Hope Solo gets good news. On Jan. 13, a Washington state judge dismisses domestic violence charges against the U.S. goalkeeper. Two weeks later, bad news: Solo is suspended 30 days from the U.S. women’s national soccer team after husband Jerramy Stevens is arrested in California for DUI. Solo is also in the team van. Has she crossed the line one too many times?
Buda Mendes & Suzi Pratt/Getty I
February: France sends a wake-up call
Wait, what? A 2-0 defeat to France at Stade du Moustoir in Lorient underscores a sense of anxiety for a U.S. team. Is No. 3-ranked France the new threat to the U.S. in 2015? Questions like this make roster moves by new U.S. national team head coach Jill Ellis even more intriguing.
AFP/Getty ImagesJEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER
March: Demons exorcised
Hope Solo’s suspension ends. The U.S. wins its record 10th Algarve Cup, defeating France. But some suggest maybe France coach Philippe Bergeroo held his team back to save powder for the Women’s World Cup. U.S. striker Christen Press shows her promise as Ellis shuffles the midfield and attack, but the back line is settled. Julie Johnston emerges as a star alongside Becky Sauerbrunn, Ali Krieger and Meghan Klingenberg.
AFP/Getty ImagesFRANCISCO LEONG
April: We believe that we will win
At Busch Stadium in St. Louis, a sign of the U.S. women’s national soccer team’s continuing growth in popularity: A record crowd of 35,817 is the most ever for a women’s soccer match.
Getty ImagesDilip Vishwanat
May: Ominous World Cup send-off
Red Bull Stadium in New Jersey; the U.S. team’s final tune-up match before the World Cup. Carli Lloyd & Co. play a scoreless draw against South Korea on May 30th. As they head off to Winnipeg, they take a good look around New York City, where the media features their imminent quest. Maybe Lloyd & the gang women will be back soon?
June: World Cup begins and U.S. takes down Germany
On the 6th, the U.S. rallied to defeat Australia, 3-1. On the 8th, they battled to a scoreless draw with Sweden, as former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage curiously questioned Carli Lloyd’s consistency and self confidence. On June 12, the U.S. beat Nigeria to advance into the knockout round, where they defeat Costa Rica. Yellow card suspensions to Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday prompted Ellis to shift Lloyd’s role and it pays off -- big time. Lloyd leads the U.S. to victory over China. In the semifinals, Germany striker Celia Sasic misses a penalty kick -- a turning point that the U.S. capitalize on as they clinch a berth in the final.
AFP/Getty ImagesNICHOLAS KAMM
July: World Cup glory and Carli Lloyd becomes legend
The rematch against Japan is set: July 5 at B.C. Place in Vancouver, it takes 16 minutes for Carli Lloyd to score a hat trick, earning her place in history. The U.S. women win their first Women’s World Cup title since 1999. The U.S. women fly from Canada to Los Angeles, then to New York City. A ticker tape parade coronates them again.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
August: Victory Tour glory
Hello, America! A 10-game Victory Tour kicks off August 16 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Terrible towels rule the day as hometown girl Meghan Klingenberg scores a goal in a 8-0 rout of Costa Rica.
Getty ImagesJared Wickerham
September: USA on tour
The Victory Tour turns into the Cupcake Brigade after Australia pulls out of a series in Detroit and Birmingham, Alabama. The Matildas are on strike for better pay and treatment -- a cause the U.S. women back. Haiti bails out the match dates, disappointing fans who expected to see the U.S. battle a worthy Top 10-ranked opponent.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
October: Goodbye to Shannon, Lori and Lauren
It’s the end of the line for veterans Shannon Boxx, Lauren Holiday and Lori Chalupny, who retire. Hope Solo’s domestic violence case is reinstated on appeal. Abby Wambach announces she’ll retire as the all-time leading goal scorer ever in international soccer history. Marta and Brazil put on a decent show as they lose to the U.S. in Seattle and Orlando.
Getty ImagesOtto Greule Jr
November: Alex Morgan makes a move
The U.S. women’s national team takes a vacation, but there’s women’s soccer news. The NWSL holds its expansion draft. The future of women’s soccer in the U.S. depends on the growth of this league, which starts its fourth season in 2016. A blockbuster trade in late October sends Alex Morgan from the Portland Thorns to the newly formed Orlando Pride, the 10th team in the league.
December: Thank you, Abby
Megan Rapinoe tore her ACL at a practice field in Hawaii, putting the 2016 Olympics in doubt for the creative playmaker. Two days later, the U.S. women decry field conditions at Aloha Stadium, canceling its match against Trinidad & Tobago. After matches in San Antonio Phoenix, the U.S. team ends the years in New Orleans. Abby Wambach plays her 255th and final game for the U.S. at the Superdome but the U.S. loses to China for its first loss at home since 2004.