Although the U.S. women’s soccer team suffered a heartbreaking loss to Japan in the finals of the 2011 World Cup, they managed to bounce back the following summer at the London Olympics as they took home the gold medal. With that Olympic win last summer, the way they dominated their subsequent victory tour and the high amount of young talent they already have in place, is it possible that U.S. women’s soccer is about to enter a golden era?
Leading U.S. women’s soccer into this possible golden age is striker Alex Morgan. At just 23 years of age, Morgan is already a superstar and one of the best players in the world, two things she should continue to be for quite some time. Her prowess as a goal scorer and the U.S.’s reputation for being a skillful and attacking team is supplemented well by the presence of other young attacking players like Sydney Leroux, Tobin Heath and Christen Press, all of whom will be taking on larger roles with the team during the next World Cup cycle as they give the United States an even more potent offensive attack.
Even with all the young scoring threats, it’s important not to forget veteran Abby Wambach, the second-leading scorer in the history of U.S. women’s soccer. Wambach is starting to approach the end of her career, but she has been energized and rejuvenated by playing alongside Morgan and is still capable of being an elite goal scorer. In addition to experience and wisdom, she brings to the team a strong desire to win, something that they must have to survive international tournaments and come away victorious.
Wambach pledged to “leave her entire being” at the 2012 Olympics and she certainly followed through on that pledge. It’s no secret that she desires a World Cup championship and will do everything in her power to take home the 2015 World Cup for the United States. With an influx of talented strikers waiting in the wings, she will have some competition for her spot on the field, but the depth at forward could also allow her to prolong her career.
With other attacking options, Wambach would not have to be counted on to play a full 90 minutes each and every game, allowing her to play longer and maintain a high level of play, even if she plays fewer minutes. If she were able to help lead the U.S. to a World Cup victory in 2015, it would undoubtedly usher in a golden era for U.S. women’s soccer.
Of course, the United States still has a long way to go until the next World Cup and a lot to prove before they establish the kind of world domination that can lead to a golden era of U.S. women’s soccer. Obviously if that were to happen, it wouldn’t happen solely on the backs of their goal scorers. However, U.S. women’s soccer has such an immense collection of talented offensive players that sometimes it’s hard to imagine anybody else being able to step them or match their offensive capabilities.
That is why we have to at least consider the possibility that the U.S. can continue the run of success that began at the Olympics and usher in a new golden era of U.S. women’s soccer.