World Cup was full of red, white and blue


From left, the United States’ Megan Rapinoe, Lauren Holiday, and Carli Lloyd celebrate Sunday after Lloyd scored her second goal of the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer championship match against Japan in Vancouver, British Columbia.

It was hard not to get caught up in the Women’s World Cup the last few weeks.

The soccer World Cup had a little of everything.

And it was all capped off by the U.S. winning the world championship on Sunday.

There was the aging 35-year-old veteran Abby Wambach, who wanted to win the World Cup more than anything, but had been relegated to off-the-bench status.

There was all-world goalkeeper Hope Solo, who flew threw the air to bat down shots, then dodged the media amidst investigations of her domestic violence issue.

There were up and coming superstars like forwards 26-year-old Alex Morgan, 27-year-old Tobin Heath and 27-year-old midfielder Lauren Holiday. There was also youngster 22-year-old midfielder Morgan Brian.

Amy Rodriguez played for Wambach and supplied speed up front.

There was the veteran ball of energy midfielder Megan Rapinoe.

And in front of Solo was a standout defensive unit led by 23-year-old Julie Johnston.

If that wasn’t enough, along came 32-year-old veteran Carli Lloyd, who steered the team through the knockout rounds. Then, in the 5-2 championship victory over Japan, she supplied a World Cup finals record of three goals.

And one of those goals came from midfield, a shot she took when she saw the keeper from Japan taking a stroll far from her net.

Lloyd had six goals and one assist for the seven-game World Cup and was the tournament’s MVP.

Looking ahead, it will probably mean the end for aging stars like Wambach, 40-year-old Christie Rampone and 38-year-old Shannon Box.

The 33-year-old Solo could go one more Olympics and one more World Cup, but her off-the-field issues may determine her fate, as well.

And if you get the chance, read Solo’s book, “Solo: A Memoir of Hope.” It’s a candid, amazing story of her soccer life and her dysfunctional family.

While Solo was in school, her father lived much of his life in a tent in the woods. Solo would often visit him there.

How’s that for family stability?

I’ve always been a fan of area high school and college soccer.

I expect both to get a jolt of energy from the World Cup this fall.

If you play for a women’s college team or a girls high school team, how could you not be excited to play after watching Morgan, Johnston, Lloyd, Rapinoe and Solo play the game with full-out energy and enthusiasm.

Girls soccer has been on the rise in the area.

Ottawa-Glandorf’s girls soccer team became the first team from this area to reach the state finals last year.

Even though the Titans lost in the finals, they knocked down the door to prove teams from the area could win in the regionals over powerhouses in northeast Ohio, southeast Ohio and Columbus.

With the success of all girls sports in our area, it’s only a matter of time before a girls soccer team brings home a state title.

And when it does, there is no question that the players would have had taken something from watching the likes of Lloyd, Morgan and Solo.

Reach Tom Usher at tusher@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter at @Lima_Usher.

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