The 2015 World Cup champion U.S. Women’s National Team earned a coveted third star above its crest this summer by winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in July, and the accolades keep on coming. Five U.S. players were among the 23 selected to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star squad; Golden Glove goalkeeper Hope Solo, defenders Julie Johnston and Meghan Klingenberg, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and Golden Ball winner Carli Lloyd.
Solo backstoped the WNT throughout the tournament, playing all seven games and earning five shutouts in a clean-sheet streak that reached 540 minutes.
Johnston and Klingenberg also contributed in the back to help bolster the elite, title-winning defense. Johnston played every minute of the tournament at center-back, while Klingenberg did the same at left back. In addition to shutting down the opposition, both defenders made memorable and important individual plays in the tournament. Klingenberg jumped to head a ball off the goal-line to save the game against Sweden in the group stage and Johnston delivered an assist that Carli Lloyd headed in for a goal to defeat China in the quarterfinals.
It was Rapinoe that got the WNT off to a great start, scoring two goals in the USA’s 3-1 win against Australia in its tournament opener. She also tallied two assists in the tournament, including one in the World Cup Final.
Lloyd earned Golden Ball honors as the tournament’s best player. She scored six goals, all coming in the knockout rounds, including a historic hat trick in the Women’s World Cup Final. She also won the Silver Boot as the tournament’s second leading scorer.
The All-Star squad is made up of 23 players who succeeded in getting fans out of their seats and truly impressed FIFA’s Technical Study Group (TSG). In addition to naming the All-Stars, the TSG published the FIFA Technical Report, a 234-page document that covers the 52 matches of the World Cup as well as technical and tactical analysis, trends, confederations analysis, a refereeing report, a goal-line technology report and a medical report.
2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Squad
Goalkeepers: Nadine Angerer (GER), Karen Bardsley (ENG), Hope Solo (USA)
Defenders: Saori Ariyoshi (JPN), Lucy Bronze (ENG), Kadeisha Buchanan (CAN), Steph Houghton (ENG), Julie Johnston (USA), Meghan Klingenberg (USA), Wendie Renard (FRA)
Midfielders and forwards: Ramona Bachmann (SUI), Lisa De Vanna (AUS), Amandine Henry (FRA), Elise Kellond-Knight (AUS), Eugénie Le Sommer (FRA), Carli Lloyd (USA), Anja Mittag (GER), Aya Miyama (JPN), Megan Rapinoe (USA), Mizuho Sakaguchi (JPN), Celia Sasic (GER), Elodie Thomis (FRA), Rumi Utsugi (JPN).
NOT A NATURAL
At six-years-old, Meghan was not a starter – ever. “The coach would be like, ‘We’re going to put in Meghan’ – and everybody would be like, ‘Great, now we’re going to lose.’ I was that bad,” says Klingenberg.
She blames it on being timid and shy, on not understanding anything about the game. “It was embarrassing. I was shut out from the team because I wasn’t good enough. Those are hard feelings to deal with regardless of what age you are,” says Klingenberg. “I basically thought, I have to be better at this if I want friends.”
In an effort to make her less timid, Klingenberg’s father signed her up for Taekwondo. “People kind of looked at you funny if you’re a girl, but I liked it so much that I just threw all inhibitions to the wind. It was so good for my confidence across the board. I was like, ‘Why do I care, if it really makes me this happy?’” She’s now a third-degree black belt and is definitely no longer shy. “I used to hide behind my mom’s leg – now my mom’s like, ‘What happened to you?’ I think she liked me better back then,” jokes Klingenberg, affectionately known as ‘Kling’ by those close to her.
Kling and her younger brother Drew constantly played in the basement. “I always beat him; except this one time. I was losing… and I was a very competitive little kid, and I got so ticked off that I pushed him into the wall. Unfortunately, the wall had a corner – his head just cracked open. It was bleeding and I was like, ‘You cannot tell mom about this.’ But we did, and we had to take him to the hospital. Nothing ever really changed after that. I was competitive, which made him competitive, which made me more competitive – it was just kind of this cycle.” Drew, an incoming senior on Penn State’s soccer team, who is still Kling’s go-to training partner, credits his sister with his own success. “I completely attribute me playing soccer to her,” says Drew.
2015: 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Champion... Named to the 2015 U.S. FIFA Women's World Cup roster, her first World Cup selection... Has played in all 17 games for the WNT so far this year, starting 16 and playing the fourth-most minutes on the team with 1306... Scored her first goal of 2015 and second of her international career, during the USA's 4-0 victory against New Zealand on April 4 in St. Louis... Was one of three defenders to score in the victory... Key piece of the USA's back line during the Algarve Cup, appearing in all four matches and starting three to help the USA capture its 10th title after defeating France 2-0 in the final on March 11...
2014: Cemented herself as a candidate at left or right back, started 17 of 18 games played, both career highs in a calendar year … Was sixth on the team for field players in minutes played with 1,325 … Notched her first international goal at the senior level with a goal-of-the-year level long-distance strike against Haiti during World Cup Qualifying … 2013: Played in four matches, starting three … Foot injuries kept her out of action toward the end of the year … 2012: Did not play a match for the U.S. WNT, but was named an alternate for the 2012 Olympic Team and traveled to the U.K. with the squad … Had shoulder surgery at the end of the year … 2011: First call-up to the senior team came for a training camp in January of 2011, and she earned a spot on the roster for the Four Nations Tournament in China … She earned her first two senior team caps at the Four Nations, playing against Canada and China off the bench as a late-game sub … Youth National Teams: Played for the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team in 2009 and 2010 … A key member of the USA’s 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup champions … Played every minute of her five starts in the tournament including all 90 during the World Cup Final victory against Korea DPR … Ended her U-20 career with 16 caps and one goal, that scored against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament … She played every minute of all five matches at the U-20 Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament … Played for the USA at the U-17 and U-16 levels in 2005 and 2004 … First Appearance: Jan. 23, 2011 vs. Canada … First Goal: Oct. 20, 2014
Professional / Club – Allocated to the Boston Breakers for the 2014 NWSL season, but was then taken with the sixth selection of the 2014 NWSL Expansion Draft by the Houston Dash … 2014: Started all seven games in which she appeared for the Houston Dash, playing a total of 607 minutes after returning from her Swedish club … 2013: Played her second season with Tyresö, starting 17 of the 20 matches in which she appeared while scoring once … Helped the club win its Round of 32 UEFA Women’s Champions League series against French power Paris Saint-German and Round of 16 series against Danish club Fortuna … In the second leg against Fortuna, her free kick service led to a back-heel flick volley goal for U.S. teammate Whitney Engen … 2012: Played eight matches for Tyresö in Damallsvenskan in Sweden and in her first season with the club, Tyresö won the league and qualified for Champion’s League … Tyresö won the league in the last game of the season over rivals LdB Malmö … 2011: Taken third overall in the 2011 WPS Draft by magicJack, but after seeing action in just two games, she was traded in early June to the Boston Breakers for Nikki Washington … She played 10 matches for Boston, starting them all and totaled 961 minutes for the season … It didn’t take Klingenberg long to make an impact on the field once she came to Boston, as four days after the trade, and in her first game as a Breaker, she scored what proved to be the game-winner in a 2-1 victory at home over her former club and also assisted on the first goal of the game … She totaled one goal and two assists on the season …Youth: Played youth club for Penns Forest FC from U-15 through U-19 … Won state titles with PFFC at U-15 and U-17 levels.