World Cups are special events.
In the U.S., they serve as rallying cries, not just for the Men's and Women's National Teams, but for the sport of soccer as a whole. The tournament galvanizes the country's football fans, whether they follow the Premier League, MLS, NWSL, La Liga or the Tippeligaen. For a few weeks, that singular soccer voice moves the needle. Last summer, during the men's World Cup, we witnessed watch parties at gun shows in Texas and hardware stores in Tennessee; irrefutable proof that football's pulse beats strongly between the coasts.
Today is the day we've awaited since the USMNT bowed out of Brazil 2014 in that painful but pride-inducing loss to Belgium. The USWNT begins its World Cup campaign against the Matildas of Australia in Winnipeg [7:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1].
Lead by head coach Jill Ellis, they will attempt to bring home the USWNT's third World Cup. The first since 1999, when the "99'ers" captured the hearts of football fans across the country by winning the tournament on home soil.
Over the last few months, we've had the great pleasure of speaking with several of the players leading the campaign North of the Border. Last August, Alex Morgan joined us on stage during a live show in Portland to talk about the months of preparations that lay ahead. Since then, we've been fortunate enough to speak to charismatic winger and hair hero Megan Rapinoe; striker-turned-defender Kelley O'Hara; and World Cup veteran Heather O'Reilly, who was even brave enough to venture into the Panic Room. We've also interviewed the captain of the aforementioned '99 team, GFOP Super Julie Foudy, about what she sees in this generation of American footballers.
Each and every one of the players who've joined us has been warm, articulate and extremely intelligent. Their personalities, along with their play, make us confident that this summer, THE World Cup returns to its spiritual home. #USAUSAUSA #NoSleepTill Vancouver
Julie Foudy 06/03/2015 - LISTEN HERE
Heather O'Reilly 03/25/2015 - LISTEN HERE
Megan Rapinoe 10/29/2014 - LISTEN HERE
Alex Morgan 08/05/2014 - LISTEN HERE