• Taylor Stewart

Believing in The Women's World Cup

Updated: Aug 3, 2019

Faith.


You can feel it in the air, in the stadium in Lyons, France, through your television screen at home, even at a local sports bar in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m clutching my little sister’s hand as we wait for Megan Rapinoe to strike her corner shot. My sister will be a sophomore in college this fall, and for us we’ve been fighting alongside the United States women’s national soccer team since 2012.


That summer at the London Olympics we discovered: These women were complete badasses. Even our Mom can (lovingly) attest that it was the first time the two of us had ever agreed on anything.


a pink and white graphic of the traditional Venus gender sign, although the top circle is replaced by a soccer ball.
Graphic of the Venus gender symbol by: Kristina Balčiūnaitė

For us, the game is emotional. We’re clapping fearlessly, calling for Crystal Dunn as she races across the field. We’re defending Alex Morgan’s honor when the opposing team tries to trip her up for what feels like the hundredth time this World Cup. We’re chanting for Rose Lavelle, who is only a year older than me, strike her first goal at the age of twenty four.


We’re praising every move Megan Rapinoe makes, on and off the field. The game has even brought us to tears as we watched Alyssa Naeher block a penalty kick by England thus securing our spot in the World Cup final, officially proving herself to all the haters who have placed her in the shadow of other goalies.


You can feel the love this team has for each other, for their friends and family watching, for the fans that make this game possible. You can feel the faith and passion they have for one another as they climb on each other’s backs after another spectacular goal. For my sister and I it’s that aspect of their sportsmanship that makes us die hard fans.


If I’ve said it once throughout this World Cup, I’ve said it a thousand times: empowered women empower women.



In 2019 it was The Netherlands second time qualifying for playing in the World Cup and this morning their hype video showed how the American team has inspired even them. How far the American Dream can go when women lead the nation.


It’s these kind of friendships that propel my sister and I forward. We’re not athletic in anyway, but their perseverance and courage constantly inspire us in our own fields. For my sister, Rachael, she’s pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, and watching this team only inspires her to study harder, “If they work so hard to get where they are,” she says, “then I can work just as hard and be where I want to be in my own life.”


For myself, it’s writing about women and empowering them in all ways of life. The whole essence of camellias is to always have faith in yourself and stand by what you think is right, even if the world might be against you.


Today Rachael wore her 2015 Rapinoe jersey and I wore the number of Abby Wambach, the retired superhero who is still fighting in solidarity for her former teammates. “They’re powerful, they show that any woman can be successful and amazing at what they put their mind to,” Rachael says on the phone six hours later. We can’t shake this team from our minds or our hearts even when it’s all over.


But it technically isn’t over. Each of these women are members of their own home team. I encourage every person who gets fired up about the women’s team in the World Cup or the Olympics to follow them all year round. Yes, sometimes your favorite members will play against each other, but that’s where it gets fun.


ESPN will televise a certain amount of games for the remainder of the year, a huge stepping stone in giving these women the platform they deserve. Don’t let these women empower you once every four years, let them empower you 365 days a year.



Author Taylor Stewart (left) pictured with her sister Rachael Stewart (right) watching the Women's World Cup Final match at The Slice in Vestavia Hills

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