Megan Rapinoe lifts the FIFA Women's World Cup trophy following the USWNT's victory in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France final against the Netherlands on July 7, 2019 in Lyon, France.
For winning a fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup, doing so in record fashion and inspiring a generation of young athletes along the way, it’s safe to say the U.S. women’s soccer team has earned the Athlete of the Year title bestowed upon it Wednesday by TIME magazine.
The end-of-the-year awards have been rolling in lately for star midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who was named Best FIFA Women’s Player in September, then won the Ballon d’Or Feminin earlier this month, and on Monday became just the fourth woman to earn the title of Sportsperson of the Year from Sports Illustrated.
But Rapinoe, the Golden Ball and Golden Boot winner at the World Cup, certainly didn’t do it alone, and what the team accomplished together in France and throughout 2019 was impressive, even by the lofty standards of the four-time World Cup champions. The U.S. lost just a single game in 2019 and was perfect at the World Cup, not even surrendering a goal until the knockout round. Included in that was a record 13-0 rout of Thailand in the opening match that put the rest of the tournament field on notice.
Besides on-the-field victories, Rapinoe and Team USA continued their push for equality and giving women’s soccer its due place on the world sporting stage.
One title the U.S. women currently do not hold is that of Olympic champion. They’ll seek to rectify that next summer at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.