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WNT Behind the Lens: 2017 in Photos

Photos are one of the most powerful mediums to tell a story. In order to highlight our incredible photos from 2017, we asked U.S. Women’s National Team photographer Brad Smith to compile his 15 favorite photos of this year.


Hello everyone,

My name is Brad Smith and I am the official photographer of the U.S. Women's National Team. I joined the WNT as a full-time staff member back in March of 2015 and it has been an incredible experience so far. For this year in review, the choices I made are subjective and personal. They include on-and-off the field moments, and capture the emotions and experiences that players and fans alike navigated in 2017. Some are also just cool photos, but I'm also probably a little bit biased. I hope you enjoy my picks, and I’ll see you all (more than likely through my lenses) in 2018! 

- Brad Smith, U.S. WNT Photographer



January 2017

"Does it rain much in Los Angeles? No, but the team seemed to have no trouble finding it there last January Camp." 


February 2017

"I’m always on the lookout for something different. Gym sessions are just that. 
Then when you add some soft window light to a shadow boxing Ashlyn Harris, you get something special."


March 2017

"When you practice at a college campus, word travels fast. During training at the University of Maryland,
a deserted pitch soon became a surrounded stadium." 


April 2017

"Winners on the field, winners off the field. While the team was in Frisco, we made a special visit to a local hospital. 
Rose Lavelle even got a dance lesson."


April 2017

"One of my favorite action photos of the year because it’s such a story-telling image. Not only does it have fantastic action, 
but as you look over Allie Long to the right you realize the ball is going in for a goal over the keeper. "

One of my favorite action photos of the year because it’s such a story-telling image. 
Not only does it have fantastic action, but as you look over Allie Long to the right you realize the ball is going in for a goal over the keeper. 
One of my favorite action photos of the year because it’s such a story-telling image. 
Not only does it have fantastic action, but as you look over Allie Long to the right you realize the ball is going in for a goal over the keeper. 

April 2017

"I’ve always thought bad light equals opportunity."


April 2017

"I’m lucky enough to have tunnel access before games. It’s moments like this one before the games that are really special."
 

August 2017

"Sure it’s cute, but I like this one because of Cassius’ expression and how he’s looking at his mom as Pinoe tosses him up into the air after the game."


September 2017

"Look for the details. Kelley O’Hara was playing in her 100th game, so the WNT equipment manager Ryan Dell made up a special captain’s armband for her."


October 2017

"And no...Jane, didn’t catch Becky. "


October 2017

"How many people does it take to stop Alex Morgan?"


October 2017

"Complete focus from U.S. WNT goalkeeper coach Graeme Abel and a nice diving save from Jane Campbell."


October 2017

"This is one of those images that just looks better the bigger it’s shown. So many details inside that huge space of the Superdome in New Orleans."


November 2017

"It’s immediately evident what happened here. JJ scored. The expression on her face and her body language say it all."


November 2017

"Every game has winners and losers. This is one of my favorites because it shows just that in one quick image."


US Soccer

First Cap, First Goal: Christen Press

On Feb. 9, 2013, the U.S. Women’s National Team kicked off the new year with a 4-1 victory against Scotland in Jacksonville, Florida. Christen Press, then 24-years-old, was responsible for two goals that day, scoring in the 13th minute and adding another in the 32nd to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead at halftime.

The early goal was Press’ first for the USA, coming in a match that was also her first cap.


Becky Sauerbrunn hugs Christen Press in the aftermath of Press scoring on her WNT debut. 

Earning that first cap is special for any player, but a debut and a goal in the same game? That’s a rare feat. In the 30+ year history of the U.S. WNT  21 players have scored in their first caps.

NOTHING TO LOSE

Press’ path to that first game three years ago was an interesting one.  In early 2012, she made the decision to move to Sweden after U.S.-based Women’s Professional Soccer folded. Press thought leaving the country might negatively impact her hopeful National Team career, but little did she know, it was only just beginning.

“I think just because I always thought that the National Teams would be watching the American league, I thought that going abroad was kind of like saying goodbye to my dream of playing for the National Team,” recalled Press. “I left around this time, in February, and I thought I would not get a call, I sort of thought that I would fall out of U.S. Soccer’s radar.”

As it turns out, head coach Pia Sundhage kept tabs on players in Europe, especially in her native land of Sweden. Press got off to a hot start with her new club, and it wasn’t long before she was on her way back home.

Press returned to the U.S. and joined the WNT in Florida in April during the final stretch of what had been an intense fitness camp. She kept to herself and tried to quickly learn as much as possible despite only being there for five days.

“I had nothing to lose,” she said. “It was my first camp, it was warm and I was so happy. I don’t think I spoke to anybody. I was not nervous, I was just happy to be in Florida and my dream was coming true. I’m always quiet when I don’t know my surroundings, so I just kept to myself trying to learn the rules, how to behave; it was all so quick.”

That short stint turned out to be the only one for Press before she was named an Olympic alternate in 2012. The following February, Tom Sermanni took over as WNT head coach, and it was then Press learned she would start against Scotland. Her chance had arrived.

“I went on the field, the crowd was so much bigger than I’d ever played in front of, and for me it was so much bigger than life,” said Press. “But I kept telling myself, ‘I’m not nervous, I’m confident, I’m a good player and I believe in myself.’”

Years and multiple goals later, plus one Women’s World Cup title to her name, the dream is alive and well for Press.

Christen Press
Press celebrates scoring her first World Cup goal against Australia in the USA's opening match of the 2015 Women's World Cup

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WNT Jun 11, 2017
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