The 2015 Women's World Cup-winning team makes history yet again, with an SI cover for Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, and every single soccer star
The 2015 Women's World Cup was the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history—not just the most watched women's soccer game, but the most watched game ever. And for good reason: The game was fast-paced, packed with drama and athleticism, and, while there were some standout moments by individual players, what really stood out was how powerful our girls played as a team.
So when the U.S. Women's Soccer Team won, they were greeted with a ticker-tape parade in New York City, the first time that's ever been done for a women's team. Magazine covers were expected, naturally. But who to highlight when they all played such pivotal roles?
Sports Illustrated managing editor Chris Stone solved that problem by making each woman a cover girl. "Each player deserves her own cover, that's what we settled on," he said in a statement.
And we couldn't be more excited about this! The more covers, the more chances to celebrate these amazing athletes and what they bring not only to the sport of soccer but to women everywhere. Here are 10 of our favorite covers, along with a reminder of what makes each player so inspirational.
"I don't just want to be a participant in the World Cup. I want to have a legacy. I want to have people remember me, and let my play do the talking," Carli Lloyd, the star midfielder, said just before the World Cup. And, boy, did she deliver, kicking a jaw-dropping three goals in the first 16 minutes of the game and setting the tone for the rest of the match, earning her the Golden Ball award. Afterwards, she told reporters, "We're etched in that history, which is awesome. We fought through everything and then we came together and played our best soccer, together."
"I want girls' dreams to be alive," Alex Morgan, the 26-year-old forward, said after the big win. "I want them to know that with hard work, with confidence, with sacrifices, they can be in this position too." (Find out why Alex Morgan Loves Playing Like a Girl.)
"I'm not sure if we realize now how incredibly important this was for women's sports in general," said midfielder Lauren Holiday. "I just think that we're going to look back on this day and see that it was a defining moment in women's sports and I feel so honored and blessed to be a part of that."
"Our team is a full team," said Abby Wambach, a forward and team captain. "Everyone had their own little piece of the puzzle which allowed this to align perfectly, the way that it did. And I think that's the reason we were able to bring home the World Cup."
"This third star is a pretty incredible feat," said Tobin Heath, a midfielder, speaking about the star that is permanently added to the USA women's soccer team logo after a World Cup win. (Prior wins occurred in 1991 and 1999.) "It will be on the jersey forever and that's something we accomplished together. Now, putting on the jersey, it's going to be that much more special."
Coach Jill Ellis was awestruck after the win, saying, "It's unbelievable. I can't even say I've dreamed about it because there's nothing like this I could have ever imagined." And when the team was celebrated with a ticker-tape parade she added, "This is huge. I know that not many teams get honored this way and to be the first female team is very significant and very important for us and for females in sport."
"It's totally surreal," midfielder Megan Rapinoe gushed. "Logically, I get it and understand how big it is, but that is incredible how we're transcending so many platforms. To be in it is so overwhelming. I'm so thankful."
"No excuses, play like a champion" is defender Kelley O'Hara's motto, and one she held up during the World Cup (with the help of her teammates, of course). "This is the best U.S. team we've ever had. It's pretty exciting having such strong, talented players on the field," she told reporters, adding, "This is the whole reason you play: to win your country a world cup!" (Find out How Kelley O’Hara Stays Fueled on the Field.)
"I live for competition. It makes my life complete," said Hope Solo, the goalkeeper famous for her feisty attitude on and off the field. And she proved that she's one tough competitor during the World Cup, where she won the Golden Glove Award (for the second time!) as the tournament's top goalkeeper.
Canadian-American forward Sydney Leroux, a lightning rod for controversy, addressed her critics early on, saying, "I feel like the worst you can do is boo me and try to make me feel bad. [And] that just makes me hungrier." Then she silenced them in the best way possible—by proving the haters wrong. "I worked on my weakness and made them my strengths," she said simply. (Learn What Soccer Star Sydney Leroux Eats to Stay Energized during the World Cup Games.)