Kickin’ It at the Women’s World Cup

I think lots of people know what it’s like to grow up with one certain sport that’s almost always on the television or radio in your house – I know I do! In my family, our sport was soccer. Every weekend, my parents, my brother and I would watch games on TV, mostly ones that were happening all the way in Europe. That meant sometimes we had to wake up as early as 6 a.m. to see them! We traveled to see teams like Liverpool and Manchester United when they came to play in America, and I can’t even remember how many days I spent at the indoor soccer complex when I was a kid. 

We would also always watch the FIFA World Cups (sort of like the Olympics for soccer, where each country sends a team of its best players to compete against other countries every four years). The World Cup is interesting because there are separate tournaments for men’s teams and women’s teams, held in different years. And do you want to know a secret? I always thought the men’s World Cup was a little boring. Maybe that's because while the men’s team for the United States was almost always eliminated very early on, it seemed like the US Women’s National Team (or USWNT) couldn’t be stopped! They just kept winning and even if they didn’t get first place, it was always close. 

For example, did you know that the USWNT has won four out of the eight total FIFA Women’s World Cup Championships that have been held since 1991? That means they’ve won half of all the gold medals ever given out for this competition! And the worst they have ever done was third place. Can you believe that? 

In a world where the biggest sports stars always seemed to be men, the USWNT and the Women’s World Cup were the opposite. I think that’s why it’s so special to me to this day and why I can’t wait to watch the games this year! 

To get in the mood for some soccer, kick it off with one of these great books about female players! 

One Life: With the news of her upcoming retirement, now is the perfect time to learn more about one of the greatest players in the game (as well as a prominent activist), Megan Rapinoe. 

Key Player: When the Women’s World Cup comes to Southern California where Mia lives, she has a plan to combine her love of soccer and her love of journalism. She's going to interview the players! But can she manage it and still pass P.E. in the process? 

Merci Suárez Plays It Cool: Eighth grade brings a lot of things to juggle – a new haircut, new popular kids (that aren’t Merci), new family problems. When one of the popular girls on the soccer team starts being friendly to Merci, she's not quite sure what her next move is. 

The Many Fortunes of Maya: After her parents split up, MJ feels torn between them and the different parts of her life. She chooses her dad’s favorite activity, sports, over her love for playing the flute, but that just leaves her confused. When team drama leads to a fight with a friend, MJ has to figure it out all by herself (with a little help from her collection of fortune cookie fortunes).

So how about it? Are you ready to kick off the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup?