When the U.S. women’s national team lines up to play England in the SheBelieves Cup on Saturday, you won’t see the names of Morgan, Rapinoe and Sauerbrunn on the backs of the jerseys. Not that Alex, Megan and Becky will be missing, but the USWNT jerseys vs England will be displaying something more important than the surnames of some of the best players in the world.
To honor Women’s History Month, the U.S. players will wear the names of women who have inspired them on the back of their jerseys.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) March 2, 2019
Women’s History Month, coming on the heels of Black History Month, began Friday and the USWNT is wasting no time honoring women, who were recently elected into U.S. Congress in record numbers.
The American players chose a wide variety of iconic women, from the fields of science to Hollywood, popular literature to activist poets, outspoken musicians to inspiring Supreme Court justices. Some chose former teammates, others chose figures from other sports.
There were no wrong decisions here (although based on trolls on our Facebook after the U.S. wore rainbow jerseys last year, I’m sure people will make shortsighted comments asking where men’s history month is).
Courtesy of U.S. Soccer, here is the full list of the names on the back of the USWNT jerseys for the England match, complete with the reasons each player chose that name.
USWNT Jerseys vs England
#7 Abby Dahlkemper — Jennifer Lawrence, Actress
“I like her because she’s always true to herself. She’s not afraid to be who she is, she’s outspoken and talented. It’s not easy to remain an authentic person when you’re in Hollywood but through it all, the praise and the critics, she’s managed to keep on laughing and live her life. She’s also big on pushing boundaries and creating positive change.”
#12 Tierna Davidson — Sally Ride, Astronaut
“I picked Sally Ride because when I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut. In my room, I still have a ton of space posters. She was the first female American astronaut to go into space so she’s a big role model for me. I later found out she also went to Stanford so that’s another connection. I definitely looked up to her when I was younger. I still have a Teddy Bear that was signed by her that was given to me by my aunt.”
#19 Crystal Dunn — Serena Williams, Tennis great
“I love her. Serena Williams has been my idol for a very long time. I actually watched her play before I was even watching women’s soccer. She inspired me to be an athlete and inspired me to want to be at my best. She’s someone that has broken down so many barriers and that’s hard to even put into words.”
#8 Julie Ertz — Carrie Underwood, Singer
“I wanted someone that I remembered from when I was younger, and I remember coming home from soccer games and my family and I would tune into American Idol and we cheered for her. She’s true to who she is and her beliefs and when I was looking into picking someone, I liked how she’s a strong woman, a faithful woman and very much into family. She’s also married to an athlete and understands that aspect of life too. I love how real she is.”
#22 Emily Fox — Elena Delle Donne, Basketball player
“I picked her because my grandma and grandpa live in Delaware and they have been following her since she was in high school. They introduced me to her in the sense of who she is as a person and athlete. I love how incredible she is on the court and in being herself, and how she ended up picking her family above all – dropping out of UConn to be closer to her family and especially her older sister."
#21 Adrianna Franch — Briana Scurry, Former USWNT goalkeeper
“I picked Briana because I grew up watching her on the National Team and that’s who I wanted to be when I was a kid. When I was little, the U.S. team came to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and I was able to go in connection with ODP. I gave her a high five on her way out of the field and I was like, ‘I’m never washing this hand again!”
#24 Ashlyn Harris — Cardi B, Rapper
“I picked Cardi B because I like what she stands for. She doesn’t blend in with society and what people expect her to be. She’s just her and doesn’t care being normal and fitting in and being ordinary. I can appreciate that. She owns her story, all of her story. I think a lot of us can learn something from that. Here she was, a stripper trying to make ends meet and singing hip-hop and rap on the side, and now her life has completely changed. She owns it and still goes and supports those women because it’s a part of who she is and not something she is trying to hide. I love that."
#17 Tobin Heath — Doris Burke, NBA broadcaster
“For me personally, it was hard to try to pick someone. My role models growing up had always been male footballers or just men — most of the greatest have always been men. So, that’s why this whole thing is so cool, because we’re trying to change that and show that some of the greatest are women as well, even though there still aren’t enough of them. Doris… she’s just the bomb. It’s been a long process for her and she’s obviously been the first in many things she’s done in terms of broadcasting. I love the NBA and basketball is my second favorite sport to watch, and I just feel the respect that she’s been able to earn through the process, not only from the people in her field but also from the guys on the court who know the game in and out. So, to have them respect her so much is just the greatest honor. It’s like them saying ‘you’re one of us,’ and she’s totally earned that.”
#16 Rose Lavelle — J.K. Rowling, Author
“Oh, I picked her because she is a genius, is very generous and has a cool story to tell. I had been on this vicious cycle of reading books 1-3 of Harry Potter every summer and then re-starting because I wanted to remember everything that I had read the previous summer, but now that I’m out of school I have finally been able to read it all the way through. Now I’m on the seventh book. So, thank you for sharing your talent with the world. The world is a better place because of you."
#10 Carli Lloyd— Malala Yousafzai, Youngest Nobel Prize laureate
“Malala is someone who stood up for what she believed in even though she knew she could be killed for it. Even after being shot and almost dying she has continued to fight for and inspire women around the world.”
#20 Jessica McDonald — Maya Angelou, Poet/activist
“Where do you even start? She’s an amazing human being. I love her poetry, but I think it’s more so her words and how she uses them that captured my attention. Reading her quotes and her poetry has inspired me in a lot of ways, especially on a bad day. I can always go back to her poems.”
#3 Samantha Mewis — Mia Hamm, Former USWNT player
“My sister and I loved watching her when we were growing up and she was our favorite player. On my youth teams, we always used to fight to be able to wear the No. 9 jersey. I remember watching all her goals over and over and watched the National Team games on VHS tape and I would rewind every time she scored. I had her poster too. When I had to think about someone that inspired me, I felt that she was my most authentic answer because I’ve always been inspired by this team and the women that have been a part of it."
— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm) March 2, 2019
#13 Alex Morgan — Abby Wambach, Former USWNT player
“I kept trying to think of who I wanted on the back of my jersey and who has been the biggest inspiration to me both in my career and in my life. It’s difficult to pick someone that I haven’t met, but you obviously think of people like Michelle Obama or Billie Jean King. These are people I definitely look up to, but when I think about who has had the greatest effect on my career and my life, I think of my family and my teammates.
“And when I think of my teammates, there’s no one who has helped guide me or give me advice and confidence more than Abby. I’ve never had that sort of partnership with someone like I had with Abby. She made me believe in myself at times when I didn’t. She instilled this confidence in me. She was always there for me, and as teammates sometimes fighting for the same position, you can sometimes be selfish, but she was completely opposite of that. She wanted to have success, but she also outwardly told me that she wanted me to have more success than she ever had. She wanted me to break whatever records she set. Having someone that really fought and believed in me and told me about her belief in me was pretty incredible. I’ve never come across someone like that.”
#1 Alyssa Naeher — Robin Roberts, Broadcaster
“I picked Robin because she spoke at a basketball camp I was at when I was probably 13 or 14, me and my sister were there — we were the only girls in camp — and she made an impact on me. We used to watch her on SportsCenter every morning with Stuart Scott, so we were excited to hear what she had to say. Since then, going through her whole story, she’s battled cancer and started the ‘make your mess’ message. I watch GMA every morning. It’s part of my routine."
#5 Kelley O'Hara — Heather O'Reilly (HAO), Former USWNT player
“My Irish soul sister! I always looked up to her even before I knew her as a person. Once I became teammates with her, she just embodies everything that I think makes the perfect teammate and friend. She’s also always looking out for the greater good of the group, has a positive outlook and you look to her to bring everybody along and follow their lead.”
— Heather O'Reilly (@HeatherOReilly) March 2, 2019
#23 Christen Press — Sojourner Truth, Abolitionist/women’s rights activist
“Sojourner Truth is the original intersectional activist – advocating for people who have layers of oppression being black and female. She is the ultimate hero for us today, centuries later, as we grapple with the same problems and try to better our world regarding these complex social issues."
#11 Mallory Pugh — Beyoncé, Singer
“She’s a badass. She’s confident and is just a good role model for women in general because she represents something that is so much bigger than herself. She’s inspiring in her industry and all over the world. She is a person who allows and shows women that they can be who they are and flaunt it.”
#15 Megan Rapinoe — Audre Lorde, Writer/activist
“Audre Lorde was unapologetically herself. She so beautifully and powerfully expressed all parts of herself and her experiences at once. She was a woman, a lesbian, a feminist, a person of color, a civil right activist and a poet. She understood so clearly that change does not come from playing by the existing set of rules.
"I hope that wearing her name on the back of my jersey will encourage more people, myself included, to learn about her as a person, engage with her writing, and appreciate how influential one person can be.”
“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference — those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older — know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master's house as their only source of support.” — Audre Lorde
#4 Becky Sauerbrunn — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice
“The Notorious RBG. She’s a complete rock star. Dissenting opinion, battling cancer and then showing up to vote… what can’t she do? I just think she’s amazing.”
#14 Casey Short — Katie Sowers, NFL coach
“I chose Katie Sowers because first and foremost, she’s amazing. She’s a coach in the NFL and leading the way and showing girls and women that you can do this too and I think that’s incredible. And I also know her personally and I think she’s a wonderful human and very inspiring.”
#2 Emily Sonnett — Tina Fey, Writer/comedian
“Tina Fey... she is a cooool woman. She’s a UVA alum. I took a couple of drama classes in college and they would always talk about her. She’s done so many great things, SNL obviously, and everyone is obsessed with Mean Girls. She’s incredible and her style of comedy is amazing. She’s really involved with women’s rights and her approach to those issues is probably what I really enjoy about her.”
#6 Andi Sullivan — Jessica Mendoza, MLB broadcaster
“I picked Jess Mendoza because I really admire her breaking boundaries in sports. When I was in school, I got to hear her speak about persevering through challenges and people doubting her and I think that was really helpful for me to help me believe in myself.”
#25 McCall Zerboni — Mother Teresa, Saint
“I picked Mother Teresa because she is the ultimate definition of selfless love and serving for others without getting anything in return.”