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It’s all said and done, and one more World Cup is over and done with, and four more grueling years to wait for another.

As the golden confetti litters the field, it mirrors that of the many hopes, dreams, failures, wins and losses that were played. I hope that all regrets were left on the pitch, and played out with no feelings of ill sorrow or guilt.

This tournament proved to be one full of lessons, as some were painfully learned. But the most valuable lessons will hopefully raise to the top and shine brighter, as such did in the case of how the Final played out…Loosing.  There is a quote that goes something like this, “It’s not if you win or lose but what you do when you lose.” To me that indeed does show the makings of a real champion. It would be easy and a no brainer to act all peachy all the time, if everyone could win everything, but that’s just not possible, there has to be a looser and there has to be a winner.  If you can walk away from a hard-fought battle that you were the odd favorites, or you lost unjustly, there was horrible officiating or perhaps you even choked, which ever the case that got you to the point of the loss, it’s really doesn’t matter, but what does matter is how you deal with it. Will you be pissed at yourself, biter at the competition, make excuses, own your mistakes, or point fingers?  Will you learn and move on, applaud your foe, congratulate them or spit at them with disdain? All I see when I look at the women of the US National team is CHAMPIONS. Champions of heart and spirit. Some might argue we claimed to be the best and tried to own it. But let me ask this, who doesn’t envision the finnish line? The moment of victory? I think its good to be confident in your abilities with the actions that back it up, you can’t win if you don’t believe in yourself. Let me be straight here however, what gets me red is the blatant arrogant display of cockiness, cheating, and disrespect aimed, which I saw none of that from this team. I only saw respect, honor, grace, teamwork, loyalty, reverence and the heart of warriors.  I am proud to support and claim them as “my team”. Always have, always will.

I am sure they saw their mistakes and I can only imagine and hope they will learn from them. What doesn’t kill us perhaps will only make us stronger, as we leave it up to them to decide their fate. What more can you ask for? They gave it their all, with a fully engaged heart, soul and body. You can’t regret the outcome of that!!!

Congrats to both teams with the greatest HEART!!

Photos: Getty/AP

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There’s something about a fighting spirit that can’t be quenched.  It pushed beyond any boundaries and limitations set before it.  It goes further than the will ever thought possible as it floats on the wings of the Human Spirit.  The willingness to push beyond the pain and do that one extra step, go one moment longer, train that much harder, go further, one second faster.  The never say die attitude, and by not quieting short or giving up can prevail far beyond the raw talent and ability one might posses. The human spirit of shier will and resolve can out weigh the best of them.  I would rather have a fighter with true grit and tenacity than someone who relies on their raw natural ability any day. Period.  Don’t give up and sell yourself short. Push yourself beyond the limits and see what awaits you….

Photos: AP/Getty

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 This is what births champions…

NEVER say die… Pressure does ‘indeed’ make us.. 

USA scores first, 90 seconds into the game with a cross into the box, Wambach gives trouble for two defenders and a deflection of their own defense causes a goal. Later with a foul on Wambach, Marta mad at the call yells in Abby’s face to get up, while fuming she even shoves the ref and perhaps even spits on Abby in disgust.  Marta trying to pull calls with whining, attempts to make something out of nothing instead of playing the ball. A red card is given on a clear challenge by Beuhler on Marta in the box in the second half, where Marta obviously flopped and was waiting and once again prying for a foul.  She gets the call for a PK and therefor the USA was forced to play down one player the rest of the game. All of the stadium in Dresden even knew it was a botched call and a blatant flop as every time Marta touched the ball from then on, ‘BOOs’ would roar and be heard from the crowd.

HOPE saves the mighty PK, only to be told it was encroaching, so she gets a yellow card.  They get to re-kick the PK even though she never came off her line!!!  Marta takes the next one, it goes in… They are tied 1-1 at end of regulation.  In overtime, Marta gets another goal by a flick across goal with a generous bounce. 2-1 Brazil.  With seconds only left of the match, Rapinoe assists the latest goal in all of World Cup history. (in stoppage time in the extra time (120+2). Rapinoes perfect cross into Wambach feeds her with a solid header into the net…goal.  Tied 2-2.  It will go to shoot out PK’s.  After 2 kicks each, its 2-2, Hope saves the third kick, and all we have to do is make last two shots.  We do!!! We are going onto the Semi-finals!!

After playing most of the second half down a man and also the extra 30, against one of the top contending teams of the tournament, we showed what it means to play all or nothing. It’s only fitting to finally end with a win on our terms, on our time and not have the blown calls dictate the final outcome of the match.

Even after the worst refereeing ever, (probably one of the worst in Women’s World Cup history), 12 years ago to the day, back in ’99, we went to PK’s and won (5-4) against China PR to win the finals.  So the fighting spirit of the USA and this team shall continue to fight once again.  Never quiet, never say never, never give up.  Pressure makes us indeed!!

We all need to boycott the flopping, below par sportsmanship and lack of class from some of the Brazilians (or any team for that matter) but especially from their star player, Marta. It shouldn’t matter how good you are, if you’re the best player in the world or the worst, if you are not going to play with class, your seat belongs on the sidelines!!! You taint the beautiful game.  I would say for a game that is supposed to be wonderful and great, the flopping, complaining, bad sportsmanship, and the botched refereeing, with all the uncalled for cards, and the on/off side missed calls; this game from the Brazilian side will go down as anything but BEAUTIFUL…

 In order to keep this game really ‘jogo bonito’, politics, corruption and payoffs must be left off the field and it has to be left up to the players to decide who’s better that day; period!
 

All photos thanks to AP/Getty

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I am not sure what’s all the ruckus is about.  Just about five minutes after coming into the second half, Rapinoe smashed a long drive whooshing by the goalie into the net from just outside the goal box.  In celebration she ran to the opposite corner and sang in the fuzzy pitchside microphone the line “Born in the USA” to Springsteen’s tune. Now some are saying that Americans don’t really truly understand the meaning of the song, and that the real meaning of the lyrics are about the war.  I am questioning just this though, what if Rapinoe just sang it for merely the fact of what she sang, She is PROUD to be born in the USA. Not signaling anything other than the fact that the Women’s National Team does indeed have something to be proud about, playing for a country, playing for a team, playing for yourself.  First coming off of a rocky start to qualify into the World Cup as well as playing as underdogs for a team that is actually labeled #1 in the world. They are playing for the honor and respect to wear the red white and blue on their sleeve, to show some reverence to the great nation that birthed them. There is nothing wrong with that….

Photos: AP, Getty Images

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