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Opinion: To the dismay of some, USWNT can celebrate as much as they want

Megan Rapinoe celebrates with Lindsay Horan after a goal in USWNT's 13-0 win vs Thailand on Tuesday. (Photo Courtesy US Soccer)

Opinion: To the dismay of some, USWNT can celebrate as much as they want

Ed Rosensteel is a high school and college recruiting contributor for Pittsburgh Soccer Now. Here, Ed shares his thoughts on USWNT celebrations during its 13-0 World Cup opening match win vs Thailand on Tuesday. 

 

As we all probably know by now, the US Women’s team (USWNT) opened up their World Cup title defense with a 13-0 victory over an extremely over-matched Thailand. Alex Morgan tied fellow USWNT legend Michelle Akers as the only person to ever score five goals in a World Cup game.

Goals were celebrated every time they found the back of the net.

This much to the dismay of many sportswriters and people on social media.

How can they celebrate when it is 9-0, 10-0 and so on?

They should knock the ball around and play keep away to keep the score respectable.

These are the same writers and people who are complaining about bat flips and keeping the sacred unwritten rules of baseball intact. They are also the same people yelling “get off my lawn” at the neighbor kids.

Many of the US Women are experiencing their first World Cup and scored their first ever goal in the World Cup including Lindsay Horan, Rose Lavelle, Sam Mewis and Mallory Pugh.

Are these players not supposed to celebrate an accomplishment in their life that they have been striving towards since they have been 5 and 6 years old?

These groups of players are different than past US Women’s National Teams. They are going to push the envelope and not be reserved and quiet. They are outspoken, wear their heart on their sleeve and play the game at such a pace and have been looking to peak heading into this World Cup. This group has fought for equal pay with men, taking it to the courts to prove their case. You can thank them later if any of the complaining old hats have a daughter or granddaughter someday make it that far.

They have been outspoken and free about their choice of sexuality. Players with tattoos and colored hair and as flamboyant as any team can ever be. There has not been this much outrage over a women’s soccer team since Brandi Chastain of the beloved 99er’s bared her sports bra in victory after sealing the World Cup with her penalty kick. This team will shape how female soccer players and all female athletes go out and handle their selves for years to come. Players going directly to Europe to play professionally, like Horan, or forgo the rest of college career to play professionally. This group of US Women’s soccer players will help young players find confidence and their voice.

The ‘old joke’ is soccer is the fastest growing sport in the country. Well, women’s soccer is definitely one of the fastest growing sports in the world judging by the competition that’s yet to come for the US Women’s team.  The USWNT have taken the lead in making it a growing sport.

I have been fortunate to have been around many great coaches who have coached or are coaching at the collegiate level. Some are part of US Soccer and get to travel overseas to learn from international clubs. Coaching a young team of local girls who were very strong, I would run into the dilemma of running up the score, knocking the ball around or even pulling players of the field handicapping my team to make it fair for my opponent.

I have also been on the wrong side of losses as well. One day, someone I respect very much told me about Sir Alex Ferguson and his regards on running up the score.

I am paraphrasing but Sir Alex said “If I prepared my team to its fullest capabilities to take on my opponent, I am showing them the greatest sign of respect by preparing for them as they should have prepared for me.”

So, knocking the ball around would have been more of an embarrassment to the team from Thailand then continuing to compete. It would have also been a possible negative to the US team as they would create a different mindset and playing style headed into their next game.

Please don’t feel sorry for Thailand. Thailand is benefiting from being here for the second time. This article in the New York Times by Jere’ Longman reports on the Thai’s team and its unique path in getting to the World Cup.

It involves North Korea and failed drug testing, the fact that their American born player speaks of coaches treating them soft as to not hurt their feelings because they are women and the GM of the Thai National team, who is a chief executive of Thailand’s largest insurance company, a chairwoman for a men’s Thai league team and her family’s company sponsors the Thai’s women’s league. The players on the national team are employed by her company so they can concentrate on soccer. The team is trying to get better. They are trying to continue to grow and build a stronger mindset and not lack self-confidence. By playing a team and getting its you know what’s kicked, you can look at it as a chance to see what a great team does and how they play and keep trying to reach to get to that level or just accept they were better and move on and learn nothing.

After the match, for those who continued to watch when the final whistle blew, Suchawadee Nildhamrong, an American born player, who played collegiately for Cal-Berkley, the same as Alex Morgan, was very upset and holding back tears. There to talk to her and hug her was her idle Morgan, who gave her words of wisdom and encouraged her.

The US will continue to dominate in the round robin portion due to the expansion of the amount of teams at the last World Cup in 2015. Teams are catching up. but it takes time and a few lopsided losses to get to a place where you compete.  Thailand will grow from this and the US will push to achieve their fourth World Cup title and have no apologies for the way they are doing it.

To be honest, I like it.

So, you can continue to tell this group of young women how they should act and be prim, proper and take others feelings into consideration or you can stand back and watch what might be the best team that the US have ever put together to compete against some of the most talented teams in the world this June and July.

 

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