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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid