Isn't this how you want your kid's face to look once or twice over the course of his or her life?
The exhilaration on Carli Lloyd's face is pure. Raw and beautiful, it touched us all over the last 24 hours. If you know anything about playing a sport, you know that her joy comes after a career of hard work, after as many losses and disappointments as victories, making it all the sweeter. Her journey is a metaphor for the whole women's team, working as they have to get back to the place they were in 1999. Carli, who is 33, has been on the team since 2005. That's long before most of her tiny fans' parents were even married. Ladies, there is no overnight sensation in women's soccer.
25.4 milllion people watched the finals last Sunday, more than any other soccer game in history – men's or women's. The throngs of young girls who have been caught up in the drama of this World Cup is the most endearing piece of the 2015's story. We always extoll the virtues of sports for both boys and girls, but to witness the comeraderie, dedication, and talent of this team has been profound. When you go looking for role models, look no further than these fine examples.
Like most of the nation, we can't get enough of coverage of the match and the players, and could watch the incredible goals a million times – not just Carli's, but Lauren Holiday's and Tobin Heath's as well. Something magical happened this past weekend, and it will be remembered for a long time by male and female fans alike. If you haven't seen the game, do yourself a favor and watch (at least) the first twenty minutes. Even knowing the result, it's a treat to see the athleticism on display. You just may watch all ninety minutes.
If it seemed like a fairy tale, maybe it was. According to the statisticians at fivethirtyeight.com, it was pretty darned improbable from a numbers point of view. "It’s difficult to say exactly how unlikely such a big early lead is since it happens so infrequently, but according to our model, there was only a 0.02 percent chance of a four-goal U.S. lead after 16 minutes — that’s one game in 5,000…We don’t have historical goal timing data for women’s soccer, but according to an ESPN archive of about 10,000 men’s club matches from the past five years, no team has ever had a four-goal lead within 16 minutes (there were five games with four-goal leads within 20 minutes). " (Jay Boice, www.fivethirtyeight.com)
Here is a link to Carli's by-now famous hat-trick of goals, the third being perhaps the most improbable and memorable.
Take a look at this profile of Carli – why she loves hometown, and how many years of training went into the big moments that she loves to "show up for." Here is a more even handed analysis of Lloyd's career, that just proves that it takes determination and staying power to do what these women have done.
The contact high that we all have from the US Women winning the World Cup will likely last a long time, and I hope we'll feel as strongly in years to come about Carli and her teammates as we feel about Wombach and the other stars from past teams.
Here is a piece about the older players, Abby Wombach, Shannon Boxx and Christie Rampone, who may be retired soon.
Thanks for all the work – it's onto the 2016 Rio Olypmics. We can't wait.