Japan’s Rumi Utsugi, right, and United States’ Carli Lloyd vie for the ball during the second half of the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Sunday, July 5, 2015. The United States won 5-2.
Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via Associated Press

The USA national team became the first to win the Women’s World Cup three times when it defeated defending champion and old nemesis Japan, 5-2, last Sunday in Vancouver, British Colombia. There was much significance to the win, a host of them, but probably the most significant thing that came out of the historic victory was echoed by the USA coach Jill Ellis: “Pure elation and I’m just so proud of them, and so happy for every American girl who dreams about this.”

As Ellis said, “… happy for every American girl who dreams about this.” Carly Lloyd, recipient of the Golden Ball Award as the best player in the tournament, and her teammates gave a lot of power to the next generation of American female players, who now have the strongest motivation that breathes champions – the dream of winning a World Cup and being the best team in the world… And knowing that Americans girls can do it!

The USA showed good technique, tactical acumen and sheer power and bravado on the world stage; the women captured the hearts and minds of many around the world with a display of confidence, professionalism and superiority. They were the toasts of soccer purists because they passed soccer’s old litmus tests echoed in old adages: a great team never loses to the same foe twice; and great teams put away important contests within the first 15 minutes of the match.

Japan had rallied twice when it beat the USA for the title four years ago in Frankfurt, Germany, but the Americans remembered and said never again; with 16 minutes of the kick-off on Sunday, the Americans were ahead, 4-0. Lloyd, the ‘beast’ as Ellis calls her, had scored a hat trick, the first in a women’s World Cup final, and added to the highest score in a women’s final by helping to prop up the score. Lloyd now is in world class company as only she and English legend and West Ham United star, Sir Geoff Hurst, share this accomplishment. Hurst scored a hat trick versus Germany in the 1966 final at Wembley Stadium in London when the host defeated Germany, 4-2, to win England’s only world title.

There were other very significant moments to the World Cup win; all-time international scoring leader Abby Wambach will retire with a world title, and so will her veteran teammates Christie Rampone, Shannon Boxx, Heather O’Reilly and Lori Chalupny, all stalwarts who contributed on this historic journey. We saw the last and have also said goodbye to another great female player, former Japan captain Homare Sawa, who led her country in victory over the U.S. four years ago and won the Golden Ball Award. Sawa, showed her class and recognized a moment never to be duplicated again, when she greeted Wambach with a high-five touch of the hand as the American entered the World Cup game for one last time.

This 2015 USA World cup team may just have secured the future of USA women’s soccer for quite some time.

Champions Parade

New York City is staging a big bash for the U.S. World Cup champions with a big ticker-tape parade on Friday, July 10, 11 am, down the famous Canyon of Heroes path in downtown Manhattan, on Broadway between City Hall and Battery Park. Fans are invited to celebrate the U.S. champions and wear red, white and blue.

USA beats Honduras

The USA men’s national team is off to a winning start to its CONCACAF Gold Cup defense with a 2-1 win over Honduras in the teams’ tournament opener on Tuesday night at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Clint Dempsey tallied in the 25th minute when Honduras defenders failed to clear the ball from the crowded goal area; Dempsey headed in the bouncing ball. In the 64th minute, Honduras failed to defend another high cross in the box, this time midfielder Michael Bradley sent a high ball into the goal area, but Honduran defenders allowed Dempsey a clear path to the header for a 2-0 lead.

The U.S. could consider themselves lucky; they were barraged with shots and totally dominated by Honduras in the first 25 minutes of the game, but Honduras failed to score during the surge; as is the case in the game, when the Americans scored, the game began to change.

In the other Group A match, Haiti rallied behind 21-year-old Dukens Nazon’s 86th minute goal to give it a valuable 1-1 draw against Panama in the first game of the doubleheader at Toyota Stadium on Sunday. Nazon dribbled past Panama defender Cummings before beating goalkeeper Jaime Peneda of Panama low to his right. Panama, the 2013 runner-up, took the lead in the 55th minute when speedy Alberto Quintero latched onto a missed clearance by Haitian defender Reginal Goreux and placed the ball in the right corner of the net. On Friday at Gillette Stadium in Fox borough (Mass) Panama plays Honduras and the USA takes on Haiti.

Lampard joins NYCFC

The wait is over for New York City FC and the local fans, as Frank Lampard, the former England international and Chelsea FC midfielder will play his first game for the club on Sunday, July 12, against Toronto FC. NYCFC has won four of its last five games, with the last win coming last Saturday in a 2-1 triumph at Montreal Impact. David Villa scored both goals… the New Red Bulls lost, 2-1, to the Columbia Crew.

Caribbean Cup

In the local Caribbean Cup tournament at Jefferson Sports Complex in Flatlands, Brooklyn, last Sunday, Team St. Kitts and Nevis defeated Team Guyana, 2-0, and Team St. Lucia defeated Team St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 7-0. Games continue at the same venue on Sunday at 3 pm.

United States’ defender Christie Rampone (3) and rest of the team celebrate 5-2 victory over Japan at the conclusion of Women’s World Cup final, Sunday July 05, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Mo Khursheed / TFV Media via Associated Press

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