It’s World Cup time and I’m so excited to cheer on Team USA! My name is Megan Oyster and I am a professional women’s soccer player for the Seattle Reign and in the off-season, an athlete ambassador for Athletes for Hope. I feel so lucky to cheer on this year’s national team. I’ve been fortunate enough to share the field with the majority of this 23-player squad and I can tell you first hand, it’s filled with absolute studs.
These women are the types of players that you love as teammates but can’t stand playing against. They are the ones your coach creates entire PowerPoints about filled with their strengths and wishes you the best of luck defending. As we inch closer to kickoff, I wanted to tell you a little more about the dedication, resilience, and tenacity of these incredible players from my perspective – as a teammate.
Let’s start with Sam Mewis. She was my college teammate and one of the main reasons our team at UCLA was so successful. Her strengths are endless and it’s been evident in the recent World Cup send-off series where she’s scored three goals in three games. One of Sam’s biggest assets is her long-range shot. She can shoot from anywhere and everywhere. When we were at UCLA, Sam would always gather up balls after practice and shoot from a variety of angles and distances, one ball after another, rep after rep. Now when I see Sam rip a bomb from 30 yards out in the same spots she practiced, I’m not surprised at all and I also can’t stop cheering. She has earned each and every one of those goals.
Megan Rapinoe is another major weapon for the U.S. and is also my current teammate with Reign FC in the NWSL. She is a free-kick master and I can assure you that did not just happen by chance. After training, while everyone else is cooling down, “Pinoe” will set up dummies and challenge our coaches to a free-kick competition. She hits unreal benders, curved and dipping shots, and lasers to the corner. She tries it all. Sometimes the ball will sail high above the goal making the rest of laugh, but when it comes time to take those game-changing free kicks, she’s the one drilling it into the back of the net.
Lastly, I’m so happy to see Ali Krieger on the squad. She’s a fan favorite and someone I had the opportunity to play with my first year in the NWSL with the Washington Spirit. I was a true rookie and doing my best to learn how to be a professional. Thanks to Ali’s leadership, I had the best example to show me the ropes. She cared about every single detail of training. The perfect texture of a pass, how to drive a ball smoothly on the grass, the tempo of play, how to focus during stretching, how to take care of your body before and after training, even how one should stand when the coach is talking. She does it all, every second of every day. When I see Krieger about to go 1v1 with the some of the best forwards in the world, I think to myself, this forward has no chance.
Needless to say, these women are more than ready for the challenge ahead. The competition is going to be the best yet and the games are going to be thrilling to watch. I’m deeply inspired by all of the hard work that these players have put in to prepare for this opportunity and I can’t wait to watch it all pay off!
And thank you Athletes for Hope for always cheering on women’s soccer and for uniting us in community service! The real MVPs!
By Reign FC Defender, Megan Oyster