March is Women’s history month, and for their first match of the month, the women of the United States soccer team chose an outstanding way to show their respect for female trailblazers who’ve made their mark on the world, and continue to do so.
Each woman on the USWNT wore a jersey with the name of an impactful woman on the back, including lesbians Sally Ride — America’s first woman in space — basketball star Elena Delle Donne, soccer stars Abby Wambach and Briana Scurry, writer and civil rights activist Audre Lorde, Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, Olympic softball player and ESPN analyst Jessica Mendoza and the first openly gay coach in the NFL, 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers.
They wore the uniforms in Saturday’s SheBelieves Cup match facing England in Nashville, Tenn., reported Yahoo Sports.
Scroll down to read the full list of women honorees below.
The US Soccer Federation said each member of the WNT chose the name of a woman who has inspired them, to wear on the back of their jersey. “The choices ranged from activists to Nobel Prize winners, to artists, athletes and trailblazers, from historic to contemporary, and features women who hail from diverse backgrounds and champion a variety of causes,” according to the federation website.
Alex Morgan chose her teammate Abby Wambach:
“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.”
Here’s why Tierna Davidson told the federation why she chose Sally Ride :
“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.”
Emily Fox chose Elena Delle Donne:
“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.”
For Adrianna Franch, the choice was her childhood hero, Briana Scurry:
“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!”
Alyssa Naeher selected to honor ABC’s co-anchor of GMA, Robin Roberts, winner of ESPN’s 2013 Arthur Ashe Award:
“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.”
Writer and activist Audre Lorde was Megan Rapinoe’s choice:
“Audre Lorde was unapologetically herself,” she wrote. “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.” Rapinoe selected this quote from Lorde to share with fans:
“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
”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,” said Rapinoe.
Casey Short selected Katie Sowers to honor:
“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.”
Andi Sullivan said she picked Jessica 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.”
According to the US Soccer Federation, SheBelieves was created in 2015 prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Its goal is to encourage female leaders of tomorrow to chase their dreams.
Saturday’s match against England ended in a 2-2 tie. On Tuesday, the US team takes on Brazil.
Here is the complete list of honorees and the players who chose them:
Abby Dahlkemper – Jennifer Lawrence (actress)
Tierna Davidson – Sally Ride (astronaut)
Crystal Dunn – Serena Williams (tennis player)
Julie Ertz – Carrie Underwood (musical artist)
Emily Fox – Elena Delle Donne (basketball player)
Adrianna Franch – Briana Scurry (soccer player)
Ashlyn Harris – Cardi B (musical artist)
Tobin Heath – Doris Burke (basketball analyst)
Rose Lavelle – J.K. Rowling (author)
Carli Lloyd – Malala Yousafzai (female education activist)
Jessica McDonald – Maya Angelou (poet/civil rights activist)
Samantha Mewis – Mia Hamm (soccer player)
Alex Morgan – Abby Wambach (soccer player)
Alyssa Naeher – Robin Roberts (broadcaster)
Kelley O’Hara – Heather O’Reilly (soccer player)
Christen Press – Sojourner Truth (civil rights activist)
Mallory Pugh – Beyonce Knowles (musical artist)
Megan Rapinoe – Audre Lorde (writer/civil rights activist)
Becky Sauerbrunn – Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Supreme Court justice)
Casey Short – Katie Sowers (NFL assistant coach)
Emily Sonnett – Tina Fey (comedian/writer)
Andi Sullivan – Jessica Mendoza (softball player/MLB analyst)
McCall Zerboni – Mother Teresa (nun/missionary)