MO State HS Sports
Women's World Cup 2023
Women's World Cup 2023 (Photo: Zahid Alam Art,

U.S. Women Chase World Cup History

By: Grant Salsman

The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) kicks off their attempt for an unprecedented World Cup three-peat on Friday in Australia. This feat has never been done in the men’s or women’s game. However, it may not be as easy this time around as the previous two.

The USWNT has had a lot of turnover since they lifted the 2019 World Cup in France. They will be returning eight of 11 players that started the 2019 Final, but star and MVP of the 2019 tournament Megan Rapinoe is not what she once was and will be coming off of the bench due to a recent injury. The 2019 goal-scoring stats are inflated because the USA defeated Thailand 13-0 in the first round of the group stage. The USWNT scored eight goals in the knockout stage, five of them from Rapinoe, one from Alex Morgan, one from Rose Lavelle, and one from Christen Press who did not make this year’s roster. With Rapinoe taking a lesser role this year, who will step up?

Be on the lookout for World Cup debutants Sophia Smith, Alyssa Thompson, and Trinity Rodman. Rodman is the daughter of former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman and has made a name for herself for the USA. Rodman is only 21 years old and has already been a finalist for the most prestigious award in the game of soccer, the Ballon D’or. Since her debut in February of 2022 she has made 18 appearances and has scored four goals. She was also named the NWSL Rookie of the Year and the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year. Alyssa Thompson is the young 18-year-old attacker who made her debut before she even graduated high school. She has yet to score a goal in only four appearances with the USWNT but she is ready to be a spark plug in Australia. Perhaps the most important piece of the attacking puzzle is Sophia Smith. This was not supposed to be Sophia Smith’s World Cup, she was not supposed to be the star, but she scored 11 goals last calendar year and was named the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year in 2022.  The 23 year old has become even more integral to this USWNT since key members of the attack, Catarina Macario and Mallory Swanson, were injured. This trio of attackers will have to carry the goal scoring burden and hope that aging stars, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, can sparkle one more time. 

This will be no cakewalk for the U.S., as this is perhaps the strongest field ever at a Women’s World Cup. Spain, with arguably the greatest player on earth in Alex Putellas, will be a formidable foe. They also will have to compete with defending Olympic gold medalist Canada, and England after their victory at the Euro’s last summer. Oh, and do not forget the host nation Australia with Chelsea star Sam Kerr. Even the USWNT’s own Group E is tough; the Dutch are the ninth best team in the world and Portugal has a fire to make an instant impact in their first World Cup appearance.

After all this is said, the U.S. is still my pick. It’ll be something that has never been done before, something only comparable in American sport’s history to the likes of the 90’s Bulls or even maybe the 50’s Yankees. Truly though this would not be comparable to anything in sporting history. If they were to go undefeated they would be able to continue their 12 year unbeaten streak at the World Cup.

Official pick: United States defeats England 2-1 in the final.