Time Magazine’s 2019 Athlete of the Year is… the United States women’s soccer team

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TIME Magazine has announced their end of the year honors and crowned the United State’s women’s soccer team the Athlete of the Year on Wednesday. The team is fresh off a World Cup win, which gave the, a record fourth title in tournament history. Their back-to-back championship was rare, as only Germany has achieved the feat.

The women were absolutely dominant starting with their 13-0 win over Thailand early in the World Cup. The team was criticized by many for running up the score or having too much fun, but for the players who dreamed their whole lives of scoring goals at the World Cup, none of that noise mattered.

“‘They shouldn’t be doing this,’ and what makes our team what it is is nobody cares,” forward Christen Press told the magazine, quoting the opinions of many during their games that seemed more like a clinic than an actual game at many points. 

Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan ended the tournament with six goals a piece, with the former ultimately taking home the Golden Boot in the tiebreaker. The dynamic duo was unlike any other in the tournament. 

The team ended with 26 goals in seven games, which was a record at the World Cup. Their success is also a nod to coach Jill Ellis, who did not lose in the tournament and is the first manager to ever win it all twice. 

Time described the team as, “Champions who showed the world what they’re worth.” They did this on and off the field with their incredible World Cup play as well as their trailblazing fight for equality

As such, the magazine noted that the USWNT did not just receive the award for their goals or wins, but for how they won, and the impact they will forever have on the culture of the sport and the country. 

The team used each victory to raise their voice for what they believe in, from their eye-catching celebrations, to inspiring parade speeches to calls for help from others while accepting awards. The women seized their opportunities as the year to remember transpired. 

The team also did more than just bring women’s soccer to the forefront worked. It helped the sports altogether and that showed in the numbers. 

The team’s jersey was the highest-selling in the sport in Nike’s history, Fanatics noted their jersey sales were up 500% since the last World Cup four years prior and global viewership more than doubled for every match. A new record was set as over 1.2 billion viewers over all platforms watched the team’s historic run unfold. 

Rapinoe was also named Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year, and with the Olympics up next, this team looks to continue their winning streak and become the only team to win a World Cup and an Olympic gold in back-to-back years. 

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