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The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals, set record TV ratings, drawn massive crowds, earned huge revenues for FIFA and U.S. Soccer, and helped to redefine the place of women in sports. But despite their dominance, and their rosters of superstar players, they’ve endured striking inequality: low pay, poor playing condition The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals, set record TV ratings, drawn massive crowds, earned huge revenues for FIFA and U.S. Soccer, and helped to redefine the place of women in sports. But despite their dominance, and their rosters of superstar players, they’ve endured striking inequality: low pay, poor playing conditions, and limited opportunities to play in professional leagues. The National Team, from leading soccer journalist Caitlin Murray, tells the history of the USWNT in full, from their formation in the 1980s to the run-up to the 2019 World Cup, chronicling both their athletic triumphs and less visible challenges off the pitch. Murray also recounts the rise and fall of U.S. professional leagues, including the burgeoning National Women’s Soccer League, an essential part of the women’s game. Through nearly 100 exclusive interviews with players, coaches, and team officials, including Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, Heather O’Reilly, Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain, Pia Sundhage, Tom Sermanni, and Sunil Gulati, Murray takes readers inside the locker rooms and board rooms in engrossing detail. A story of endurance and determination, The National Team is a complete portrait of this beloved and important team.


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The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals, set record TV ratings, drawn massive crowds, earned huge revenues for FIFA and U.S. Soccer, and helped to redefine the place of women in sports. But despite their dominance, and their rosters of superstar players, they’ve endured striking inequality: low pay, poor playing condition The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals, set record TV ratings, drawn massive crowds, earned huge revenues for FIFA and U.S. Soccer, and helped to redefine the place of women in sports. But despite their dominance, and their rosters of superstar players, they’ve endured striking inequality: low pay, poor playing conditions, and limited opportunities to play in professional leagues. The National Team, from leading soccer journalist Caitlin Murray, tells the history of the USWNT in full, from their formation in the 1980s to the run-up to the 2019 World Cup, chronicling both their athletic triumphs and less visible challenges off the pitch. Murray also recounts the rise and fall of U.S. professional leagues, including the burgeoning National Women’s Soccer League, an essential part of the women’s game. Through nearly 100 exclusive interviews with players, coaches, and team officials, including Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, Heather O’Reilly, Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain, Pia Sundhage, Tom Sermanni, and Sunil Gulati, Murray takes readers inside the locker rooms and board rooms in engrossing detail. A story of endurance and determination, The National Team is a complete portrait of this beloved and important team.

30 review for The National Team: The Inside Story of the Women who Changed Soccer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    During the late 1990s, women’s sports came of age in the United States. The benefactresses of the women’s movement and Title IX, girls growing up in the late 1980s and 1990s could finally play sports that had for generations been denied to them. The crown jewel of this generation was the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, which has been nicknamed the women’s Olympics because American women dominated, winning gold medals in many sports across the board. Following the success of the Olympics on home so During the late 1990s, women’s sports came of age in the United States. The benefactresses of the women’s movement and Title IX, girls growing up in the late 1980s and 1990s could finally play sports that had for generations been denied to them. The crown jewel of this generation was the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, which has been nicknamed the women’s Olympics because American women dominated, winning gold medals in many sports across the board. Following the success of the Olympics on home soil, women athletes desired to ride the coat tails of their success. Nowhere would this be more evident than the 1999 United States Women National Team, the soccer team that put the sport on the map and inspired a generation of girls start playing the sport. Most American sports fans can tell you where they were when the 1999 women’s soccer team won the World Cup played in the famous Rose Bowl stadium. The event was game changing as it encouraged girls around the world to take up the sport, but it was also iconic, remembered for Brandi Chastain’s winning penalty kick and her pulling her jersey off afterward. A woman in a sports bra appearing feminine and appearing in the pages of Sports Illustrated demonstrated to sports fans around the world that women athletes could be successful and, for lack of a better word, sexy. Yes, women could have long hair, wear makeup, and be world class athletes. The team lead by Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Chastain made soccer playing look easy, and their ability on the pitch was nearly flawless. While these athletes inspired on the field, they had to fight off of the field just to be allowed to play. The 1999 World Cup championship would just be the beginning of an endless fight to achieve gender equality on and off of the playing field. In the last World Cup cycle, the United States women’s team won in 2015 and are looking to dominate the competition again this year. The men’s team, on the other hand, did not even qualify for their 2018 tournament; yet, the United States Soccer Federation has always favored the men, believing that they are most responsible for revenue. Since before the 1999 victory, the top women players have been in a struggle to achieve an equal playing field. Hamm and Foudy sought advice from Billie Jean King a tennis star who fought for gender equity on tour for her entire career. She encouraged the stars to boycott key tournament games if it meant achieving gains for future generations of players. Usually, the threat of boycott was successful as the players argued for equal locker rooms, medical treatment, playing surfaces, and pay. Yet, the Federation to this day has favored the men, and, despite the women achieving more success on the field, the men still earn more per match despite generating far less revenue from their playing ability. As a result, the new generation of stars has taken up the fight with the Federation in an attempt to gain even more equity in order to completely level the field for future players. Caitlin Murray has covered the Women’s National Team for a myriad of newspapers over the last decade. Yet, in this book, I feel that she was trying to do too much. She jumps from matches to the fight with the Federation and back, not giving much space to any one episode in this book. If she had focused on the 1999 World Cup championship team both on and off of the field, she would have had enough material for a book. She could have gone deeper in character studies and transformed the stars of the team into protagonists for the entire book. Instead, Murray wrote a history of United States women’s soccer since the first often forgotten World Cup winning team of 1991. That team put the wheels in motion for the generation changing team of 1999 to achieve what they have and deserves press; yet, Murray could have achieved more if she focused primarily on 1999 and wrote an epilogue about 2015. As one who enjoys micro history, I would have found this more enjoyable. Twenty years ago, this new batch of stars should deservingly get their due as well. The writing is page turning, and I read the women’s story in a little more than a day; however, as I reflected on the 1999 team, I would have enjoyed more of the book to be about that group. The United States women’s national Team is gearing up for another World Cup next month. Lead by a new generation of stars as Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, and Alex Morgan, the Americans have assembled possibly their best team ever. Off of the field, the women have taken ownership of their fight with the Federation, demanding an equal salary as the men as well as equal training facilities and playing surfaces. Fifteen years from now, a new generation may not have to fight at all. The next national team stars are in grammar school today and looking up to players like Alex Morgan and Morgan Brien. As each generation levels the playing field in all sports, men and women athletes of tomorrow will hopefully be treated the same. All of this success can be traced back to Title IX and later on to the generational changing 1999 United States Women’s National Soccer Team. 3+ stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    In 1999, a revolution occurred in not only women’s soccer, but for women’s sports in general. The United States women’s national team captured the World Cup in front of packed stadiums across the country, capped off by a thrilling win on penalty kicks in the Rose Bowl against China. While this was the first tourney in which many people saw the team, this was not the beginning of the women’s national team, nor would the team rest on its laurels. The entire history of the team, from the humble beg In 1999, a revolution occurred in not only women’s soccer, but for women’s sports in general. The United States women’s national team captured the World Cup in front of packed stadiums across the country, capped off by a thrilling win on penalty kicks in the Rose Bowl against China. While this was the first tourney in which many people saw the team, this was not the beginning of the women’s national team, nor would the team rest on its laurels. The entire history of the team, from the humble beginnings in 1985 to the team looking to defend its title in the 2019 World Cup, is captured in this excellent book by Caitlin Murray. While Murray starts the book with the 1999 team and its watershed victory, her research goes back further to the beginnings of the team 14 years earlier. However, more than the early history of the team, the best research and writing is about what the team endured after 1999, when it was struggling to earn equal pay, equipment and facilities to that of the US men’s national team. It should be noted that the men have not come close to matching the success of the women on the field, having never won a World Cup and failing to quality for the tourney in 2018. In this context, it is often asked why the men’s team is being paid more for less success. Interviews with scores of players, coaches and team officials make the book a complete accounting of the teams. Controversy is not shied away from – the legal and on-field struggles of goalie Hope Solo is just one example of how the not-so-good times are covered as well as the success. On them, there is plenty to cover there as well, even when the team was losing veteran players and getting younger, having coaching changes which would mean different styles of play and also tense contract negotiations. Whatever information a reader wants to find on this team, it will be found in this book. The other theme of the book is to illustrate the struggles of organizing a professional women’s soccer league. Currently, the US Soccer Federation is making its third attempt at fielding a league, this time with much assistance from the men’s professional league in the United States, Major League Soccer. Again, like with the other topics, Murray writes about this from a position of knowledge and the reader will learn a great deal about women’s professional soccer in the United States. Given all of this information, the book is also an easy, fast read. The pages will be turning quickly as the reader absorbs as much as he or she can about the history of the most successful soccer team in the United States. I wish to thank Abrams Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. https://sportsbookguy.blogspot.com/20...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. This is the history of the US women's soccer team, from its formation as an entity, to its gold medal winning ways of today. What seems like it might be some sort of inspirational story is unrelentingly grim, with no sense of joy, only of pique. It's certainly odd, and I don't see how this would inspire any young girls to endeavour to play soccer. Certainly not for the depressed. I won this book in a goodreads drawing. This is the history of the US women's soccer team, from its formation as an entity, to its gold medal winning ways of today. What seems like it might be some sort of inspirational story is unrelentingly grim, with no sense of joy, only of pique. It's certainly odd, and I don't see how this would inspire any young girls to endeavour to play soccer. Certainly not for the depressed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    I loved every second of this book. It enabled to me relive exciting soccer moments and is a great read for anyone who loves soccer. It also documents how each generation of USWNT players has battled for gender equality and the details are so inspiring. I recommend everyone read this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I received this book via Goodreads First Reads program in exchanged for an honest review. The premier women’s national team in the world and the gold standard all are judged upon, saved soccer in the United States not that US Soccer cares to pay them for it. The National Team: The Inside Story of the Women Who Change Soccer by Caitlin Murray reveals the struggles and triumphs of the United States Women’s National Team from its inception through to the present day both on the field and within the I received this book via Goodreads First Reads program in exchanged for an honest review. The premier women’s national team in the world and the gold standard all are judged upon, saved soccer in the United States not that US Soccer cares to pay them for it. The National Team: The Inside Story of the Women Who Change Soccer by Caitlin Murray reveals the struggles and triumphs of the United States Women’s National Team from its inception through to the present day both on the field and within the confines of power within the U.S. Soccer Federation. The Women’s National Team came together by accident in 1985 for a FIFA sponsored mini-tournament in Italy, from that small start began the rise of the powerhouse of Women’s soccer. The circumstances around this beginning would color the program in the eyes of U.S. Soccer as being unimportant for decades to comes and the uncaring concern of FIFA for developing the Women’s game was another hindrance, including calling the first Women’s World Cup anything but. Yet beginning in 1996 with the inclusion of Women’s soccer in that year’s Olympics in Atlanta, the U.S. Women would begin changing the face of the sport in the American consciousness. The pivotal moment came in 1999 with the third World Cup tournament taking place on home soil, without much hype brought about by either FIFA or U.S. Soccer, it was the players themselves that for half a year prior to the tournament promoted it in every city that would host games with clinics and friendlies that made the tournament a success in the beginning but also put pressure on the team itself to perform on the field. The victory of the U.S. Women in 1999 followed by the 2000 gold medal saved the sport of soccer in the United States—this from a Hall of Fame men’s player—after the U.S. Men’s disastrous 1998 World Cup performance. Yet after all their success, the women weren’t paid better nor given better overall treatment by U.S. Soccer. This trend would continue until present; the U.S. Women would continually have success while the U.S. Men would struggle though it was the latter that U.S. Soccer would treat like princes. The repeated failures of women’s professional leagues, two sabotaged by Major League Soccer, has been a financial burden for women players and the third attempt funded and run by U.S. Soccer has become a bargaining chip between both players and federation in the long running pay equality struggle between the two for almost two decades. Chronicling the ups and downs both on and off the field of the USWNT in a readable manner was not an easy task for Murray. Devoting herself to the “Team” as a whole and its members at a given time, Murray would only give brief biographical sketches of historically important and momentarily prominent players but enough to help the overall work. Dealing with the team dynamic over the decades and the team vs. federation battle over the same period, Murray was able to shift between one and the other seamlessly mainly because both go together hand-to-glove. The financial issues that are prominent in the news today are nothing new between the two, it is just that the players have decided to come out in public including using U.S. Soccer’s own 2016 budget showing the organization is only profitable because of the Women’s team, a situation even more pronounced after the Men failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. However, the team dynamics of players relationship with themselves and with their coaches shows that Women’s team is not immune to human nature and egos especially as seen in the 2007 World Cup in which the veteran’s backstabbed Hope Solo and then convinced the team to shun her when she spoke out for having been replaced in goal for a semifinal match. The National Team is quick-paced biography and history of a group of players that join, stay, then leave to make room for the next generation, but everyone deals with the same burden to succeed and fight U.S. Soccer. Caitlin Murray’s gives the reader both an overview and intimate look at the team, it’s accomplishments, and failures. With the 2019 World Cup just around the corner, this is a must read for fans of the best Women’s Team in the world.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura I.

    [Second, more detailed and even more positive review, written in May 2020 -- because, you know what, this book was fantastic and deserved 5 stars] You probably know the 2019 USWNT team – Alex Morgan’s tea-sipping pose, Rapinoe’s killer set pieces, Tobin Heath’s fancy footwork, Christen Press’s heartbreaking hands-toward-heaven goal celebration, Alyssa Naeher’s incredible saves…I could go on. But do you know the story of those three other stars on their jerseys? Did you know that back in 1999, you [Second, more detailed and even more positive review, written in May 2020 -- because, you know what, this book was fantastic and deserved 5 stars] You probably know the 2019 USWNT team – Alex Morgan’s tea-sipping pose, Rapinoe’s killer set pieces, Tobin Heath’s fancy footwork, Christen Press’s heartbreaking hands-toward-heaven goal celebration, Alyssa Naeher’s incredible saves…I could go on. But do you know the story of those three other stars on their jerseys? Did you know that back in 1999, you could have found Mia Hamm handing out flyers at young girls’ soccer camps, just to let people know about the upcoming Women’s World Cup (the third iteration of the tournament ever, and the first to field 16 teams), which, by the way, the U.S. won? Did you know how hard they had to fight the U.S. Soccer Federation just to get basic things like not being in middle seats in the smoking section on planes to tournaments, and not having to take hotel shuttle buses to games? Caitlin Murray gets into all that, and everything in between, in The National Team. Although the hardcover edition cuts off right before the 2019 World Cup, the paperback version is updated to include last year’s win, so I’d highly recommend getting that one. This non-fiction book is stock full of fascinating (and infuriating) facts and anecdotes. Caitlin Murray interviewed star players from each iteration of the team, including from Brandi Chastain to Rose Lavelle, Briana Scurry to Ashlyn Harris, as well as coaches, administrators, and lawyers. This is an incredibly complete story, but you can also tell why Caitlin Murray excels as a sports writer – she is so good at conveying the drama and describing games & tournaments in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat, even when you know what’s going to happen. If you already love the USWNT, this book will make you very happy (and, unless you’re the world’s most knowledgeable fan, you’ll probably learn something new!), and if you don’t yet love them, you will by the time you finish this book. [Initial review, January 2020] Loved this!!! I learned so much. The writing is nothing fancy — pretty standard sports writing, but good at conveying the drama and describing games & tournaments in ways that kept me on the edge of my seat (even though I knew what was going to happen!). Def get the updated version if you can (it includes the 2019 World Cup and interviews with Rapinoe and ends on a really nice note). I love the USWNT so much!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Original review posted on my blog From Ink to Paper I received this book as an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I have played soccer since I was in first grade and still play on a recreational league today. I remember going to see Mia Hamm play and how amazing it was to watch the team. When I saw this book I jumped right on the chance to read it; to read what it took for women to make it soccer. This book was full of information about how the National Team was formed to how it Original review posted on my blog From Ink to Paper I received this book as an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I have played soccer since I was in first grade and still play on a recreational league today. I remember going to see Mia Hamm play and how amazing it was to watch the team. When I saw this book I jumped right on the chance to read it; to read what it took for women to make it soccer. This book was full of information about how the National Team was formed to how it and the women’s soccer league is now. However, it didn’t feel like I was reading a history book, instead it was like reading a story. I have watched the World Cup games and the Olympic games, but I don’t remember everything about it, not even what games they have won during the competitions. So reading it was just as exciting as if I was watching it going omg do they win what is going to happen?! So it was a lot of fun to read. The part about women’s soccer that I never realized is that when I was younger if my dream had been to be a professional soccer player it probably wouldn’t have happened. I had no idea how much the women have gone through to get where they have been. They were never treated as well as the men and some couldn’t continue to play because they hardly got paid and had to quit their dream. But there are those that persisted and worked hard to get women’s soccer where it is today. This book did a great job of giving the background on players, the struggles of forming a women’s league, the struggles that the team themselves had, and just overall information that is not out there. The book isn’t dry, the writing is well done, there are parts that have quotes from the women who have been on the National Team and who are still on the National Team. So you get different points of view. I definitely recommend this book and am so glad I had the opportunity to read it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    Right before reading this, I read "The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team and How It Changed the World," which focuses mostly on the '99 champion team as well as how the USWNT got there. It was great to follow that up with this one, which moves through that early period in about 75 pages and then digs into the following eras up through shortly before the current 2019 World Cup. Although there is a lot here, its core is documenting the struggles the national team players have been thro Right before reading this, I read "The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team and How It Changed the World," which focuses mostly on the '99 champion team as well as how the USWNT got there. It was great to follow that up with this one, which moves through that early period in about 75 pages and then digs into the following eras up through shortly before the current 2019 World Cup. Although there is a lot here, its core is documenting the struggles the national team players have been through to earn the respect, compensation, and professional conditions they deserve as the best in the world. I've followed women's soccer for years (fan of the national team since childhood, regular NWSL viewer, etc.) and I learned a TON about the history of the NWSL and the two leagues that failed before it, disputes with US Soccer, and the evolution of the players' collective bargaining agreements and why. I think this is essential context if you really want to understand the current team's organizing for equal pay, control of their own brands and financial futures, and fights for further professionalization of the NWSL. Another awesome aspect is how much the US soccer team has inspired and actively helped other women in sports, from the WNBA to US women's hockey to the many teams at the current World Cup whose federations are treating them much like our federation treated our team two or three decades ago. The solidarity is inspiring. If there is one downside of the book from my perspective, it's that it does tend to focus heavily on controversy and scandal. On the one hand, it's interesting to hear that "inside story," but on the other, it does get into the muck a bit. This is not really a heartwarming inside story of player friendships or goofy moments. However it IS a story of strength, of athletic greatness, and of real women forging a new future for their sport and country, with strong emotions of joy and fear and hope and victory. Worth a read this World Cup season.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Teri

    This is one of the best books about women's soccer in America that I have read. Caitlin took it back to the 80's and 90's when women's soccer in America was just getting started. She provides a ton of behind the scenes information from past and current players, touching on World Cups, women's professional soccer leagues here in America and all the work many of the players have gone through to get fair compensation and basic necessities like uniforms that aren't hand-me-downs from the mens team. This is one of the best books about women's soccer in America that I have read. Caitlin took it back to the 80's and 90's when women's soccer in America was just getting started. She provides a ton of behind the scenes information from past and current players, touching on World Cups, women's professional soccer leagues here in America and all the work many of the players have gone through to get fair compensation and basic necessities like uniforms that aren't hand-me-downs from the mens team. I liked that she references books from other women soccer players like Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd was well as interviews from many players from the NWSL and USWNT. It is a really enlightening book that any fan of women's soccer in America should definitely read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    The US Womens National Soccer Team are tremendous on the field - but the impact of all their work off the field to negotiate better pay and equitable treatment is just as great. They are setting the standard for female athletes around the world. If only someone from FIFA and the US Soccer Association would read this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura Beard

    I played soccer on a team from age 5 until I had children and I watch the US women’s national team on tv so I love soccer! I think a lot of people would enjoy it even if they don’t like soccer though. I really enjoyed learning about the history of the team and their advocacy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sage

    PAY 👏🏻THEM👏🏻WHAT👏🏻THEY👏🏻DESERVE👏🏻 #EqualPay That’s it. That’s my entire review. Jk jk jk but in all seriousness, I absolutely LOVED this book and am sad that it is over, I could have read so much more about the badass USWNT and their history. Obviously I’d known of Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, but I was a child when the 1999 World Cup was happening and I don’t remember watching it. The first time I distinctly remember getting behind the USWNT (besides the casual fangirling of Abby Wambach, who g PAY 👏🏻THEM👏🏻WHAT👏🏻THEY👏🏻DESERVE👏🏻 #EqualPay That’s it. That’s my entire review. Jk jk jk but in all seriousness, I absolutely LOVED this book and am sad that it is over, I could have read so much more about the badass USWNT and their history. Obviously I’d known of Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, but I was a child when the 1999 World Cup was happening and I don’t remember watching it. The first time I distinctly remember getting behind the USWNT (besides the casual fangirling of Abby Wambach, who grew up in my area and is a hometown hero 😍) is the 2011 World Cup — that nail-biting final with Japan is burned into my brain, but it makes their comeback all the more sweet. I learned so much about USWNT history in this book, and how hard players have had to fight for years and DECADES to get even a fraction of what they deserve. Basically my reaction to all of that (the money, the turf issues, the heavy-handed ness of U.S. Soccer) was a big giant WHAT THE FUCK, which I probably said every other page. Things that should be a no brainer, to me, like paying the women’s team equally to the men’s (at least - and ESPECIALLY because the men’s team is so much worse, yet raking in the cash 🙃😒) seemed to be SUCH A STRUGGLE for U.S. Soccer and all the corporate assholes, and totally impossible because they just “didn’t have the money”...??? No, you have the money, you just refuse to prioritize the women’s team because they don’t matter, and you keep using the “well we’ve poured more money into the women’s team than any other country in the world” excuse. It just is mind boggling. All rants aside (maybe) I absolutely LOVED every part of this book, even the ones that made me angry on the team’s behalf. I loved getting to see an inside look into what makes the team tick, the team mentality, and getting to “meet” some of the players that were absolutely crucial in a) the dominance of the team and b) the continued negotiations for equality. As an “armchair soccer” fan and a former journalism major, this book was everything I wanted. I just wish it was updated to include the amazingness of the 2019 World Cup! Now, I’m off to buy some U.S. Soccer gear - specifically gear that the players see 100% of the proceeds, ie. not U.S. Soccer branded things, but player branded things, like a scarf with Alex Morgan’s face on it etc. (Page 289) #TheMoreYaKnow

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    This is a five-star read about the women who launch Ladies soccer to the world. Yet their greatness is what they contributed to equality in women's sports thus lifting the entire fight for women's equality in all aspects of life for the underserved. Caitlin Murray has written that which could easily become the definitive history of the Women's National Soccer Team. Move over Miricle on Ice! Brandi Chastain fired the shirt (jersey) that was Heard Around the World! The 1999 USA Women's Soccer Team This is a five-star read about the women who launch Ladies soccer to the world. Yet their greatness is what they contributed to equality in women's sports thus lifting the entire fight for women's equality in all aspects of life for the underserved. Caitlin Murray has written that which could easily become the definitive history of the Women's National Soccer Team. Move over Miricle on Ice! Brandi Chastain fired the shirt (jersey) that was Heard Around the World! The 1999 USA Women's Soccer Team became the new Dream Team. This team sweep the sport of soccer and raised respect for women everywhere! Pioneers Hamm and Foudy would not tolerate the disrespect and inferior treatment the National Team had earned and deserved! They were willing to walk. They already accomplished a lifetime of dreams and would walk away from the oppression imposed by Soccer USA and FIFA. Caitlin Murray told the behind the scene stories that the soccer public wasn't privileged to. Murray gave an in-depth view of personalities, legal proceeding, and coaches. With the 2019 women's cup around the corner, this is a must-read. Inside views of Hope Solo and my favorite story of the relationship Alex Morgan had with Pia Sundhage were fabulous. Can Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Julie Ertz, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, and Becky Sauerbrunn pass the traditions to the future of USA Women's Soccer? I think so, it's been in the best hands since the start, The Players!!!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Part 1 of my USWNT obsession. Honestly, while it definitely helped that I am a recent soccer junkie (with this book adding fuel to this nascent fire), this was an incredibly well-written study of the national team. I've dabbled in other nonfiction/journalistic pieces, and I felt like this was genuinely the best I have ever read. I've come across Ms. Murray before in her WoSo pieces for The Guardian, so I knew that I would enjoy her writing, but I was thoroughly surprised by how she maintains susp Part 1 of my USWNT obsession. Honestly, while it definitely helped that I am a recent soccer junkie (with this book adding fuel to this nascent fire), this was an incredibly well-written study of the national team. I've dabbled in other nonfiction/journalistic pieces, and I felt like this was genuinely the best I have ever read. I've come across Ms. Murray before in her WoSo pieces for The Guardian, so I knew that I would enjoy her writing, but I was thoroughly surprised by how she maintains suspense throughout her piece. Personally I feel that many nonfiction pieces struggle with maintaining their audience's interest. Facts and interviews are interesting and all, but oftentimes pieces in this genre fail to transition and establish continuity. Murray's study on the other hand, provides seamless transitions between chapters. I was 70% into The National Team at 3 AM and it pained me to put it down. Additionally, I was reading this ebook on my iPhone 7, and yet I was so enthralled by this piece that I felt it was well worth the eye strain. I would highly recommend this piece to anyone interested in the USWNT both on and off the pitch. In between vivid descriptions of matches, the book details (and dare I say... *spills the tea on*) the dynamic between teammates, coaches, and the U.S. Soccer Federation. #equalpay #USWNT #NWSL

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I really enjoyed reading about the USWNT. I've been watching them since the 99 world cup. This was a great review of their history, starting from the 80s, leading up to the world cup later this year. From this history, I have a better understanding of the past events that I recall from two decades of watching, and how the present fits into this larger narrative. My quibble is that the title mentions the women who changed soccer, but the emphasis is on the team itself. The work and its focus is c I really enjoyed reading about the USWNT. I've been watching them since the 99 world cup. This was a great review of their history, starting from the 80s, leading up to the world cup later this year. From this history, I have a better understanding of the past events that I recall from two decades of watching, and how the present fits into this larger narrative. My quibble is that the title mentions the women who changed soccer, but the emphasis is on the team itself. The work and its focus is clearly on the team, and has significant space devoted to their ongoing relation with US Soccer. This relation is one that repeatedly places US Soccer in the wrong (of which I generally agree), and so I wish there was more from this opposing perspective to better establish the narrative. I still greatly enjoyed the book, but the book is clearly about the team itself and not the backgrounds of our favorite players. I recommend it to soccer fans. (I was provided a free ARC via Goodreads)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Gonzales

    5/5 Stars. I’ve been following the USWNT since I was a little girl. After the 1999 World Cup, my mom signed me up to play soccer at age 4. I was one of millions of girls who picked up a soccer ball as a result of the 99ers. Throughout the years, I would watch them play when I had the chance, but it wasn’t until the 2015 World Cup that I started following the team extensively. The National Team is a well researched account of the USWNT, and filled in so many gaps I had in my knowledge of the team 5/5 Stars. I’ve been following the USWNT since I was a little girl. After the 1999 World Cup, my mom signed me up to play soccer at age 4. I was one of millions of girls who picked up a soccer ball as a result of the 99ers. Throughout the years, I would watch them play when I had the chance, but it wasn’t until the 2015 World Cup that I started following the team extensively. The National Team is a well researched account of the USWNT, and filled in so many gaps I had in my knowledge of the team. A major aspect of this book is how these women have had to overcome the obstacles set in place by US Soccer to continually receive better treatment, both on and off the field. Originally these women would have to play in men’s recycled jerseys, their original bonus for winning the inaugural World Cup was just $500. This book highlights their current fight with The Federation to receive equitable treatment to the men’s team and is a fantastic read to prepare for this years World Cup as the US fights to defend their title.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Macdonald

    Obsessed with this book! I loved the detail of the players, the game..all of it. I kept putting the book down to search plays, players or interviews. Then I kept calling my kiddos over to watch plays, listen to soccer interviews. While we love soccer and play constantly I am not familiar with much history, US or otherwise. Huge learnings about US soccer leadership, management,building the business of soccer in the states and, for a long time, utter lack of support. Systemic poor treatment and pre Obsessed with this book! I loved the detail of the players, the game..all of it. I kept putting the book down to search plays, players or interviews. Then I kept calling my kiddos over to watch plays, listen to soccer interviews. While we love soccer and play constantly I am not familiar with much history, US or otherwise. Huge learnings about US soccer leadership, management,building the business of soccer in the states and, for a long time, utter lack of support. Systemic poor treatment and prejudice against the team highlights the ongoing need to push for equality, even more so give today's success and structure. Excellent highlights of how the US women's early leaders Hamm, Foudy and Chastain, among others, were true leaders and made significant leadership and management decisions to improve the game, league and individual players. Not only excellent players but dogged business women unwilling to settle. So impressive. And disappointing in US soccer for years of prejudicial treatment. Looking for a good follow up soccer documentary next!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ilias

    This was a very different book abt the history of women's soccer! It is very clear that the previous one was by an academic and this one is by a reporter. Murray writes in clear, short paragraphs. While I wouldn't qualify her writing as dry, it doesn't include the analysis that the last book did. She states the facts clearly and concisely and moves on. Because of the writing style, this book goes very quickly. It covers 30 years of history in what seems like the blink of an eye. Murray provides p This was a very different book abt the history of women's soccer! It is very clear that the previous one was by an academic and this one is by a reporter. Murray writes in clear, short paragraphs. While I wouldn't qualify her writing as dry, it doesn't include the analysis that the last book did. She states the facts clearly and concisely and moves on. Because of the writing style, this book goes very quickly. It covers 30 years of history in what seems like the blink of an eye. Murray provides play-by-plays of important games, but generally moves quickly through years and seasons, focusing on the team's relationship with US Soccer. I did cry ~3 times, which is definitely partially hormonal, but also a result of the extremely moving subject matter. I would recommend this book as a background text on the history of women's soccer in this country. Murray devotes several chapters to WUSA, WPS, and the NWSL, which I appreciated. I definitely feel like everything in this book affirms my belief that the Chicago Red Stars are the best and only sports team in the entire world.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    The USWNT has been a touchstone in my life for as long as I can remember. The 99 squad will forever be my heroes, and I’ve fallen in love with each iteration of this team in a new way. This is the story from the beginning. The very beginning, before there was a women’s national team. It largely tells the story that happens between all the major milestone moments, in between the World Cups and Olympics. The story of the fight for their rights as players, of coaching changes and more. Murray inter The USWNT has been a touchstone in my life for as long as I can remember. The 99 squad will forever be my heroes, and I’ve fallen in love with each iteration of this team in a new way. This is the story from the beginning. The very beginning, before there was a women’s national team. It largely tells the story that happens between all the major milestone moments, in between the World Cups and Olympics. The story of the fight for their rights as players, of coaching changes and more. Murray interviewed all the right people for this book and the details are all there, all the ones you only caught glimpses of in the news. I found the early years especially fascinating because we only got to watch major tournament games on tv. I’d recommend this to anyone who has loved the team their whole life like me, or to anyone who has fallen in love with them recently. You’ll love them even more after this.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Almost as compelling as the women who have made up the USWNT itself, Murray’s book is eminently readable and covers not only the soccer, which fans have always known, but also the mountains the women have had to scale in their fights first for tolerable and now for equal treatment. These women repeatedly do things no others can do, but they face the same challenges that women have always faced in patriarchal society. I think that maybe their ability to come up big in nearly every important situa Almost as compelling as the women who have made up the USWNT itself, Murray’s book is eminently readable and covers not only the soccer, which fans have always known, but also the mountains the women have had to scale in their fights first for tolerable and now for equal treatment. These women repeatedly do things no others can do, but they face the same challenges that women have always faced in patriarchal society. I think that maybe their ability to come up big in nearly every important situation will allow them to be the ones to lead the charge to dismantle the patriarchy. A bit much? Nah, I love these women and have loved them since ‘99 (would have been earlier, but stupid grad school); they have my full confidence. Lead on, my queens.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Annelies Quinton

    This book is incredibly inspiring and very well written. The book explores the decades of hardship the US Women's National Soccer Team has endured. From basic rights, like women's cut uniforms, to gender pay discrepancy, the book shares the nature of the team and their endless courage to fight for their rights. The women presented in the book are amazing role models to everyone, especially young women, as they encourage people to fight for their rights and not be afraid to go against social norm This book is incredibly inspiring and very well written. The book explores the decades of hardship the US Women's National Soccer Team has endured. From basic rights, like women's cut uniforms, to gender pay discrepancy, the book shares the nature of the team and their endless courage to fight for their rights. The women presented in the book are amazing role models to everyone, especially young women, as they encourage people to fight for their rights and not be afraid to go against social norms. The book is written to appeal to both soccer fanatics and those who despise the sport, as it's purpose is to highlight the tenacity of the woman on the team, not the specifics of how they played.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paul Carr

    This is the best single book I’ve read about the history of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The author traces the team’s path both on and (perhaps more importantly) off the field, relating how the team came together and matured in multiple ways. Looking back through a 2019 lens, one finds it hard to believe the difficulties the team encountered, and how they persevered to change the face of women’s sports around the world. Recommended for anyone interested in soccer or even women’s fight This is the best single book I’ve read about the history of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The author traces the team’s path both on and (perhaps more importantly) off the field, relating how the team came together and matured in multiple ways. Looking back through a 2019 lens, one finds it hard to believe the difficulties the team encountered, and how they persevered to change the face of women’s sports around the world. Recommended for anyone interested in soccer or even women’s fight for equality and recognition.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Samantha G

    The stories the USWNT have to tell are incredible but they deserve a better storyteller. Murray breezes through the facts and the only thing that gets you invested into the stories are the quotes and actions of the players involved. This is a good, quick read for someone just learning about the National team but it left me feeling there was a lot about the team left on the table. The book gets heavy into collective bargaining towards the end which gets a bit dry and didn't seem to fit with the t The stories the USWNT have to tell are incredible but they deserve a better storyteller. Murray breezes through the facts and the only thing that gets you invested into the stories are the quotes and actions of the players involved. This is a good, quick read for someone just learning about the National team but it left me feeling there was a lot about the team left on the table. The book gets heavy into collective bargaining towards the end which gets a bit dry and didn't seem to fit with the tone of the rest of the book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I received an ARC of The National Team in a Goodreads Giveaway. The National Team is a concise history of the US Women's National Soccer Team starting in the 1980's through the present. The book balances stories of the team's success with stories of disheartening inequality. I also found the interwoven story of the attempts to form a successful U.S. professional league fascinating. I recommend this enjoyable read. I received an ARC of The National Team in a Goodreads Giveaway. The National Team is a concise history of the US Women's National Soccer Team starting in the 1980's through the present. The book balances stories of the team's success with stories of disheartening inequality. I also found the interwoven story of the attempts to form a successful U.S. professional league fascinating. I recommend this enjoyable read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Great read, and good prep for the WWC. Definitely confirms that the US Soccer federation has always been the villain of this story.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Dankoff

    Would rate it a bit lower for its all-over-the-place writing, but I just love these ladies and this team. Watch out, Paris. David has become Goliath and she came to PLAY.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    fantastic overview of the women's national team, including the evolution of their work towards gender equality. fantastic overview of the women's national team, including the evolution of their work towards gender equality.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Friend

    Everything you ever wanted to know. And more!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anoka County Library

    Excellent, in-depth exploration of the history of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team. Murray expertly describes the technical aspects of the team's pivotal wins and losses over the past 30+ years - beginning with the first Title IX babies coming of age by winning the 1991 Women's World Cup and ending just before the 2019 Women's World Cup (which the U.S. wins for a fourth world championship). The sportswriter conveys the drama of the highest-stakes games at various stages of each major tourna Excellent, in-depth exploration of the history of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team. Murray expertly describes the technical aspects of the team's pivotal wins and losses over the past 30+ years - beginning with the first Title IX babies coming of age by winning the 1991 Women's World Cup and ending just before the 2019 Women's World Cup (which the U.S. wins for a fourth world championship). The sportswriter conveys the drama of the highest-stakes games at various stages of each major tournament the team plays. The real action, however, takes place behind the scenes. The political battles the players wage to secure their preferred head coaches were only cursorily mentioned in the press prior to the publication of this book. But it's the incessant war the team has had to wage with U.S. Soccer to secure any measure of professional respect - salaries, safety measures, pregnancy protections, etc. that left my jaw on the floor. U.S. Soccer is the governing body for both men's and women's professional soccer in the United States. The long, consistent pattern of the federation's disparate treatment of the men's and women's teams is on staggering display here. Did you know the first U.S. women's team had to sew their own uniforms? That Kristine Lilley had to run out and buy bagels for the team right before a practice because U.S. Soccer hadn't furnished breakfast at one of their mandatory camps? That U.S. Soccer paid the legendary 1999 world championship team that captured the nation's heart a meager $500 bonus for winning the World Cup? That Kate Markgraf was cut from the team for giving birth to twins and had to fight to regain her place on the roster? The list goes on... The Women's National Team has had to battle for every win, on and off the field, they have ever achieved. There have been many setbacks along the way (like the recent loss in federal court on yet another pay equity dispute). But the warrior spirit the team has always displayed on the field has translated into significant progess mitigating workplace equity issues for all women off the field. This book and the history it describes is astounding.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ann Coenen

    I really enjoyed reading this and learned a ton about the history of women’s soccer. If you follow the sport, or even if you don’t- I think it’s a very interesting read.

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