Team USA’s World Cup Win Is About More Than Just Soccer
Out of my three children, you probably wouldn't guess that my youngest, Cayleigh, is the one who is most likely to watch sports on TV with me. I need to be clear though. It has to be soccer. At 9, Cayleigh is a soccer freak. She dribbles her ball around the house for fun. She shoots into her net in the backyard all the time. And she LOVES the US Women's National Team.
When the Women's World Cup began in France this summer, it was appointment viewing for Cayleigh, and therefore me as well. We knew exactly when the US played and who they were up against. Cayleigh's favorite players? No surprise really. She loved Alex Morgan and of course, Megan Rapinoe. We sat in our living room for every match. We cheered every goal together. And I was sad to see it end yesterday, even though it ended with the US winning it's second straight World Cup.
As we sat and watched the players celebrate their huge win, I couldn't help but think about how Cayleigh was viewing this. Her favorite player, Megan Rapinoe, was the biggest sports star in the world yesterday. She won the Golden Boot, was named MVP of the tournament, and will likely be all over national TV programs today. And she is a woman. I know I'm supposed to tell my daughter that women can do anything men can do, but when she sees it happen? It's powerful stuff.
Cheers of 'equal pay' rang out in the stadium in France on Sunday too. It was one of the many issues other than soccer discussed during the World Cup. Cayleigh didn't pick up on it. But she'll hopefully be part of a generation who will reap the benefits of the strong women who came before her. Who spoke their minds. Who didn't give up talking about injustice. They were brash. They were cocky. They are Americans. Numerous announcers talked about how this US team win was about more than just soccer. All I had to do was look at the 9-year-old watching on my couch to know they were right.