News / USA

US Women Gear Up for World Cup

US players Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath and Abby Wambach, from left, react after Morgan scored her second goal against Finland during their women's soccer Algarve Cup match, March 7 2011, in Quarteira, Portugal.
US players Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath and Abby Wambach, from left, react after Morgan scored her second goal against Finland during their women's soccer Algarve Cup match, March 7 2011, in Quarteira, Portugal.
Parke Brewer

The sixth FIFA Women's World Cup kicks off in Germany in June, with the team from the host nation as the two-time defending champion.  The United States women's soccer team won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is ranked number-one in the world.  But the American team named this week will face a difficult challenge in its quest for the title.

When the first World Cup for women was played in China in 1991, the United States was clearly a dominant team.  Four years later at the second World Cup in Sweden, the USA came in third, then recaptured the crown at home in 1999 with a stirring final shootout victory over China.

But during the past decade, women's football teams around the globe have made huge improvements to where next month's World Cup in Germany is expected to be the most tightly contested ever.

U.S. coach Pia Sundhage says that is good for the sport.  Sundhage is a former player from Sweden and was hired after the U.S. finished a disappointing third at the 2007 World Cup in China.  She says she has brought a different philosophy to the team that helped lead to Olympic gold in 2008.

"Coming from the fact that U.S. Soccer was brave enough to hire a coach from Sweden and try to get that gold medal, and the fact that the players embraced that change made the difference," said Sundhage.  "Now we are working on certain things, and now we are talking about change again.  It's a different way.  It's a different road to Germany."

Sundhage says more changes were needed because the Americans nearly missed qualifying for this year's World Cup.  They were beaten by Mexico in regional qualifying, 2-1, failing to gain an automatic berth.  They had to survive a tight two-game playoff with Italy to earn their spot in Germany.

"If we can deal with that pressure, which we did against Italy - and that was amazing - and we came out stronger after those games," added Sundhage.  "And the other thing is I think it is so important to look at whatever the game teaches us.  So I look back and there are a lot of chances to bring up certain things and tell the team, 'You know what, we made it.'  And I think that's a good feeling."

Coach Sundhage says it was difficult selecting the 21 players who will represent the United States at next month's tournament in Germany.  Twelve have no World Cup experience.  And only one, captain Christie Rampone, a defender, played on the 1999 U.S. team that won the World Cup.

Star forward Abby Wambach, who missed the Beijing Olympics with a broken leg, is expected to lead the offense.

"It's not going to be easy," said Wambach.  "It's going to be the most difficult world championship to win - World Cup or Olympics - and I'm excited to get started.  It's going to be an amazing tournament.  But what is it going to take?  It's going to take some guts.  It's going to take some luck.  It's going to take some skill, some goals, some defending.  You have to do everything."

The U.S. women begin the last of their World Cup warm-up matches on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, against fourth ranked Japan.  They will also face the Japanese May 18 in Cary, North Carolina, and will have their send-off match June 5 against Mexico in Harrison, New Jersey.

Coach Sundhage says that although they are friendly matches and offer a chance to experiment with line-ups, winning is a priority.

"Games are very important," Sundhage explained.  "We talk about the gold medal.  We talk about this and that.  For me, it's to win the next game, and win it in such a way that you learn from that game and you have a bigger chance to win the next game."

For the World Cup in Germany, which runs from June 26 to July 17, the United States women are drawn in Group C for the opening round and will face North Korea, Colombia and Sweden.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid