Recall 1999: A century crested, the U.S. Women’s National Team won the World Cup in a shootout and some of today’s CU Boulder soccer players drew their first breaths.
Buffs women’s soccer celebrated a slew of 20th anniversaries this summer — overseas. For 10 days in June, all returning players toured France, testing their mettle against European teams, exploring a nation and — how could they not? — attending the World Cup, which the latest U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) was favored to win, and did.
The Buffs won all their matches against French club teams — by shutout, no less, dominating the opener 11-0. Afterward, they watched the U.S.’s record-setting 13-0 Cup victory over Thailand.
Goalkeeper Jalen Tompkins (Psych’20) recalls reveling in the Cup’s cosmopolitanism. “Soccer is the world’s game,” she said.
Between days on the pitch and in the stands, the CU crew bonded at the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Versailles. They snapped pictures, crowded into cafés for watch parties and cheered in the streets.
“To see them soak up the cultural experiences really put a smile on my face,” said Associate Coach Jason Green.
The squad departed France before the Americans’ finale. But the spirit of the U.S. team — on the field and in their unapologetic demands for equal pay — stoked the Buffs’ pride in their sport and in each other.
The USWNT’s World Cup win “brings legitimacy and attention to our sport,” said forward Libby Geraghty (IntPhys’22).
Midfielder Hannah Sharts (Comm’22) added, “More exposure means more opportunities for women to play professionally.”
Indeed, the national team depends on stateside growth for new stars.
With 2019 alumni Erin Greening (StComm), Scout Watson (Comm) and Jorian Baucom (Comm) all in the pros, Buffs are doing their part.
“We thought it would be all about soccer,” Green said, reflecting on the quadrennial overseas trip, “and it never is.”
Photo courtesy CU Athletics