“The only way we win, the only way we get to that top podium, is if we believe in each other, and we fight, and we fight, and we fight some more.” – Abby Wambach, two-time Olympic Gold medalist and 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year.
On Sunday the 6th of July, the United States’ Women’s soccer team played a game and celebrated an event that galvanized the US population in a way that soccer has never done before.
The beautiful game attracted the highest number of viewers, for any soccer game broadcast on English-language television in the US, ever, men’s or women’s.
A record audience of 25.4 million viewers (on FOX) watched the United States play Japan in the Women’s World Cup final. People watched. They watched in anticipation of what the game might deliver. And deliver it did, with compelling story lines and first-timers that will go down in history.
Just 16 minutes into the game, Carli Lloyd literally smashed it out of the park, scoring one of football’s most prized possessions, a hat-trick, in a record time of 13 minutes. She scored her third goal from all the way back at the halfway line. An almost unthinkable feat in professional football.
The team entered half-time with a 4-1 lead. This is when people started getting in on the action, sharing in the excitement and telling their friends to watch, with the viewing audience almost doubling by the end of the match from what it was at the beginning. Go team.
In the 79th minute, Abby Wambach came onto the field and was given the captain’s armband by Carli Lloyd, who obviously felt that Wambach, who had alluded to the game being her last World Cup, should finish the game as captain. A touching exchange between two members of the team.
The team won 5-2, the highest scoring final in Women’s World Cup history, and overtaking Germany for the highest scoring team in Women’s World Cup history. And the United States became the first team to win three Women’s World Cups.
And my club Manchester City built on the momentum – England reached the semi-finals…with five players in the English team and record attendance at the first game back home in Manchester. Boomtown.