The 2015 Women's World Cup final took place this weekend in Vancouver, Canada, and if you didn't get a chance to watch the match, you really missed out. The U.S. women's national team kept their winning streak alive, beating reigning World Cup champs Japan, 5-2. While the tournament may be over, it's not too late to get to know some of the inspiring women who made America proud by bringing home the cup.
As a forward, Sydney Leroux's speed has been her standout contribution to the US women's national team. Hailing from British Columbia, the Canadian-born American grew up in a single parent home and credits her mother for instilling in her the drive and focus she displays on the field.
Tobin Heath is known for her free spirit. When she isn't displaying her technical abilities with a ball, she likes to travel. Preferring to couch surf with friends and family instead of owning her own home, Heath's love of life and the game is one of the most inspiring things about the 27-year-old midfielder.
Christen Press was a celebrated professional soccer player when the league she was playing in folded and she found herself unemployed. Her hopes of playing for the U.S. women's national team were all but gone. It took a move halfway across the world for Press to rediscover her love for the game, which, in turn, helped her to finally realize her dream of representing her country in the 2015 Women's World Cup.
Julie Johnston is so talented at shutting down the opposing team's offense on the field that it's hard to imagine the young defender might never have been a part of the U.S. women's national team. After not playing the sport in high school, Johnston went to Santa Clara University in California—a private school too expensive for her parents to afford. Her only hope to stay enrolled was to work hard enough on the university's soccer team to earn herself a full scholarship so she could continue playing the game she loved. She did just that.
Carli Lloyd is a clutch player for a reason. The New Jersey native, who is known for her tremendous work ethic, pushes her body to the limit in training in order to be a leader both on and off the field. Llyod's drive and perseverance—and her incredible hat trick in the final match aganst Japan—are just a few of the ways she helped the U.S. women's soccer team clinch their 2015 Women's World Cup victory.
This Georgia native is fearless on the field, but off, Kelly O'Hara admits to being a bit of a homebody. Leaving her family to play soccer across the country at Stanford was one of the most difficult decisions of her life, but O'Hara's used to adapting to change. The natural forward stepped in to replace teammate Ali Krueger when she suffered an ACL injury a few years ago, and she's been a staple of the U.S. women's defense ever since.
Megan Rapinoe is one of the key players on the U.S. women's national team, but growing up in a family with six siblings meant it wasn't always easy to stand out. Rapinoe and her twin sister, Rachael, often found ways to have adventures on their own, and it's that fun-loving spirit, creativity and innovation that the midfielder brings to the game.
Abby Wambach is arguably the most recognizable player on the U.S. women's national team, and for good reason. The forward has scored more goals than any other player (male or female) in the history of the sport. While she's been a leader of the U.S. women's team for quite some time and even has an Olympic medal under her belt, Wambach had never hoisted that World Cup trophy, something she finally remedied this year in Canada.
It's hard to imagine Hope Solo anywhere other than between two posts, but when the best female goal keeper in the world first started playing the game, she was scoring goals, not preventing them. It wasn't until she attended the University of Washington that she realized her abilities protecting the net—abilities that have allowed her to play all over the world and become a valuable leader on this U.S. women's national team.
Alex Morgan began her professional career as the youngest player on the U.S. women's 2011 World Cup roster. She's gone from a rookie on the bench to a starting forward with an uncanny knack for scoring goals and the ability to create plays out of thin air, but the road wasn't always easy. Battling injuries and confidence issues, the forward—who's also an author of children's books geared toward prospective athletes—overcame some tough obstacles in order to get herself and her team back in the Women's World Cup final.
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