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How the U.S. Women’s National Team Made Soccer History

The U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) has brought us victory in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final. Beating the Netherlands 2-0, the team made history and reminded sports fans everywhere just how badass they are.

Their victory, while glorious, comes as no surprise. The women were a force to be reckoned with since before the tournament began. Still fresh off of their 2015 Women’s World Cup win, the team was already expected to dominate the season with several strengths –– experience from players like Megan Rapinoe, and passion from goalie Alyssa Naeher. 

From the early beginnings of the 2019 tournament, it was clear that the USWNT was aiming for that fourth title win. They swept out Thailand, Chile, and Sweden in the group rounds. They outshined France in the quarterfinals. And now, they’ve broken numerous records by bringing home the trophy for the fourth time.

Last month, it was reported that there is a significant pay gap between the men’s and women’s national teams. Documents from FIFA reveal that Women’s World Cup bonuses are around six times less than what players on the men’s team would earn for the same achievements. Similarly, FIFA does not offer the same award for the World Cup title win. This year, the women will win $30 million for their victory. After beating Croatia last year, France’s men’s team was awarded $400 million.

While the moments after the final were celebratory, fans did not forget about the drastic pay disparity. As FIFA president Gianni Infantino was ready to hand out medals, the crowd in France began chanting: “Equal pay!”

Despite the pay gap though, the USWNT has been dominating the sports world. Fans have not been hesitant to show their support for the team.

Sportswear brand Nike released an earnings report that shows that the USWNT jersey has officially become the highest-selling soccer jersey ever sold. The 2019 season stadium jerseys have not only outsold the U.S. men’s team’s, but every other national soccer team in the world.

This season, the USWNT’s games have had significantly high ratings. The semifinal match between the U.S. and England has become the country’s most-watched television program of the year, with 12 million Brits tuning in for the match.

The Women’s World Cup final on Sunday was projected to have a 20% increase of household viewers from the men’s World Cup final in 2018. The match is estimated to have reached about 19 million viewers, which is up 7 million from last year’s men’s final. If the 19 million is correct, it will be the second most-watched soccer game in U.S. history. The current record belongs to the 2015 Women’s World Cup final, which the USWNT also won.

Featured Image by Edward Kimmel on Flickr.

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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