10 Biggest Soccer Stories of 2015

By Douglas Smith

For soccer, 2015 may go down as the most pivotal year for the future of the sport. Legacies and storylines were built on and off the field. Many of the top stories of 2015 will continue into 2016, but here is a look back before we look forward.

Douglas Smith is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DFresh39, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

10 Biggest Soccer Stories of 2015
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Honorable Mention - New York Cosmos Visit Cuba

Honorable Mention - New York Cosmos Visit Cuba

On June 2, the New York Cosmos became the first U.S. professional sports team to visit Cuba since diplomatic ties were severed in 1961. The Cosmos beat the Cuba National Team 4-1.

10. Robert Lewandowski Scores Five Goals In Nine Minutes

10. Robert Lewandowski Scores Five Goals In Nine Minutes

Five goals in nine minutes is a unique and spectacular feat. This will likely never to be forgotten.

9. Australia Wins the Asian Cup

9. Australia Wins the Asian Cup

The Socceroos won their first Asian Cup on home soil. The win validated the 2005 move to AFC by Australia. They won the final in front of 70,000 fans after an exciting tournament with resonating spirit.

8. Sebastian Giovinco Stuns MLS

8. Sebastian Giovinco Stuns MLS

Giovinco came to MLS in his prime and dominated the league. He recorded 22 goals and 16 assists in his first year with Toronto FC. He also got back in the Italy National Team picture.

7. Leicester City's Amazing Calendar Year

7. Leicester City's Amazing Calendar Year Credit: Getty Images
Leicester went into Christmas 2014 three points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League. They earned 22 points out of the final 10 matches of last season and now sit two points clear at the top of the table in the 2015-16 season. They have averaged 2.2 points per game in the first 17 of this year. It has been a remarkable calendar year for Leicester.

7. Leicester City's Amazing Calendar Year

Leicester went into Christmas 2014 three points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League. They earned 22 points out of the final 10 matches of last season and now sit two points clear at the top of the table in the 2015-16 season. They have averaged 2.2 points per game in the first 17 of this year. It has been a remarkable calendar year for Leicester.

6. The Rise and Fall of Chelsea

6. The Rise and Fall of Chelsea Credit: Getty Images
Just a few months ago Chelsea won the Premier League title, Eden Hazard was player of the year and Jose Mourinho was considered a genius. Now they are at the bottom of the table, Hazard has been inconsistent and Mourinho is looking for a job. Chelsea's story is the opposite of Leicester's recent glory and is worthy of just as much attention.

6. The Rise and Fall of Chelsea

Just a few months ago Chelsea won the Premier League title, Eden Hazard was player of the year and Jose Mourinho was considered a genius. Now they are at the bottom of the table, Hazard has been inconsistent and Mourinho is looking for a job. Chelsea's story is the opposite of Leicester's recent glory and is worthy of just as much attention.

5. Homare Sawa and Abby Wambach Call It Quits

5. Homare Sawa and Abby Wambach Call It Quits Credit: Getty Images
International leading scorer Abby Wambach played her last game on the same day that Homare Sawa announced her retirement. Sawa competed in her sixth World Cup this past year. The two were teammates in 2009 and 2010. They are legends in the sport and both went out on December 16.

5. Homare Sawa and Abby Wambach Call It Quits

International leading scorer Abby Wambach played her last game on the same day that Homare Sawa announced her retirement. Sawa competed in her sixth World Cup this past year. The two were teammates in 2009 and 2010. They are legends in the sport and both went out on December 16.

4. FC Barcelona Triumphs

4. FC Barcelona Triumphs

Barcelona won the treble during the 2014-15 season and recently capped it off by winning the Club World Cup. They took home the La Liga title along with the Copa del Rey. The Champions League was the crowning achievement. Much of the success was due to Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez scoring an unprecedented 122 combined goals in the 2014-15 season.

3. Fight for Equality in Women's Soccer

3. Fight for Equality in Women's Soccer

The top three are tied together. Wambach is going on to help in the fight for equality in women's soccer. She will work hard to close the pay gap and level playing environments. The USWNT recently cancelled a stop on the victory tour due to unsafe playing conditions. The Australia Women's National Team boycotted matches in the U.S. based on pay and conditions. Much of how the women's teams are treated is avoidable sexism and rapid reform is needed.

2. FIFA Corruption

2. FIFA Corruption Credit: Getty Images
The arrests on May 27 were just the tip of the iceberg in uncovering a multi-layered corruption scandal throughout FIFA. Sepp Blatter and Michael Platini have been suspended for eight years. Many top ranking officials in CONCACAF and CONMEBOL have been indicted on corruption charges. The U.S. Department of Justice along with Swiss officials are leading the charge on uncovering the twisted web of corruption.

2. FIFA Corruption

The arrests on May 27 were just the tip of the iceberg in uncovering a multi-layered corruption scandal throughout FIFA. Sepp Blatter and Michael Platini have been suspended for eight years. Many top ranking officials in CONCACAF and CONMEBOL have been indicted on corruption charges. The U.S. Department of Justice along with Swiss officials are leading the charge on uncovering the twisted web of corruption.

1. USWNT Wins the World Cup

1. USWNT Wins the World Cup

The countdown may be a little bias toward North American soccer, but the USWNT capturing the World Cup should be the biggest news of the year. The performance in the final by Carli Lloyd is unmatched by anything seen on soccer's biggest stage. The win sent some of the best to ever play the game out as champions and the entire World Cup was a great stage for women's soccer.

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