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Best Things of 2011: US Women’s Soccer Team

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Did you know that the best sporting event of the year was the Women’s World Cup? And the Lady Yanks were the team of the 2011? They put together an exciting, dramatic, beautiful run of soccer. And they electrified the country to support their cause: Women’s International Soccer. They played beautifully, and they played tough. And then to the heartbreak of a whole nation that found itself surprised by how much it cared, the US Women’s Soccer Team lost the World Cup final to Japan on an incredibly weak penalty kick showing.

The pressure must have been fantastically huge. The Japanese Women were the sentimental favorites of the entire world, and their victory is not undeserved. And yet this summer’s World Cup was truly one of the best things of 2011. It has left us with some indelible images and lovable reminders that these women are tough, excellent at their jobs, and so much fun.

Here are three highlights of the year’s best sporting event.

1. Megan Rapinoe.
Everyone fell in love with Megan Rapinoe. How could you not? She was the squad’s most resourceful player, and she had a beautiful cross that set up goal after goal. She was the most spirited, energizing character, and she had that hair. How iconic did her hair become? It inspired this t-shirt, from Nike.

I wear a men’s M if you are interested. I’d love to own one of these.

2. Alex Morgan’s goal scoring ability.
Alex Morgan scored a beautiful goal in the World Cup Final against Japan. Receiving a lovely long-ball from Rapinoe on a broken attack from the Japanese, Morgan laid a perfect shot into the far post, just out of reach of the Japanese keeper. It was a perfect strike.

But what lovers of soccer learned from this tournament is that Alex Morgan can score goals. The above goal against Japan was not Morgan’s best of the year. It was not even the best of the summer. The woman can score goals.

3. Abby Wambach is one tough cookie.
That Abby Wambach is a big, tough, player for the USWNT is no surprise if you watch the game. She is tall, she is muscular, and she gets her head on the ball and puts it in the net. It is just what she does.

Wambach, though, has taken her hits. And none could be worse than the qualifying match that the USWNT lost to ┬áBrazil back in November of 2010. In that match, Wambach went up to challenge for ball and took a shot to her eyebrow, which split her open. Amidst the rushing blood, the trainer stapled her face back together, and she played on. Because Abby Wambach is badass. (warning: there’s quite a lot of blood in the below video)

And this story has a happy ending, as Abby Wambach scored the latest goal in World Cup history against Brazil to bring the match to PK shootout, which the Lady Yanks won to give them a birth to the final.

If the US Women’s Team’s performance at this summer’s World Cup didn’t cause you immense joy, surprise, heartbreak, and simple love of country and sport, well, then you just weren’t paying attention.

Written by Christopher ZF

December 28, 2011 at 13:44