The U.S. women’s national team has endured plenty of criticism for its disappointing World Cup performance. The loss to Sweden in the Round of 16 marked its earliest ever exit from the tournament.
Some athletes have come to the program’s defense in recent days. Decorated alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin was the latest to offer her support, in a social media post on Saturday.
I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about the impact of the @USWNT and wanted to share some thoughts...Keep your heads up…I somehow feel like this is just the beginning. ❤️💪⚽️ pic.twitter.com/wRhEKmrSFx— Mikaela Shiffrin (@MikaelaShiffrin) August 11, 2023
I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about the impact of the @USWNT and wanted to share some thoughts...Keep your heads up…I somehow feel like this is just the beginning. ❤️💪⚽️ pic.twitter.com/wRhEKmrSFx
“A lot of people know about football/soccer, but not so much about the specific dynamic within the team, the organization, all the little things that happen on a daily basis,” Shiffrin wrote. “We just don’t see everything. We don’t know everything. And I think it’s important to remember that before pressing ‘post’ in the comment section.”
Shiffrin understands the kind of spotlight the USWNT players are under. She has the most World Cup wins (88) of any alpine skier in history and is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist. Last month, she was named the Best Female Athlete of 2023.
Amid all of the noise around the USWNT, Shiffrin encourages fans to exercise restraint.
“These conversations (if that’s what you call them) are truly unavoidable in big moments where a lot of people care,” Shiffrin wrote. “But sometimes I just feel like it’s awful. So incredibly ugly and hateful, especially when you are basically isolated at the wrong end of the barrel.”
Shiffrin added: “It is also undeniable that our USWNT raised the bar for soccer (and women’s sports in general) so exponentially that the entire world had no choice but to find that path, and start sprinting. And I have no doubt that our team will find their own path yet again, and raise that bar yet again. And they will continue to do this whole advocating for women’s sports, equality and inclusivity the entire time.”