It’s hard to narrow down the achievements in women’s soccer in 2017 to just 10 as so many milestones and record breaking events took place. Girls Soccer Network would like to highlight just a few that caught our attention this year. Read up on all everything you might have missed in 2017 in preparation for what is sure to be an eventful 2018 in women’s soccer!
USWNT and U.S. Soccer reach fair wages agreement
The U.S. Women’s National Team finally reached an agreement in April after five players filed complaints of wage discrimination in March 2016. With their new agreement ensured through 2021, USWNT players will see a number of improvements and a push for growth in the league as a whole.
USWNT host inaugural Tournament of Nations
In an attempt to offset the sometimes empty summers in soccer, the USWNT created the first ever Tournament of Nations, hosting Brazil, Australia and Japan in the states for the competition. The U.S. suffered a loss to Sam Kerr’s native Australia but came back with wins over Brazil and Japan.
The Netherlands win UEFA Women’s European Championship
In what could be argued as the best soccer game of the summer, the ladies in Orange completed their Cinderella story at home this summer, defeating neighboring Denmark in a 4-2 thriller. The host country’s journey to the finish was like nothing they’d ever seen before, and there were record-breaking audiences both at the matches and at home.
NWSL becomes longest standing women’s soccer league
The National Women’s Soccer League made leaps and bounds this year. Not only did the NWSL make it to its fourth season and become the longest standing women’s soccer league in the U.S., but it also partnering with A&E Networks to broadcast league games in real time. The NWSL showed the sports world that equity and equality can be one in the same in women’s soccer!
New players create NWSL Player’s Association
After the USWNTPA made waves of their own for equal pay, the non-allocated players in the NWSL decided to make waves of their own. The Players Association was announced as a new organization specifically working to represent and create better and more equal circumstances for the professional players not allocated by USWNT. You go, girls!
Portland Thorns win NWSL title
The Pacific Northwest natives beat the ever-powerful North Carolina Courage to take home their second NWSL title this fall. It may not have been the prettiest game to watch, with several rough plays and injuries, but the game surely was something no one wanted to miss, with huge crowds tuning in to see the action unfold.
Stanford takes the NCAA College Cup crown
The talented Stanford squad won their second NCAA title in program history this year defeated in-state rivals UCLA in a 3-2 final. It was quite the showdown with the Cardinal taking a 2-0 lead in the first half, only to have it slashed by the Bruin early in the second half. Still, the resilient Stanford side came out victorious with a third goal in the 67th minute.
Julie Ertz awarded U.S. Soccer Women’s Player of the Year
Ertz stepped up to the plate this year as defensive midfielder for the USWNT, making a serious impact in the final eight games of the year where the U.S. went 7-1. With this honor, she becomes the third player to be named both U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year and Young Female Player of the Year.
NWSL says goodbye the FC Kansas City and hello to Utah Royals FC
After news broke of FC Kansas City’s unfortunate fold, the women’s soccer community was all ears wondering where the new team would end up. Sandy, Utah will now be home to Utah Royals FC, the new NWSL club to be owned and operated by MLS squad Real Salt Lake. Two-time NWSL Coach of the Year Laura Harvey will lead the new team for the coming 2018 season.
Women’s national teams around the world fight for equal pay
While the USWNT’s fight for equal pay was widely broadcast in the U.S., Australia, Denmark, Sweden and Brazil were just a few of the other women’s national teams that stepped up for equal rights in the game this year. While these teams faced the consequences of fines and forfeited games, they continued to fight and deliberate with their respective federations for better pay and playing conditions. We’d say girl power was a sure theme of 2017!
Image via @USWNT