Why the USWNT Dominates Women’s Soccer

The USWNT absolutely dominates women’s soccer. The Americans have four World Cup titles, four Olympic Gold medals, and countless CONCACAF titles. What’s more, they don’t seem to be slowing down. If anything, the USWNT is entering a new era with young, talented stars ready to shoulder the legacy legends left behind. But why is the USWNT the best in the world? Here’s a breakdown of how the USWNT reached the very top of the women’s soccer world.

Their History

The USWNT story starts more than a decade before they even played their first game. The 1972 passing of Title IX outlawed gender-based discrimination in sports and sparked women’s college soccer teams throughout the U.S. It set the motion for the world’s favorite game to become more accessible to women in the U.S.

Though the USWNT didn’t play their first game until 1985, the roots of women’s soccer in the U.S. had already started taking place. By the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991, the Stars and Stripes were ready to steamroll their competition to victory.

Despite some shaky years, the USWNT has maintained domination over the sport since that first World Cup. But to understand the seemingly unstoppable freight train that is the USWNT, you have to acknowledge other women’s soccer teams’ experience.

While women’s soccer in the U.S. grew at a steady rate thanks to Title IX, women around the world weren’t afforded the same opportunities. For example, in Brazil, women’s soccer was banned until 1979, and French players didn’t start signing professional contracts with their clubs until 2009. That pattern continues throughout the world to this day. The USWNT benefits from steady growth and support that isn’t present in many other countries. This begs the question, how much better would other countries be if they’d had the same resources like the U.S. over the last three decades?

Soccer’s Popularity in the U.S.

Surprisingly, soccer is one of the most popular sports to play in the U.S. In 2015, 24.4 million people played soccer (second only to China), with 3 million kids officially registered with U.S. Soccer. The sheer volume of young girls and women playing soccer has made the USWNT incredibly competitive. It’s why Ali Krieger said the U.S. has both the best and second-best teams in the world. With a talent pool this large, it’s no wonder the USWNT has an embarrassment of riches on its roster.

Their Mentality

The USWNT has a can’t-lose, will-stop-at-nothing mentality that is actually fearsome. It’s ingrained in the team’s very DNA and goes all the way back to the program’s start. The legendary ’99ers sacrificed all they had for the game they loved and fought endlessly to advance the sport. And the fight didn’t stop with them. Consequently, the USWNT refuses to lose, whether on or off the field.

Since the team’s inception, they haven’t stopped working to be the best in the world or fighting for equal treatment (and pay) from the U.S.S.F., FIFA, and the world. It is as true for the team today as in 1999: US women’s soccer stands for determination, sacrifice, grit, and fight.

Their Physicality

To put it quite simply, the USWNT might have not only the best soccer players but also the best athletes. They are stronger, faster, and more mentally strong than their competition. For a while, this was really all the USWNT needed to win. While the players are obviously also technically gifted, when you can overpower your opponents at every turn, they don’t stand much of a chance. Strength and power matter to the USWNT, and the rest of the world has to play catch-up.

From a young age, girls who play soccer are encouraged to run faster, jump higher, and push harder than their rivals. Couple this deeply rooted physical strength with the aforementioned USWNT mentality, and it’s not hard to see why they’re the best in the world.

Winning Isn’t Enough

Enough is never enough for the USWNT. These women fight every day to prove themselves and are always hungry for the next victory, no matter who they’re facing. There are countless talented soccer players in the U.S. itching for national team spots, so each USWNT player always has to be on top of their game. They are tested every day, mentally and physically, and have been hard-wired to compete and demolish adversaries. For the USWNT, there can only be one outcome in everything they do: dominate, win, and be the best in the world.

Featured Image via Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images


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