FIFA Women's World Cup
USWNT deserves more respect as an all-time dynasty
FIFA Women's World Cup

USWNT deserves more respect as an all-time dynasty

Updated Jul. 18, 2023 8:33 p.m. ET

Dynasty is one of those vague words in sports, the sort of thing that isn't defined by any detailed or specific criteria, but which instead falls into the category of "you know it when you see it."

In relatively modern times, everyone sees it, knows it and accepts it about Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, and about the New England Patriots of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and you'll find no argument there, here, or basically anywhere.

Further back into athletic yesteryear, even more jaw-dropping dynastic achievements abound, compiled by the likes of John Wooden's iconic UCLA teams, Bill Russell's Boston Celtics, Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain/Terry Bradshaw combo, the ‘50s Yankees, the ’70s Montreal Canadiens, and so on.

Dynasties don't come around all the time. That's kind of the point – they're rare and special. But one of the most remarkable fables of sporting excellence continues to play out before our very eyes, and it still doesn't get the level of reverence that it should.


The United States women's soccer team will defend not only its World Cup title when the tournament kicks off on July 20 but will be seeking to extend a stretch of outrageous domination that is now into its fourth decade.

[USWNT's secret to sustained success? A mentorship circle that keeps paying it forward]

The two signature events in women's soccer that matter above all others are the World Cup and the Olympic Games, the former having been first played in 1991 and the latter making its Games debut in 1996.

Since then, there have been eight total World Cups on the women's side and seven Olympic tournaments. That's 15 opportunities for glory in total, and the United States has won eight of them, meaning the team has prevailed in 53.3 percent of all major events it has ever entered.

If that's not a dynasty, I don't know what is.

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The Patriots won six Super Bowls in 20 years under Brady and Belichick, an unquestionably incredible feat. The USWNT won five titles in that same time span, but had only nine opportunities to do so, instead of getting a crack at success every year.

"It is easier to dub a team that plays a final every year a dynasty because it is so consistent," USA midfielder Kelley O'Hara told me. "It is typically the same players. For us, there is more of a turnover."

That said, is it pretty darn hard to keep winning when everyone wants to take you down. The other thing that has increased the level of difficulty for the Americans is the ever-rising standard of women's soccer around the world. For this upcoming tournament, even with injury problems, European champion England is a genuine championship threat. So too is Spain, boasting perhaps the best player in the world in Alexia Putellas, while the USA landed in a group that includes 2019 finalist the Netherlands.

[8 teams that could stop a USWNT three-peat]

"See that target on our back?" joked Megan Rapinoe recently. "It's always there." 

Rapinoe has not been shy about using the word "dynasty" to describe the USA women's program, reasoning that "if the shoe fits…."

It does, snugly.

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There are differing schools of thought on whether dynasties are good or bad for sports. In something as global as the sphere of international soccer, there is a natural wish in other countries for the Americans' dominance to come to an end so that the glory can be spread out a little.

However, the star power of the United States women's team, and the aura that it has built up, has undeniably played a significant role as women's soccer continues to take huge strides, both in terms of quality and reach.

FS1's Colin Cowherd has frequently weighed in on the topic of dynasties.

"When did golf explode in this country? When Tiger Woods was winning seemingly every major," Cowherd said, a few years back. "Highest ratings in NBA history? MJ's Bulls winning six of eight titles. The dynasty of the Patriots is the longest and greatest ever and NFL ratings are the envy of every league. Dynasties have always worked in sports."

Sports is full of clichés. Athlete-speak contains all kinds of familiar phrases, talk of staying in the moment, focusing on the now and leaving the history to the historians.

Not this group.

The team boasting stars such as Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Lindsey Horan is aware of its status in sports, and embraces it. Even a youngster like Trinity Rodman, whose father Dennis was a key figure in the Bulls' later triumphs, knows the importance of living up to the history.

[How USWNT's Trinity Rodman models her game after her NBA father's]

"We're never going to give up and we're going to get the title," Rodman said. "Obviously the team has changed so much over the last couple of World Cups, but this team is something special. I expect a gold medal."

That's the pressure – and the privilege – of being part of a dynasty.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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