In Focus: USWNT Kick Off Victory Tour at The Rose Bowl
The last time the women’s national team was on a football field together the players were being showered with confetti after comfortably beating the Netherlands in the World Cup final in Lyon, France.
Although, that was less than a month ago a lot has happened since. A fourth star, emblematic of the team’s four World Cup titles, was added to the U.S. jersey and Jill Ellis, the team’s coach, announced she was stepping down after five years and more than 100 wins. Megan Rapinoe has become a household name and a powerful presence both on and off the pitch.
Four players were named on the 12-woman shortlist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award and the struggling NWSL, the domestic league in which all 23 members of the national team play, was buoyed by an incredible World Cup. Not to mention, a rise in MLS attendance figures too.
At the same time, however, conversations have hardened over the pay-equity lawsuit which the players have filed against their federation, with the two sides renewing their rhetorical sparring after an uneasy World Cup truce.Which is why the homecoming tour is so important.
To celebrate the team’s proper return, forgetting the proposed trip to The White House, Scott Dukes captured the official on-pitch reunion on Saturday at the Rose Bowl for the US Women’s National Team’s first game since the World Cup final, kicking off a five-game Victory Tour against Ireland.
Fittingly, the United States women’s national team (USWNT) opened up its five-game World Cup Victory Tour with a 3-0 win over Ireland and the victory came in front of 37,040 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the same site as the USWNT’s historic 1999 World Cup win.
“We were here at the Rose Bowl in 99’ and it was such an amazing experience, we had to come back,” explain long-time USWNT fans’ Terri Coblents & Lynne Zorbis from Long Beach, California. “That year we lived about a mile away from here, so we walked over and were blown away by the experience. So we’re hoping for just as much excitement now.
“With this team, you’ve got to love the fact that they’re fighting for equality with the men’s team. And given the fact that they’ve won four World Cups and the guys didn’t even qualify, that’s evidence enough of their right to have equal pay. Maybe even a little bit more.”
We also despatched Scott to capture the build-up to the game in and amongst the array of US fans – from wrestler Hugo Padilla – who repeatedly chants “Winners. Quality. Pay the ladies…pay the ladies” – to Adrienne & Heather who made the trip to the game from San Diego. “They’re carrying on the tradition that started with the 91’ team and continued through 99’, and they understand the importance of equal pay for future generations,” explains Adrienne.
“I totally agree with her,” empowers Heather. “They’re not only doing a great job being representatives of the country, as far as being great athletes, but I think they’re doing a lot to stand up for women’s sports in general, which means a lot to us and I think is going to mean a lot to the future generations.”