The US women’s national team not only repeated as World Cup champions over the summer, but they also inspired a social discourse during politically-charged times. That ability, both on and off the field, has resulted in the entire USWNT being named the 2019 Athletes of the Year by Time Magazine.
The crowning moment was a 2-0 win over the Netherlands at Parc Olympique Lyonnais in France, sparked by goals from Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle.
The headlines didn’t stop after the win, as a ticker-tape parade unfolded in New York City. Sponsors increasingly backed the NWSL, where most of the USWNT player pool features year-round, and buzz of expansion clubs has reached another gear.
Upon the announcement that longtime head coach Jill Ellis would step down in October as the team's all-time wins leader (106), a new era kicked in for the USWNT. In stepped Vlatko Andonovski, formerly head coach of the NWSL’s Seattle Reign, to build off the already sky-high expectations.
Beyond the Time Magazine honor, Rapinoe was named Sports Illustrated's 2019 Sportsperson of the Year earlier this week. It’s another item in the growing list of national recognition for the USWNT.