Success of U.S. Women’s World Cup Team Continues to Blaze Trails Set Long Ago

This summer has been a momentous time in American women’s sports history. Tennis and soccer saw women reaching new heights with momentous championship wins. Serena Williams maintained her position as a dominant No. 1 player with her sixth Wimbledon win, which was her third major tournament championship of the year and brought her overall Grand Slam tally to 21.

At this point, the sight of Williams lifting trophies is practically an expectation, but the United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) caught the nation’s attention by winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup after a hard-fought seven-game tournament. The win cemented the team as the most successful international soccer team (with three Women’s World Cup wins in 1991, 1999, and this year) and the top-ranked team in the world.

Women Flying High in July

The fact that these successes occurred in July is particularly poignant, because the anniversary of another trailblazing sportswoman’s birth is commemorated during the same month. Amelia Earhart is best known for being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. However, her entire life was an example of determination and perseverance. She was only the 16th woman to be issued a pilot’s license, and she was also the first person — male or female — to cross both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Amelia Earhart has a special connection with the USWNT that has nothing to do with the calendar. When New York City hosted the ticker-tape parade for the World Cup champions, the U.S. women became the first female sports team in American history to be so honored. Of the nearly 200 ticker-tape parades that have been held in New York City, only 12 of them have honored women exclusively; the last one was in 1960 for figure skater Carol Heiss, who brought home a gold medal from the Winter Games. Another recipient of the ticker-tape treatment: Amelia Earhart in 1928.

Moving From “Impossible” to “I’m Possible”

The U.S. women’s soccer team, Serena, and Amelia all share a common desire to push themselves to the limit and blaze new paths. Their drive made them pioneers and shining examples of long-term success. Their separate roads to triumph were filled with hardship and loss, showing that determination and tenacity can make seemingly impossible dreams a reality. And that’s a lesson we all can use.

Image source: Flickr