from US Soccer Women's National Team Twitter Account

Congrats to the US women’s soccer team on their World Cup win!

In a thrilling game last night, the United States women’s national soccer team became World Cup champions again.

Some background: after a devastating final game loss to Japan back in 2011 (overtime, went to penalty kicks), the US Women’s National Team entered the tournament determined to become 2015 World Cup champions. Although they have been a consistently strong team, the US actually hadn’t won the title since 1999 (spoiler: that was an awesome game). So when the soccer cosmos aligned and placed the US and Japan back in the finals, the US WNT was allowed a chance at a nearly mythic redemption. This wasn’t just a game, it wasn’t just a World Cup final — it was a chance for the US team to reset their soccer karma.

And whoa, did they reset it. Final score: US: 5, Japan: 2.

First off, a massive hat-tip to Carli Lloyd’s hat trick in the first 16 minutes of the match. That’s right, three goals in 16 minutes. Unreal. Here’s the goal that everyone is probably talking about this morning: a remarkable half-field shot.

Japan eventually came back in the 27th minute with a goal of their own, thus ending the US’s attempt at setting a World Cup record for a longest scoreless streak by a team. By halftime, the US was leading 4 to 1. In the 52nd minute, Japan got another point off of an own-goal, but don’t you worry, the US responded in the 54th minute, bringing the lead to 5:2. Despite being down by three points, Japan still fought hard, but by the later end of the second half, the US was ready to celebrate.

Another moment folks are definitely talking about today: Abby Wambach, former FIFA Women’s World Cup Player of the Year, played her final World Cup game. She had been on the bench much more than expected this past tournament. In a demonstration of good sportspersonship, Carli Lloyd passed on her captain’s armband as soon Wambach entered the pitch at the end of the match. A few minutes later, Wambach finally got her World Cup title. Here she and her wife are doing some post-winning smooching…

For many soccer fans, the US win is exhilarating. Just take a look at the US team tossing confetti on Shannon Boxx’s daughter Zoe or check out how Beyoncé celebrated. But this World Cup also shows us how far we still have to go. We’ve seen folks saying that women’s sports “aren’t worth watching” and we’ve watched players being forced to play on artificial turf rather than the standard natural grass. For their championship win, FIFA will pay the US WNT 4 times less than it paid the teams that lost in the first round of the men’s World Cup. We’ve witnessed another cycle of commentary offering predictable excuses for why women’s sports are usually ignored that don’t really hold up. Folks like Anne Peterson and Stephanie Yang have also discussed how off-field economic advantages impact who gets to play on the field. Yes, soccer is the beautiful game, but it’s still fans’ responsibility to point out and demand fixes to its flaws.

Back in 1999, my generation of young ones saw messages like “Girls Rule” emblazoned across sport magazine covers, athlete endorsements, and t-shirts galore. I experienced how sports like soccer inspired us to tap into that ‘Girl Power’ to become stronger, faster, and more competitive. Today, in 2015, as we celebrate these incredible athletes’ skills, let’s also push ourselves to imagine a sports culture that is even more dynamic, more inclusive, and more bad-ass.

San Francisco, CA

Suzanna Bobadilla is a writer, activist, and digital strategist. According to legend, she first publicly proclaimed that she was a feminist at the age of nine in her basketball teammate's mini-van. Things have obviously since escalated. After graduating from Harvard in 2013, she became a founding member of Know Your IX's ED ACT NOW. She is curious about the ways feminists continue to use technology to create social change and now lives in San Francisco. She believes that she has the sweetest gig around – asking bad-ass feminists thoughtful questions for the publication that has taught her so much. Her views, bad jokes and all, are her own. For those wondering, if she was stranded on a desert island and had to bring one food, one drink, and one feminist, she would bring chicken mole, a margarita, and her momma.

Suzanna Bobadilla is a writer, activist, and digital strategist.

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