- Sports 5 Storylines to Watch as the Women’s World Cup Kicks Off
- The U.S. is again ranked No. 1 in the world, but it’s a team in flux
- Several USWNT veterans are returning for the World Cup — and it’s Rapinoe’s last
- Australia and New Zealand are hosting, making for early mornings — and winter
- U.S.’s World Cup rookies are poised to make a big impression
- 8 countries will play in their first Women’s World Cup
- Brazil looks to get a cup for Marta
- Editorial: The Evolution of Women’s Soccer on the World Stage
- Advice: Support Women’s Soccer Beyond the World Cup
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Sports 5 Storylines to Watch as the Women’s World Cup Kicks Off
The U.S. is again ranked No. 1 in the world, but it’s a team in flux
As the Women’s World Cup approaches, the U.S. women’s national team (USWNT) finds itself in a unique position. While being the top-ranked team in the world and the odds-on favorite to win the tournament, the U.S. squad is also facing some uncertainties. This year’s team is less experienced at the international level, with several veterans unable to participate due to injuries. The U.S. will be facing strong competition in Group E, including the Netherlands and Portugal, and will be playing the entire group stage in New Zealand. It will be interesting to see how the U.S. team performs and if they can maintain their dominance on the world stage.
Several USWNT veterans are returning for the World Cup — and it’s Rapinoe’s last
Megan Rapinoe, one of the most recognizable faces in women’s soccer, will be competing in her fourth and final World Cup. Rapinoe was a key player in the U.S. team’s victory in 2019, winning both the Golden Boot for most goals and the Golden Ball for best player. With her retirement impending, Rapinoe will be looking to leave her mark on the tournament once again. The U.S. roster also includes several other veterans who were part of the 2019 championship team, providing leadership and experience. The blend of youth and experience on the U.S. team will be crucial to their success in the tournament.
Australia and New Zealand are hosting, making for early mornings — and winter
The 2023 Women’s World Cup will be held in Australia and New Zealand, marking the first time the tournament is hosted across two countries. The tournament being in the southern hemisphere means that viewers in the United States will have to watch matches in the early morning due to the time difference. Additionally, as this is the first winter World Cup, players and spectators can expect chilly temperatures and possibly adverse weather conditions in New Zealand. The unique location and timing of the tournament could add an interesting dynamic to the matches.
U.S.’s World Cup rookies are poised to make a big impression
The U.S. team features 14 players who will be making their World Cup debut. These rookies, including forwards Trinity Rodman and Sophia Smith, have the opportunity to showcase their talent on the world stage. Both Rodman and Smith have already made their mark in pre-tournament matches, with Rodman scoring two goals against Wales. As the U.S. team deals with injuries to key players like Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle, the performances of these young newcomers will be crucial to the team’s success.
8 countries will play in their first Women’s World Cup
The expansion of the Women’s World Cup to 32 teams has provided an opportunity for new countries to participate in the tournament. Eight teams will be making their debut in the tournament, including the Philippines, Ireland, Zambia, Haiti, Vietnam, Portugal, Panama, and Morocco. One country to watch is Zambia, who recently upset the number-two ranked Germany in a friendly match. Led by star forward Barbra Banda, Zambia has the potential to surprise in the group stage.
Brazil looks to get a cup for Marta
One of the world’s most renowned soccer players, Marta, has yet to win a World Cup title. At the age of 37, this may be her last opportunity to achieve this feat. While recovering from a knee injury and possibly starting the tournament on the bench, Marta’s presence and leadership are invaluable to the Brazilian team. Her teammate, Kerolin, expressed the desire to win the trophy for Marta and seal her legendary career, mirroring what Argentina’s men’s side did for Lionel Messi. The determination of the Brazil team and the performance of Marta will be captivating to watch.
Editorial: The Evolution of Women’s Soccer on the World Stage
The Women’s World Cup has come a long way since its inception in 1991. The tournament has grown in popularity and significance, showcasing the talent and athleticism of women’s soccer to the world. With each iteration of the tournament, we see new storylines, fierce competition, and inspiring performances that challenge traditional notions of women’s sports.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Women’s World Cup is the progress made in expanding the field of competition. This year, the tournament features 32 teams, providing more opportunities for countries to participate and develop their women’s soccer programs. The inclusion of eight first-time participants signifies the global growth of the sport, as countries from different regions embrace women’s soccer and make strides towards gender equality in athletics.
Moreover, the success and popularity of the U.S. women’s national team have been instrumental in raising the profile of women’s soccer. The USWNT’s dominance on the world stage, coupled with their fight for equal pay and gender equality, has sparked conversations and debates about women’s sports on a global scale. Their presence in the tournament brings attention to the progress and challenges faced by women in sports, both on and off the field.
As the Women’s World Cup unfolds, we must acknowledge the ongoing struggle for gender equality in soccer. While the tournament represents a celebration of women’s athletic achievements, it also serves as a reminder of the inequalities and obstacles faced by female athletes worldwide. Pay disparities, lack of investment, and societal prejudices continue to hinder the growth and development of women’s soccer.
In recent years, we have witnessed positive steps towards gender equality in sports. The increased visibility and support for women’s soccer, both from fans and corporate sponsors, demonstrate a shift in attitudes and a recognition of the power and potential of female athletes. However, more work needs to be done to ensure that women’s sports receive the same opportunities, resources, and recognition as their male counterparts.
The Women’s World Cup serves not only as a platform for showcasing athletic prowess but also as a catalyst for change. It is an opportunity for fans, athletes, and organizations to rally behind women’s sports and demand equality and fairness in every aspect of the game.
Advice: Support Women’s Soccer Beyond the World Cup
While the Women’s World Cup provides a thrilling spectacle, it is crucial to support women’s soccer beyond this marquee event. Here are some ways to contribute to the growth and development of women’s soccer:
1. Attend Local Matches
Support your local women’s soccer teams by attending their matches. By being present in the stands, you help create an atmosphere of excitement and support, which can inspire the players and contribute to the growth of the sport in your community.
2. Advocate for Equal Pay and Representation
Champion the cause of equal pay and representation for women’s soccer. Raise your voice on social media, engage in conversations with friends and colleagues, and support initiatives that aim to bridge the existing gender gap in sports. By advocating for change, you can help create a more equitable future for female athletes.
3. Invest in Women’s Soccer Merchandise
Purchase official merchandise of women’s soccer teams and players. By wearing their jerseys and displaying their logos, you not only show your support but also contribute financially to the growth and sustainability of women’s soccer programs.
4. Engage with Women’s Soccer Content
Follow women’s soccer news, blogs, and podcasts to stay updated on the latest stories, developments, and achievements in the sport. By engaging with women’s soccer content, you help create a demand for coverage and raise awareness about the importance of women’s sports.
5. Encourage Young Girls to Participate
Support and encourage young girls to get involved in soccer. By providing opportunities for girls to play and learn the sport, we empower the next generation of female athletes and contribute to the growth and sustainability of women’s soccer.
In conclusion, the 2023 Women’s World Cup promises to be an exciting and impactful tournament. As we watch the action unfold on the field, let us also remember the broader context of women’s soccer and the ongoing fight for gender equality in sports. By supporting women’s soccer beyond the World Cup, we can contribute to the development of the sport and create a more inclusive and equitable future for female athletes worldwide.
<< photo by Christian Lue >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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