USA Softball Is Fully Behind The USWNT, On And Off The Field
COLUMBUS, Ga. — The United States women’s national soccer team won’t be the only U.S. women's national squad competing for a gold medal on Sunday. One hour after the USWNT kicks off against the Netherlands in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final in France, the U.S. women’s national softball team will begin its battle versus rival Japan for the title at the USA Softball International Cup stateside in Georgia.
And much like the USWNT team, the USA Softball squad is the top-ranked international team in the world. They represent the best that American softball has to offer, featuring players who are devoted to both winning on the field and advancing their sport and the women who play it off of it.
“It’s cool for us because we see just how big a women’s national team can be,” Team USA outfielder Haylie McCleney told Softball America. “They’ve obviously set the bar really high as far as branding and followers, and they really just dominate their opponents. It’s something that we can try to work into our own brand, as well. They are just boss women. It’s awesome to see.”
Aside from the success they’ve achieved on the pitch, USA Softball’s senior national team players admire their soccer counterparts for the work they’ve done on behalf of women and girls in their recent advocacy for equal pay.
“We were talking about it the other day, we love what they stand for,” USA Softball infielder Kelsey Stewart told Softball America. “It’s not just about soccer, it’s about so much more. It’s about women’s rights and standing up for what you believe in.”
As it pertains to the highly-debated goal celebrations several USWNT players have demonstrated thus far at the 2019 World Cup, members of USA Softball stand behind their fellow Eagles.
“I think it’s awesome to see because lots of people talk about women and how we celebrate the different things we do, but if it was a man we were talking about, it would be OK,” Stewart added. “It’s OK for women to celebrate and be awesome at what we do.”
While USA Softball's players have often been competing or practicing at the same time the Americans have played during this year’s World Cup, they are constantly asking about the USWNT.
“Any time that we’re warming up and they’re playing, or whatever it is, we are always trying to follow them and asking about the score,” McCleney said. “We’re pretty big fangirls. I think if they showed up at any of our games, a few of us would probably freak out, for sure.”
USA Softball’s stars took their fandom to the next level recently when they decided to outwardly express their support for the USWNT. Each member of the softball national team now owns a 'USA vs. Everybody' T-shirt, which the USWNT made popular.
“We all have one,” Stewart said. “We love it. We support them to no end and everything they represent. We have kind of the same caliber of women on our team. When I see Alex Morgan, it reminds me of Valerie Arioto, or when I see (Megan) Rapinoe, it reminds me of (Haylie) McCleney.”
Though they will be competing for gold medals thousands of miles away from each other on Sunday, you can bet that USA Softball's players will be thinking about the USWNT ahead of their battle with Japan.
“We’ll watch some of their highlights before our game,” Stewart said. “It gets us going. When you have women on such a big global stage with such a platform inspiring other women, it inspires you, too.”