If you aren't already a soccer fan, the sexy stars of the US men's national team may change your mind. On July 28, the US beat Panama to win the 2013 Gold Cup, giving the team a historic 11-game winning streak that's making headlines. It marks a major moment for soccer in America, but the team's recent victories aren't the only reason to tune in and watch the games — these handsome players also make for some can't-miss eye candy. You may already recognize superstar Landon Donovan, but we've got the scoop on other studly stars worth watching. Meet the hottest athletes playing for the USA!
David Beckham has become a global superstar for his athletic moves and good looks. We're taking a look at his career and exploring what his next big move could be!
We are excited to share one of our favorite stories from espnW here on FitSugar!
By Kate Fagan
What to do about Hope Solo?
That's a question nobody is asking yet — not publicly, anyway.
On Jan. 1, Tom Sermanni takes over as coach of the US women's national soccer team, a change that ensures that fresh eyes are about to evaluate every player on the roster, including the one who currently starts at goalkeeper: Solo.
To some people, this coaching change feels like switching the hood ornament on a luxury vehicle. The engine remains the same, doesn't it? We're talking about a team with significant momentum, only a few months removed from winning Olympic gold in London. The squad, which features several marketable women, is in the middle of a Fan Tribute Tour. For the next month, everything is smiles, high fives and no-pressure matches. This is the happy-go-lucky portion of the team's schedule, as "Fan Tribute Tour" is synonymous, of course, with "victory tour."
But we are still two-and-a-half years removed from the team's next marquee event: the 2015 Women's World Cup. And anyone who thinks Sermanni won't be building his own engine, to match his brand of soccer, is kidding herself. Just as Pia Sundhage, the team's former coach, put her own stamp on things when she took over in 2007, Sermanni will have a new take on the roster, on what works and what doesn't, on who fits and who doesn't.
More specifically, he will need to decide whether Solo, who will be 34 years old in the summer of 2015, is still worth the occasional PR headache or if she's a case of diminished returns.
Even if they don't know a full back from a half back or a free kick from a corner kick, celeb moms are quickly learning their way around the soccer field. Sure, we knew Victoria Beckham was destined to be a soccer mom — and with three boys of soccer-playing age, she likely spends her weekends running between games like many of us — but she's not the only celeb standing on the sidelines. From Reese Witherspoon's trophy-winning son to Heidi Klum's soccer star, see which Tinseltown stars trade in their red-carpet heels for more turf-friendly footwear.
We are excited to share one of our favorite stories from espnW here on FitSugar!By Ramona Shelburne
They've known for a while now this was coming. Or at least sensed it. This wasn't a forever relationship. They'd have to say goodbye.U.S. women's soccer coach Pia Sundhage would go home to Sweden one day. She would move on and the U.S. national team would have to, too. This run they've been on together, this run that has resurrected the sport in this country and turned the players on this team into superstars and role models, it would end when the Swedish-born coach decided it was time to go home.
But when the day came Wednesday, star forward Abby Wambach was at a loss.
"We've been talking about it all day," Wambach said. "What can we do to show her?"
Show her what she had meant to them? To the sport? To the millions of fans across the country who joined in the magical Olympic gold-medal runs in 2008 and 2012 and a runner-up finish at the 2011 Women's World Cup?
"We thought about it," Wambach said. "And we knew the best thing we could do was get her a win."
And oh-so-fittingly, the United States dominated a young Australian squad, scoring five unanswered goals to finish with an emphatic 6-2 victory in Sundhage's last game with the team.
We are excited to share one of our fave stories from espnW here on FitSugar! This week, espnW shares an excerpt from soccer star Hope Solo's new memoir, published earlier this week.By Hope Solo
A hot-button topic the first week of the Olympics was Hope Solo's reaction on social media to Brandi Chastain's analysis of the match between the U.S. and Colombia. Solo writes about the experience in the epilogue of her new book, SOLO: A Memoir of Hope. Here is what ensued in the aftermath of Solo's tweets:
We knew France was good. But we knew we were better. Alex Morgan, with her lightning speed, kept getting behind France's defense. She got her second goal late in the game on a tap-in. We won 4 to 2, beating the best team in our preliminary group.
I was kind of pissed after the game when coach Pia Sundhage told reporters that the sun had been in my eyes on the first goal. Sure, there was glare. But I would never use the conditions as an excuse.
More annoying was the feedback I heard from home and from fans on Twitter about the way the game was being broadcast on television. NBC had hired Brandi Chastain to do the color commentary on our games. She had been relentlessly negative during our qualifying matches, nitpicking little details and criticizing Pia's strategy. I had tweeted back in January, "Hey brandi did you find anything positive in our game? Curious minds over here ..."
I'm not looking for a cheerleader — far from it. We're all soccer junkies, and we hear a lot of expert commentary while we travel the world. I want the best of the best for our games, and I just don't feel that Brandi is very good at articulating the game. I love that ESPN added Ian Darke to their team for our World Cup, and I like Arlo White on NBC, but I feel that our networks too often take the easy way out: "Oh, let's hire Brandi. She's a world champion who took off her shirt, and people know her name. It doesn't really matter if she's a good analyst or not."
In Team USA's semifinal match against Canada, Alex Morgan's goal, scored in overtime play, sealed the deal: the US women will play Japan in the finals. Recognized easily by her trademark pink headband made of prewrap (slightly sticky strips of foam players use under very sticky athletic tape), Alex is becoming a household name.
Known for her fast footwork and quick up-field sprints, Alex is considered a Ferrari on the field (at least the Canadian head coach thinks so). Learn more about one of our fave soccer players and get ready to cheer Team USA in the gold-medal match on Thursday, Aug. 9.
The US women are considered favorites at this year's Olympic Games. In 2004 and 2008, they won gold, beating Brazil in exciting matches both times. From Abby Wambach to Alex Morgan, here are the US women to watch — we can't wait to cheer them on in the gold medal match against Japan on Thursday, Aug 9.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!
One athlete we're excited to see during the 2012 Summer Olympics is gold medalist Christie Rampone, captain of the US women's soccer team. We caught up with the 37-year-old mom of two to ask her about training for the Olympics, her favorite workouts (CrossFit and kettlebells!) and how she learns from her mistakes.
How have you been preparing for the London 2012 Olympics?
The US women's soccer team has been training since October 2011 for the London 2012 Olympics. We have traveled domestically and internationally quite a bit for matches. Typically we train twice a day, doing soccer and strength. Twice a week, we also do speed and agility.
Leadership is a huge part of your life — as a mom, a coach, and a captain. You have two daughters: 7-year-old Rylie and 2-year-old Reece. How do you avoid stress and keep a healthy balance between serious work and fun?
I attempt to address any issues immediately so they do not become overwhelming. I prioritize the more difficult tasks, staying on top of the important things that can affect the team or my children. Keeping a balance has always been easy for me, as I try not to give all my attention to one or the other. By having both, it allows me to appreciate and enjoy the other aspects of my life.
How do you balance your fight with Lyme disease (Rampone revealed that she has Lyme disease last year) with training for the Olympics and still manage to reserve energy for your kids?
I try to be realistic, listen to my body, and know when to slow down. By not overdoing it, I feel good enough most of the time, and it allows me to enjoy the kids.
There must be some long days packed into your schedule; how do you stay motivated day after day?
I never want to let my teammates or coaches down, so I always fight through the days when I am exhausted or experiencing discomfort with injuries and headaches. The competition motivates me, and playing against and with the best women's soccer players in the world.
Keep reading for more on how Christie stays healthy.
Spoiler alert: We have scores and medal news from today's events after the break, so keep reading only if you're ready for the updates.