The United States has always been a significant force in the sporting world. Americans have historically excelled in baseball, basketball, football, tennis, track and field, hockey, swimming, and others. However, one thing we as a country have not mastered, particularly in the men’s game, is soccer. The American man has never been smitten by the “beautiful game.”
But oh how the women have figured it out.
The United States Women’s National Team captured their third World Cup title this past Sunday, and first since 1999, by dominating the Japanese squad that beat them in the final of the 2011 Cup. The ’99 final gave us a hero in Brandi Chastain, after her game-winning penalty kick. This World Cup decider gave us Carli Lloyd, who ran roughshod through the Japanese defense, to the tune of three goals in the first 20 minutes. This performance all but guaranteed her the Golden Ball, awarded to the best player in the tournament.
Carli Lloyd is our newest American sports hero. Will her heroics continue to stir up a soccer-fever in the U.S.?
Lloyd’s popularity will soar as a result of her heroics. Seemingly overnight, she has become one of the most marketable athletes in the world, and definitely the most trending. She shone on the brightest stage possible, which also happened to draw record ratings for a soccer game. The United States has become a juggernaut on the women’s side, as we have captured Olympic gold and now have the most World Cup titles of any country.
The United States has become a juggernaut on the women’s side, as we have captured Olympic gold and now have the most World Cup titles of any country. Perhaps this will lead to more overall American success in the sport.
While the women’s side has dominated international competition, the men’s side has had historically moderate success. The women’s team features some of our country’s best female athletes. Our country’s best male athletes usually play more physical games like football, basketball, etc.
If we can make the sport more marketable to the male population, some of our best will take to the soccer pitch, finally making us a proper footballing nation. Soccer experienced a boom in popularity following the ’99 Cup. When you couple our newest Women’s World Cup title with the encouraging performance on the men’s side in the 2014 Cup, soccer seems primed for an even bigger burst this time around: both in performance and popularity. Let’s hope that the USWNT’s reign will serve as a kickoff for overall soccer dominance in the years to come.