Will Leitch, writing in New York Magazine, makes the point that the political activism of the USWNT means their win was all the sweeter.
They spoke up, they stood their ground, they taunted, they danced, they sipped tea, they were joyously defiant from the very beginning. And that’s why they’ll go down in history in a way that even previous Women’s World Cup champions won’t. Previous generations have found activism, or even simply stating your viewpoint on matters of the world, a detriment: Something that got in the way of the game, of winning, of earning, of thriving. But this team and Rapinoe are legends now — and, even better, are role models now in a way that athletes actually should be role models, an investment that will only bear more fruit in the decades to come – because they demanded to be heard on the issues they cared about and then went out and kicked everybody’s ass to boot. They will be more beloved, and richer, and more successful, having spoken out than if they hadn’t. Activism was bold, but more than that, it was smart. This was so much more fun because of it.