ever seen Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Luis Suarez and Charlie Adam match such a feat, perhaps that helps with perspective. Truly stunning.


A transformation that began June 8th culminated July 5th in front of a large TV at a 9-year-old girl's birthday party, with adults and children of all ages celebrating the joy and beauty of a game that is for everyone, everywhere. And if the happenings broadcast before me weren't enough for the final shove over the women's international soccer edge, my 9-year-old soccer-loving daughter's rapt attention and celebrations were. I'm all in for Team USA and women's international soccer.

This is farlieonfootie for July 10.

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