News / USA

US Women's Soccer Team Aims for World Cup Gold

The United States' Alex Morgan (C) shoots to score their third goal against Iceland during the women's soccer Algarve Cup final match at the Algarve stadium outside Faro, Portugal, March 9, 2011 (file photo)
The United States' Alex Morgan (C) shoots to score their third goal against Iceland during the women's soccer Algarve Cup final match at the Algarve stadium outside Faro, Portugal, March 9, 2011 (file photo)
Tala Hadavi

The 1999 U.S. women’s soccer team captivated nearly the entire nation when it won the third FIFA World Cup in front of 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in California. But in both 2003 and 2007, the Americans finished third in the World Cup while watching Germany take the titles.  

The U.S. won the 2008 Olympic gold medal, however, and is ranked number one as it aims to recapture the World Cup that begins later this month in Germany.

The anticipation for the women’s World Cup soccer is larger than ever. But it has not always been that way. U.S. national team head coach Pia Sundhage remembers it differently growing up in Sweden in the 1960s.

“I played with boys," she said. "They actually changed my name to Pelle because I wasn’t allowed to play.”



The first FIFA Women’s World Cup took place in 1991, 61 years after the first men’s tournament. During the famous Mia Hamm era, the U.S. national team won both in 1991 and 1999. The 1999 tournament, played in the United States, set new records for attendance, media coverage, TV audiences and live broadcasts.

Hamm scored a total of 158 international goals in her career, more than any other player, male or female, in the history of the sport.

“I hope our participation has helped," said Hamm. "It's something that as players, I think we took a great deal, amount of responsibility in making sure that future generations, both domestically and internationally, had opportunities that maybe we didn’t have.”   

This year’s national team boasts only one player from the 1999 team. Christie Rampone, the team captain, was then only 24 years old. Today she is a mother of two and about to play in her fourth World Cup.

“The ‘fab five’ was definitely the pioneers of soccer with Mia and Julie [Foudy] and Kristine Lilly and Joy [Fawcett] and Carla [Overbeck]," said Rampone. "You know it was just amazing to play with them and be a part of that 1999 team and experience that, and now it’s trying to lead on to the next generation in helping support them in getting that title and getting the title back.”

To get that title back, the team has trained together nearly non-stop for the past six months. The Americans are ranked number one, but they put their World Cup goals in jeopardy after losing to Mexico last year. They had to win a two-game qualifying playoff against Italy to get the 16th and final spot. Sundhage thinks the bumpy road to the tournament was a team-builder.  

"We were nervous but we came out stronger after those two games and we actually lost two games against Sweden and England this year," she said. "But I think that’s a good thing. I will look at it as a teaching moment and stay humble. It’s a reminder of what you need in order to be successful. This team is just phenomenal when it comes to attitude.”

The team spent an entire week in New Jersey preparing for a "friendly" game against Mexico. The Americans dominated the game, but missed one scoring chance after another - 34 to be exact. In the 92nd minute, substitute Lauren Cheney scored a long-range goal after launching a 25-meter blast. Rampone said getting the win was significant.

“We’ve been working so hard, and especially the way we played Mexico in the last game, and coming out and playing well today, the last game leading to the World Cup," Rampone said. "I think it’s just going to give us that momentum heading to Germany with some confidence.”

The sixth edition of the Women’s World Cup will be hosted by two-time World Cup champion Germany. Half a million tickets already have been sold and all 32 games will be televised live in the United States.

“When I first started in 1999, the crowds were big," said Rampone."The fans were filling the seats. So now it’s exciting for these younger kids and the girls that didn’t experience to come to a major tournament and really appreciate and deserve what they work for. I think we’re ready for this tournament. It will be nice that the stands will be packed and the adrenaline will be going.”  

The U.S. team flies to Austria on June 14 for training and a final friendly warm-up match against Norway. The American women open their World Cup campaign against North Korea in Dresden, Germany, on June 28, and also play first-round games against Colombia and Sweden.

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

update Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess 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.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs