By Tyler Prich
In the shadow of the United States Men’s National Team’s loss at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2015 U.S. Women’s National Team had a chance to redeem its country and promote the sport of women’s soccer. The problem was gathering attention from the U.S. audience, but with the help of social media, their run to the title was one of the most watched sporting events in recent history.
Emotions were boiling in the hot July sun when the United States women were facing Japan in the final match of the 2015 Women’s World Cup. After grinding for months, fighting past Germany, facing the same team that had stolen the title from them four years ago, with the whole nation behind them, and on July 4th Weekend! The whole world sat on the edge of their seats until the pregame shows finally ended and the ball is kicked!
The game was decided in the first 16 minutes.
After all the buildup, the United States scored four goals in the 16 minutes, and the game ended 5-2. Japan was decimated and Americans celebrated as Americans do: with USA chants. The ratings crushed the U.S. record for a soccer match. The 25.4 million turnout was 88% higher than the same match-up back in the 2011 final, and even higher than the peak of the recent NBA Finals.
Social Media drove months of anticipation before the World Cup even began. Even though it ended in a lop-sided finish. It started with the use of #OneNationOneTeam. The men’s team used this campaign the previous year, it embodied the American spirit and sense of unity so well that the team chose to keep it as a parallel – and it worked Marvelously. Celebrities and athletes dawned personalized jerseys and posted pictures of themselves wearing them in support of the women’s run. From Barrack Obama to Beyonce. Many of the U.S. Men’s players even tweeted out to their counterparts who wore the same jersey number. All over the country, people posted texts, images, videos all in support of a sport finally receiving the attention it deserves.
The USWNT unveiled the newest campaign before their first official game, with a special feature on Twitter. Flags appeared next to any tweet with either #SheBelieves or #USA. The Tweets stood out well on social media, especially since the flags were in the shape of a leaf – because the game was in Canada. The team did a fantastic job promoting the tournament throughout the run, and the country was united in showing their support.
Not to mention a series of badass pump-up videos leading up to every game.
Following the trophy presentation, Social Media continued to explode. The center of attention belonging to Abby Wambach, star forward. Immediately after the final whistle, Wambach ran to the stands to kiss her wife. A vine captured the moment and received 2.3 million views in a short period of time. It was a another great moment that social media spread in the wake of gay marriage being legalized nationwide.
Then came the parades.
The team went on a victory tour around the country, from L.A. to New York, and there was a parade in each one of them. Each one was captured on social media. Snapchat even had stories running at each parade, complete with views from the audience and the players. You were able to feel the excitement when Wambach hoisted the trophy in the midst of a confetti storm.
From the qualifying rounds to the celebration, the USWNT victory was documented on Social Media for the whole country to see.