Days after the Americans’ stunning elimination from the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, several players from the United State women’s national team opened up on social media about the disappointing loss.
Star Alex Morgan penned a message about accepting the “scar” from such a defeat and how she plans to move forward.
“It hurts and it will for a while but this wound will eventually turn into a scar,” Morgan wrote. “Another reminder that we compete because we want to be the best, measure ourselves against the top in the world. This time, we came up short. We know that and I own that.”
Morgan also wrote that “this wound will not only heal but will serve as a defining moment in the history of [the USWNT],” before recalling a statement by women’s soccer great Marta.
“To echo a sentiment from one of the greatest players of all time, ‘Cry in the beginning, so you can smile in the end,'” Morgan wrote.
Megan Rapinoe, whose international career ended with the loss, wrote that it was an “honor to play for our country, with so many incredible women, for so many years.”
“This game is so beautiful, even in its cruelest moments,” Rapinoe wrote in an Instagram post. “This group was so very special, and I am immensely proud of every single one of us. This team is in special hands as I walk away, just like it always was, and always will be. Because that is what this team is all about. We lay it all out on the line every single time. Fighting with everything that we have, for everything we deserve, for every person we possibly can.”
Sophia Smith, who had a chance to send the U.S. to the quarterfinals with her attempt during penalty kicks against Sweden, acknowledged the whirlwind of emotions she has felt over the past two weeks after scoring two goals in the team’s opening match.
“Heartbroken,” Smith began in an Instagram post. “This World Cup was filled with just about every emotion possible, [and] what I’ve learned is more valuable than any experience I’ve ever had. Thank you to those who believed and supported us throughout the tournament, and most importantly to those who still do and never stopped. It wouldn’t be life without moments like this, and I know without a doubt we will be back and hungrier than ever.”
USWNT co-captain Lindsey Horan explained why the loss is part of the reason she enjoys the sport so much.
“Unbelievable… the emotions football can give you,” Horan wrote. “This is why we play right? To live in the biggest pressure moments. To play on the greatest stage. Playing for something you’ve [dreamed] of your entire life. Playing to inspire. Playing to bring joy. Playing in front of all of you. This is why I love this game so much. Thank you to everyone who supported us. Thank you to everyone who doubted us. I’m so proud of this team. So so proud. This one will hurt for a while. Disappointed to not go further but this is football. Football can be won and lost by moments and millimeters.”
Horan ended her Instagram post with a promise.
“We will grow. We will be back,” she wrote with an American flag emoji.
Forward Lynn Williams, who started one match and appeared as a sub in another, remarked on the sacrifices she and her teammates made throughout the tournament, writing she was “proud” of the team.
“When things weren’t clicking, we came together to find a solution,” Williams wrote. “It worked. From the sidelines our performance against Sweden was beautiful to watch, from the field it was a joy to play. That was us. Playing freely and finding our joy again. Unfortunately, soccer can be cruel.”
Williams also remarked on her journey to be named onto the roster as she played in her World Cup debut at 30.
“For me, I am proud of all I have done,” Williams wrote. “A girl from Fresno, CA who didn’t grow up in the youth soccer system, who only had 1 university take a chance on her (Pepperdine), and who had to fight, scratch and claw her way onto this team of elite and powerful women. I hope my story can inspire even just 1 person to not take “no’ for an answer and to keep fighting even if you feel overlooked and underappreciated.”
Longtime USWNT staple and wingback Crystal Dunn shared her disappointment in the result, but was also thankful for the opportunity.
“This game can be so cruel and leave you heartbroken at times,” Dunn wrote. “I am so proud of this group for the fight and the unbreakable bond we had throughout the tournament!”
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