The US Women’s National Team have been met with an outpouring of support from the rich and famous after after having done it again, winning a fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup overall, and the second in a row for the American squad.
The U.S. beat the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday night in Lyon, France when Team Captain Megan Rapinoe converted a tiebreaking penalty kick in the second half and Rose Lavelle added a goal.
Tennis star Billie Jean King was quick to bring up the equal pay issue in her congratulation message, writing: ‘Congratulations to the #USWNT on their 4th World Cup win! These athletes have brought more attention, support, & pride to women’s sport than perhaps any other team in history. It is long past time to pay them what they rightly deserve. [American flag emoji, four trophy emojis] #USAvNED #WorldCupfinal #EqualPay’
King was retweeted by fellow tennis icon Serena Williams, who wrote: ‘Congrats team USA! Billie says it best here! So happy for each one of you and so proud. [red heart emoji] @USWNT’
Within minutes of the victory the women had been invited to both coasts back home, for an appearance on The Ellen Show in Los Angeles and to take part in a parade honoring the win in New York City.
Rapinoe, who has been vocal about the need for equal pay in professional soccer, stood on the field following the triumph over the Netherlands with arms outstretched, striking her now trademark victory pose.
‘We’ve done exactly what we set out to do, done exactly what we wanted to do, said what we feel,’ Rapinoe, who won the Golden Ball as top player and the Golden Boot as top scorer, said.
‘All of us, really. I know sometimes my voice is louder, but everybody is in this together. We’re such a proud and strong and defiant group of women.’
Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres was thrilled for the ladies in red, white and blue, tweeting: ‘The US women’s soccer team are the world champions! I’m so happy. These women are the best of what our country represents. You’re welcome on my show any time. My World Cup runneth over. @USWNT #USA #FIFAWWC’
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio chimed in, expressing the Big Apple’s desire to celebrate the women.
‘YES YES YES YES!’ de Blasio wrote. ‘To our 2019 World Cup Champion @USWNT: you have inspired the entire country — and New York City knows how to celebrate champions. We’ll see you Wednesday at 9:30 AM for the Ticker Tape Parade down the Canyon of Heroes. #OneNationOneTeam’
Basketball great Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson weighed in, tweeting:
Congratulations to the USA Women’s Soccer Team on their back-to-back World Cup titles!! This incredible team defeated the Netherlands 2-0 with goals from @mPinoe and @roselavelle. Your hard work and persistence represents our country well. What a victory! We are so proud! [clapping emoji]’
In the locker room in France, the members of women’s team showered themselves with champagne and they cheered their incredible accomplishment.
One Direction’s Niall James Horan tweeted: ‘Huge month or so for women’s football. New heroes made for little girls all over the world. Congrats @USWNT [smiley face with heart eyes emoji]’
Hollywood television executive Gloria Calderón Kellett (Netflix’s One Day At a Time) brought the focus back to equal pay, tweeting:
‘You know how I feel about parity and equality. Today is an excellent example of how insane it is to have bada** women out there crushing the Women’s World Cup and get paid so much less than their male counterparts. It is systemic & we need to talk about it so it can change!’
The women’s national team is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation over lack of pay equity with the men’s national team.
‘These athletes generate more revenue and garner higher TV ratings but get paid less simply because they are women,’ Molly Levinson, spokesperson for the US Women’s National Team players told CNN.
After the win, Maria Shriver quoted Levinson, and added: ‘Well said. Let’s go.’
Actor Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) said: ‘Congrats to the elite @USWNT on winning your FOURTH World Cup!!! Consistently bringing home the win but not the check. Bittersweet.’
The lawsuit against the US organization is independent of the smaller purse provided by FIFA for the Women’s World Cup.
Rapinoe also called out FIFA on the eve of the championship, suggesting soccer’s governing body was not doing enough to grow the women’s game, pointing to unequal prize money and the scheduling of the final on the same day as the championships of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Chicago and the Copa America final in Brazil.
Forbes reported in March that while the winners get less money at the Women’s World Cup than the men’s World Cup, they actually take home a larger percentage of the revenue.
This is apparently true despite this year’s contest reportedly being the most watched World Cup, ever.
Whether unequal treatment from soccer officials will change is uncertain. The Americans’ dominance in France is unquestioned.
With all eyes on the Team USA, the American women played by their own rules throughout the tournament both on and off the field by refusing to apologize for their confident style of play and celebrations while simultaneously making a strong statement for gender equality.
And two days past her 34th birthday, Rapinoe became the oldest player to score in a Women’s World Cup final.
‘Getting to play at the highest level of the World Cup with the team we have is just ridiculous. But to be able to couple that with everything on the field and to back up all of those words with performances and to back up all of those performances with words, it’s just incredible,’ Rapinoe said.
‘I feel like this team is in the midst of changing the world around us as we live, and it’s just an incredible feeling.’
Lavelle, at 24 the team’s up-and-coming star, added her third goal of the tournament on an 18-yard left-footed shot in the 69th after a solo run from the center circle.
‘It’s been a long journey. It doesn’t seem real yet. I hasn’t hit me, it’s so surreal, to be part of this group and to play with these players,’ Lavelle said.
The athletic achievements of all of the women on Team USA did not go unnoticed by fellow athletes.
Zach Ertz, the husband of Team USA’s Julie Ertz, who is also a Superbowl champion and professional football player for the Phildelphia Eagles, tweeted a photo with his wife immediately after the win and wrote: ‘WORLD FREAKING CHAMPS!!!!! SO PROUD OF YOU @julieertz!!!’
Professional golfer Tiger Woods tweeted: ‘Congratulations to the @USWNT on winning the Women’s World Cup. The Woods family didn’t miss a minute. A championship effort today and amazing play all Tournament. So happy for all of you.’
Even after Rapinoe drew the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump during the tournament by saying she would refuse to visit the White House, Trump still tweeted following the big win: ‘Congratulations to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team on winning the World Cup! Great and exciting play. America is proud of you all!’
Former president Barack Obama also shared his support, tweeting: ‘es! Fourth star. Back to back. Congrats to the record breakers on the @USWNT, an incredible team that’s always pushing themselves—and the rest of us—to be even better. Love this team. #OneNationOneTeam.’
Using the same hashtag, former First Lady Michelle Obama said: ‘So proud of you, Team USA—you inspire us all!’
The Obamas met the 2015 Women’s National Team that year when they came to the White House following Team USA’s third FIFA Women’s World Cup win.
This year, the champions never trailed at the tournament and set records with 26 goals and a 12-game World Cup winning streak dating to 2015.
Jill Ellis became the first coach to lead a team to two Women’s World Cup titles, and the U.S. joined Germany in 2003 and 2007 as the only repeat champions.
‘It’s just chemistry. They put their hearts and soul into this journey,’ Ellis said. ‘They made history.’
Former Team USA stars Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain were among the past American players who joined the current generation for the postgame celebration. Tobin Heath made angels in the fallen confetti.
Rebounding from a loss to Sweden on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics, the Americans opened the World Cup with a record 13-0 rout of lowly Thailand, triggering debate over whether the celebrations after each goal were excessive. Carli Lloyd responded the next match by following a goal with a polite golf clap. Then Alex Morgan stirred it up again when she scored against England and celebrated as if sipping tea, pinkie outstretched.
Now, after all the memorable drama, they will have a fourth star above the crest on the team’s jerseys and a higher platform to advance their cause.
‘It’s something that we’ve worked so hard for. All of us, individually, have just faced so much adversity through this whole journey,’ Morgan said. ‘We’ve been tested individually and collectively so much. So to see, four years ago, us go from two to three, and now three to four, it’s really a dream come true.’