I had a bit of a surreal experience at Busch Stadium this past weekend while watching the US Women’s national soccer team compete in a friendly match against New Zealand: I found myself unabashedly rooted for US team.
Now, that may sound odd. Of course I root for US teams in every sport. But soccer is particularly close to me, and for a long time I’ve really struggled to root for the US men’s team. I’ve written about it before, so I won’t go into details here, but basically their level of play in every World Cup over the last 20 years has been pretty terrible. The only game I can recall when they actually played good soccer was against Portugal last summer…and they tied that game.
So when I showed up to watch the US women’s team play on Saturday, I didn’t expect my patriotic spirit to kick in the way it did. But I quick realized that this is an amazing soccer team. They play together well–their passes and control are excellent. The control the flow of play. They defend well. And they aggressively and relentlessly push the ball forward, something I’ve never seen the US men’s team do in the World Cup.
There was a moment in the second half after the US scored their third goal that one of the players on the sideline lifted up her shirt to reveal her abs. It was a triumphant moment–“We are powerful!”, the gesture seemed to say. Sure, it was a bit cocky, but when you’re up 3-0, you can celebrate your success.
I wholeheartedly look forward to watching the US women play this summer in the World Cup. I’m proud to support the way they play the beautiful game, and hopefully the US men will be taking notes.