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What we learned: The USWNT’s defense of the World Cup

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Many lessons to learn

U.S. WNT Arrival at Newark Liberty International Airport Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

The United States Women’s National team went back to back, defeating Netherlands in the World Cup Final, 2-0. For many, this result meant much more than winning the tournament, it’s another stepping stone on the movement to progress the game.

But, before we get into all of that, let’s first talk about the game and what we learned. Firstly, we learned how great this team really is.

To win two world cups, you have to be tough, you have to be good and you have to be ready to take on the world. When Rose Lavelle made it clear that the USWNT were going to be the champions with her great solo goal in the 69th minute, it finally hit. Greatness had just overtaken the moment and carved this team in stone. It’s going to take a really special team in any sport to accomplish what this team has over the course of the last five years, not to mention going back to the first World Cup.

Secondly, we learned there’s a bright future to the USWNT even though they’re still the defending back to back champions.

Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Abby Dahlkemper, Sam Mewis, Mallory Pugh, Tierna Davidson are just a few names who are all young talent on this team. In their own ways, each of these players stood out. Pugh and Davidson had their moments and the other four had major roles. It just shows you that even though the dynasty has been going on for years, it’s not stopping any time soon.

We also learned that sometimes when you’re the best, people will try to take you down for no apparent reason.

This whole World Cup, the USWNT were painted as the bad guys. From the remarks about their “excessive” celebrations, to Megan Rapinoe being painted as a villain, to Alex Morgan’s tea celebration, people wanted to take down the USWNT. The battles off the pitch were just as great as the ones on it. It’s what comes with the title defending world champions. When everyone wants to take you out, they’ll find anything to do so.

The USWNT’s ability to handle the off the pitch nonsense whilst winning the in the pitch battles is what makes this story and this run to glory even sweeter. It’s really remarkable that they were able to garner so much criticism while just playing a very high level of soccer and having fun while doing so. The USWNT knew they were going to have a good chance of winning this tournament and they had fun doing so. We haven’t seen too many teams have this much fun while playing in such high stakes games.

And last but not least, we learned that it’s time to embrace the women’s game. This World Cup was a big moment for Women’s soccer. There were finally state of the art facilities unlike the turf ones played on during the last World Cup. Attendance was up, viewership was up and the overall backing was much bigger. It’s time the women’s game gets the attention it deserves.

It’s a big time right now in terms of backing. Budweiser just stepped up and is backing the NWSL. In England, they’re hosting women’s games at the Etihad Stadium where Manchester City plays and Stamford Bridge where Chelsea plays. The game is only growing and we have to support it just as much as we did during the World Cup. This World Cup showed us exactly not only the quality of the game but the overall passion. There’s no reason to not support it as we just watched one of the more memorable world cups in United States soccer history.

This World Cup taught us many things but by far, the biggest lesson learned is that the women’s game is legit and needs to be supported more from here on out. It’s time these great players get what they deserve. It was a memorable tournament, it’s always great watching the USWNT in World Cup. It’s hard to look forward as the winning feeling will stick around for awhile, but here’s to hoping we’re on top of the soccer world again in four years from now!