The United States women’s national soccer team proudly represents us in the international women’s soccer arena. The team is the most successful international women’s soccer team, having won four Women’s World Cup titles including the first-ever Women’s World Cup in 1991. They have also won four Olympic gold medals including the first Olympic women’s soccer tournament in 1996. They’ve also won eight CONCACAF Gold Cups. From 1991 to 2015, they have placed in every World Cup and Olympic tournament. FIFA Women’s World Rankings placed the U.S. women’s team at No. 2 on average from 2003 to 2008. The team has ranked No. 1 consecutively from March 2008 to November 2014. But the team has come a long way and there are plenty of moments to look back on in USWNT history.
Title IX changed the path of women’s sports. On June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed Title IX of the Education Amendments into law. As more girls began playing sports in school, schools began to invest in girls’ and women’s sports. By 1985, the U.S. Soccer Federation joined a small list of countries to create a women’s national league.
The soccer legends who became known as the Fab Five came together on the field for their first game in 1987. Teenagers Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett, and Kristine Lilly played in Tianjin, China. The next summer, Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy joined the team. And for overly nearly two decades playing together, the Fab Five won two Women’s World Cups and two Olympic gold medals together. These women set the United States soccer team up for success.
FIFA held the first official tournament in China in 1991. They won the first ever women’s world cup! The U.S. took home the trophy with a 2-1 win over Norway in the final. This win set the precedent for their future years as power players. They then went on to win the first ever Olympic gold medal! They defeated China with a score of 2-1 in the final. Over 76,000 fans watched the game from the stadium, a record-settting crowd for women’s soccer at the time.
What is known as the “save heard ’round the world,” U.S. goalie Hope Solo made one of the biggest plays in an Olympic game. With just five minutes remaining, Japan’s Mana Iwabuchi tried to score in Solo’s post, but the goalie dove and forced the ball away with both hands.
These moments and so many more are what set the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team apart as true champions of the sport.