Women’s World Cup will be an entertaining tournament

Published 2:46 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Summer is a special time for me as a soccer fanatic. Each summer, there is a smorgasbord of international soccer tournaments to enjoy almost literally from the time I wake in the morning until the sun sets in the afternoon. This summer’s headlining international tournament that I intend to enjoy is the Women’s World Cup.

Women’s World Cup is a relatively new tournament that only got started in 1991, but it was first known as the FIFA Women’s World Championship because FIFA, soccer’s governing body, feared that the event would be a flop. Only after it was determined that the tournament was a success and the decision was made to continue to hold the tournament every four years, did FIFA retroactively decide to call the 1991 tournament a “World Cup”. Since the initial tournament in 1991, it has only continued to grow in quality and popularity.

Why do I look forward to World Cup tournaments, whether for men or women? Well, first of all, the World Cup tournaments include the absolute best players from around the world. I am able to enjoy old, familiar faces of veterans that have proven their quality and value over time. At the same time, young players that are not so well known often become household names after bursting onto the scene at these tournaments. Furthermore, I can never really tell exactly who will win. I often have a handful of favorites, and it is only as the tournament begins that I can tell whether the team is going to live up to expectations, grow in unity and dominate, or disappoint altogether and crash out. Then, there are those teams that come out of nowhere to surprise with shock wins to advance into the late rounds of the tournament. To compare to a sporting event that many Americans are familiar with, it is kind of similar to March Madness in college basketball.

This year, there are four teams that will make their very first appearances in the Women’s World Cup. These teams include Chile, Scotland, South Africa and Jamaica. Quite frankly, none of these teams stand much of a chance to make a deep run into the tournament, but it is so special to see the faces of the competitors as the national anthems from their countries play for the first time before the initial matches. Although they have little chance to win the tournament, the women representing these countries during this tournament will give their best efforts to be competitive and make people in their native lands proud.

One of the more compelling stories of the first time teams is that of the Jamaican women. The Jamaican Federation basically abandoned funding the team around 2010 in order to invest its limited resources towards the men’s team. However, Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s daughter, got involved in fundraising efforts to revive and save the team. As a result, Jamaica became the first Caribbean team to ever compete in the Women’s World Cup. I simply cannot help but to cheer for a team like this that has overcome so much just to be a part of the tournament.

So, which team will be the one left standing in the end when all the dust settles? It is anyone’s guess. I will offer some teams that will be in contention. Host country, France, is very talented and could be the team to win it all. That would not surprise me in the least. Germany is also a strong possibility. England and Australia can also make a run deep into the tournament, and they are possibilities to come out on top in the end. China and Japan should also not be ruled out, as they can make some noise and finish as the winner of the tournament. However, if pressed, I would venture to predict that the United States will be the winner.

Unlike the men’s tournament that was held last year in Russia, the United States is represented and represented well in the Women’s World Cup. Already having won the tournament on three other occasions (1991, 1999, 2015), this team is also loaded with veteran talent as well as outstanding young talent that should spell success. On paper, this team is poised to win its fourth Women’s World Cup. However, the tournament is not played on paper, and it is tremendously difficult for teams to repeat as World Cup Champions for various reasons. Although I favor this team to win it all, I would also not be shocked to see them exit the tournament at any time during the knockout stages. Only time will tell whether this version of the U.S. Women’s team will live up to their collective potential.

No matter which team comes out on top in the end, this will no doubt be an intriguing and entertaining tournament. I know that my attention will be focused on the action each day. I encourage those out there that have never given the Women’s World Cup a chance to sit down and take in some of the action this summer. You may just come away with a new appreciation of the game that you have never had before.