Creative Soccer Culture

USWNT Recognised As 2019 Athletes Of The Year By Time Magazine

Following on from their triumph in France, Time Magazine has recognised the US Women’s National Team as 2019’s Athletes of the Year, citing not only their World Cup success, but also the influence they have had, transcending sport and inspiring a social discourse during politically-charged times.

The sheer impact of the 2019 women’s World Cup was unprecedented, and that impact continues on today with the news that Time Magazine have named the entire U.S. Women’s National Team as Athlete’s of the Year. The crowning moment for the team on the pitch was the 2-0 win over the Netherlands at Parc Olympique Lyonnais in France, with goals from Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle ensuring that they lifted the trophy. But in terms of their overall influence, that was only the tip of the iceberg.

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In any conversation surrounding the advance of the women’s game, the USWNT will never be far off the agenda, with their influence off the pitch growing to match their success on it. Earlier this year, just months before the start of the World Cup, they sued their bosses for gender discrimination, seeking an equality in not only pay, but also generally in terms of how they have been treated over the decades in comparison to their male counterparts. And this was then followed up by their results on the pitches of France, which not only stood them apart in terms of performance, but also spoke volumes for their push for social progress.

Acting as a major driving force behind the positivity surrounding the women’s game – and specifically the USWNT, reinforcing their position at the top of the game – was Nike. The American brand’s campaign not only rallied the nation, it also reinforced the push for equality on a global scale, providing the perfect stage for the players to vocalise their messages. This, combined with the on-pitch performances, led to the USWNT home shirt becoming Nike’s best-selling football jersey ever.


Time Magazine’s recognition comes on the heels of one of the faces of the USWNT, Megan Rapinoe – who encapsulated the spirit and drive of the team – being awarded the 2019 Balon d’Or and Sports Illustrated’s 2019 Sport’s Person of the Year award. Her performances in defiance of everything and everyone – Trump included – encapsulated the team's ethos. And as well as honouring the achievements of the whole squad with a special edition 'Victory Pack', Nike also honoured Rapinoe's personal achievements with a special edition Mercurial Vapor of her own. A sign of the Swoosh's ongoing support.

Alex Morgan, one of the faces of the team’s success in France after she scored six goals in the tournament who has announced that she is expecting her first child in the near future, was absent from the photoshoot, causing a small ripple of controversy amongst fans. But despite this, the team's focus switches to the 2020 Olympics, and on the crest of the Time Magazine award, they head into a new era under Vlatko Andonovski, former head coach of the NWSL’s Seattle Reign. And it's unlikely that they'll stop blazing trails anytime soon.

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No matter what the future holds for this team, their position in American culture and their overall legacy is secure.

Daniel Jones

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