U.S. Women’s National Team earns 2-1 win against the Nigeran National Team

Josephine Caplan, Spread Editor

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, or the USWNT has made history yet again. On Tuesday, September 6th, the USWNT played a non-league game at Audi Field, marking the first time they have ever played a match in DC. The stadium was packed, with a total of 18,869 fans. They beat the Nigerian National Team, 2-1. 

Although the team had many close calls in the opening minutes of the match, they weren’t able to execute many of them. But, in the 24th minute, US forward Malory Pugh kicked a dangerously driven ball into the penalty area, which Nigerian defender Demehin attempted to clear, accidently directing the ball into her own net and placing the US Team one goal up. Then, four minutes after halftime, Nigerian substitute forward Kanu ripped a shot into the upper right corner of the goal, passing US Goalkeeper Casey Murphy and breaking the team’s nine game shutout streak. 

Directly after the Nigerian goal, their speed of play intensified, and the need they had to score was higher than ever. In the 65th minute of the game, two time World Cup Winner Megan Rapinoe entered the game. Just 73 seconds after she got in the game, Rapinoe served a brilliant cross towards the Nigerian goal, placing the ball right on the head of US forward Rose Lavelle, who’s header then hit the goalpost and rolled directly in the net. This assist officially tied Rapinoe with former US player Abby Wambach for the third most amount of assists in USWNT history. The Americans did well keeping possession the rest of the game, making it harder for the Nigerians to have a chance to score. The U.S. had a tough time making clear-cut chances themselves, but at the end of the game, they did enough to secure themselves the victory. 

However, winning that night came second to the huge achievement they got for women all over the world. Directly after the game at Audi Field, the US had a signing of the first ever CBA, or Collective Bargaining Agreements, that declared equal pay between the US Women’s National Team and the US Men’s National Team. This sets the bar for all other international teams to get on board and hopefully follow in America’s lead. 

The fight for equal pay has been a long, grueling battle. There have been many lawsuits that have had to have happened over the years to get us to the place we are today. The first ever national team for women was only in 1985. The first ever men’s soccer team was in 1862. It took years for the world to allow women to even play a sport, and it’s been 37 long years of fighting for equal pay. The fact that this day has finally come has stirred up a lot of emotions and brought many people from afar to join in on this momentous occasion.

Several greats from women’s soccer were there to join in on the celebration, including Julie Foudy and Christine Lily; two retired players who were on the USWNT. Becky Saurebrunn, a USWNT defender and head pioneer for the fight for equal rights spoke during the event. She thanked all the people who helped out on their journey to achieve equal pay, and highlighted the two other players who made the whole fight possible, Sam Mewis and Crystal Dunn. Sauerbrunn also mentioned the players who actually negotiated the CBA including Lynn Williams, Midge Purce, Tierna Davidson, Kelley O’hara, and Alex Morgan. Walker Zimmerman, a player for the U.S. Men’s National Team, sent a video in on behalf of the whole team, congratulating the women and telling them how happy he was that this historic moment had finally come. The majority of fans stayed to watch this agreement happen live. 

The celebrations are high for the women’s team, and all around America. This moment of gaining equal pay has been thought of for years, but never seemed like it could be reality. Now, the sky is the limit for women’s soccer, and more importantly, for all women around the world.