The U.S. women have already qualified for this summer’s biggest soccer event but they aren’t waiting to take on their global competitors. This year, the USWNT is hosting the inaugural SheBelieves Cup March 3-9. Top international contenders Germany, France, and England will also participate.
The women of the USWNT give an inspired performance every time they step onto the field. That’s why they want to inspire young girls to accomplish all of their goals, on and off the pitch. In addition to the SheBelieves Cup, U.S. Soccer will host a “Girls Fantasy Camp” in Nashville during the tournament for girls aged 13-15 in an effort to grow the sport.
The official roster for the cup includes five Eastbay cover athletes: Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Morgan Brian, Heather O’Reilly, and Alex Morgan. See the full roster below:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (9): Lauren Barnes (Seattle Reign FC), Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)
March 3: Germany vs. France, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla. 5 pm ET
March 3: USA vs. England, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla. 7:30 pm ET
March 6: USA vs. France, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tenn. 3 pm ET
March 6: Germany vs. England, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tenn. 5:30 pm ET
March 9: France vs. England, FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla. 5 pm ET
March 9: USA vs. Germany, FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla. 7:30 pm ET
2015 has become the past. While there are many incredible sports moments yet to come in 2016, this is a time to look back at all the major feats our Eastbay athletes accomplished this past year — they did pretty well.
2015 World Cup Champions
Leading up to the tournament, we featured not one, but seven, USWNT players on either the catalog or eastbay.com. That included the likes of Sydney Leroux, Kelley O’Hara, Heather O’Reilly, Becky Sauerbrunn, Morgan Brian, Lauren Holiday, and Alex Morgan. Those players dedicated their lives to that one goal, and they brought home the trophy for the first time since 1999.
NBA Finals + NBA MVP + 24-0 Start
He’s the best, and those accomplishments above prove it. In 2015, Stephen Curry didn’t just win the league’s MVP award and bring Golden State its first championship in 40 years, but he went on to lead the Warriors to an NBA-record 24-0 start to the 2015-16 season. 2015 was Curry’s year.
No. 7 Overall NBA Draft Pick
Emmanuel Mudiay didn’t take the traditional path to the NBA. He skipped the whole college thing so he could play basketball professionally in China to prepare himself for the NBA. Well, it worked, because the explosive and versatile Mudiay was drafted No. 7 overall by the Denver Nuggets.
Elena Delle Donne’s 2015 season was one of the best in WNBA history. She averaged 23.4 points per game, which is fifth best in league history, and she set a league record by converting on 95 percent of her free throws. Delle Donne was the definition of efficiency, game in and game out — that’s the Eastbay way.
Best Start In Team History (14-0)
The Carolina Panthers were doubted. Critics and fans thought of the Panthers as, at best, an above-average football team, but no one gave them the credit of an elite team. Fortunately, Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly feed off that doubt. It drives them to be their best. Those two led Carolina to its first-ever 14-0 start, and with the playoffs starting, it could become ever better. Plus, Newton is a frontrunner for the league’s MVP award.
Top 15 On NFL’s Top 100 Players Of 2015 List
Two of our Eastbay athletes made that list: DeMarco Murray (No. 4) and Luke Kuechly (No. 14). You just read about Kuechly’s outstanding 2015, but Murray’s season didn’t quite live up to the high expectations. After one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen in 2014-15, Murray stumbled a bit this year, but there’s no denying his talent.
Cubs Rookie Home Run Record + Wild Card Berth
Few players in the MLB have the power of Kris Bryant. After finally being called up by the Chicago Cubs, Bryant took off running at the plate, becoming one of the league’s most feared power hitters. His 26 homers put him atop the list of Cubs rookies, ahead of Hall of Famer Billy Williams. That power helped Chicago reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. The future looks bright for Bryant, that’s for sure.
Superstar In The Making
The shortstop position in Boston hasn’t been this solidified since Nomar Garciaparra was traded in 2004. With Xander Bogaerts on the diamond, Boston’s infield no longer has any problems. Once ranked the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball, Bogaerts has sky-high expectations, and he lived up to the hype in 2015. Not only was he a defensive juggernaut, but he excelled at the plate, hitting .320 with seven homers and 81 RBIs. The potential here is endless — just wait until next season.
Like we said, 2015 is gone now, but these accomplishments will live on forever. Congrats to all our dedicated Eastbay athletes who know winning takes discipline, training, and desire. Keep up the hard work — 2016 is going to be one to remember.
MLB National League MVP
In just his fourth season in the big leagues, at 22 years and 353 days old, Bryce Harper bagged his first MVP award, making him the third youngest player to ever do so. And it was certainly deserved. Harper finished the season with a .330 average, hitting 42 home runs and 99 RBIs. The stats speak for themselves.
words // Adam Arthur
images// Andi Stempniak
Meet Heather O’Reilly, Team USA’s game-changing midfielder and Eastbay’s latest cover athlete.
Having scored many incredible accomplishments, including two Division I college championships and three gold medals at world soccer events, Heather takes her game to the cover of Eastbay. And on top of starring on the newest cover, she is also Eastbay’s first female Field Tester.
“I’m honored to be on the cover of Eastbay. It’s really cool that I’m the first female Field Tester. It’s so important for players to get product advice from the pros, on the men’s side or women’s side. We’ve tested products at the highest level and in the tensest environments. I’m going to do my best to be a great role model for younger players who are testing their products.”
Heather joins an impressive list of Eastbay cover athletes and Field Testers. To sustain her high level of play, she works extremely hard during training.
“I prepare to win by bringing it every day on the training field. If you practice the way you want to play, there’s nothing to be afraid of when big games come around. I keep good habits on the field and that takes a certain discipline to bring that every day. All those training days combined give you confidence, knowing that you’ve prepared, that you’re ready, and that, when those big matches come up, you’ll be prepared to win.”
Heather knows that to perform at her highest level, she can benefit from gear designed for her style of play. She can be seen wearing the adidas F50s on the new Eastbay cover. These cleats are some of the lightest you can find – one of the reasons Heather loves playing in them.
“The most important thing I look for is comfort. The F50s are really comfortable. They have fantastic control on the ball and they’re super light. My playing style is all about high energy, so speed is a huge part of my game. The lighter the shoe, the faster you feel and play. That’s why the F50s are the perfect fit for me.”
Because of players like Heather, and the reestablishment of a women’s professional soccer league, and the success of the U.S. Women’s National Team, the excitement surrounding women’s soccer continues to grow. Heather’s passion for the game is obvious and her play at the club or at an international level can help spark even more interest in women’s professional soccer.
“Being a female athlete is the coolest job I could ever ask for. I still love soccer as much as I did when I was a young player. That being said, as a female professional athlete, we’re always trying to gain ground and grab the attention of general sports fans. I think we’ve done a lot of that with women’s professional soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Team. We’re going to continue to have the best product on the field and impress people with our play. I think that will turn a lot of heads and help grow the sport.”
To learn more about Heather, go to eastbay.com/HeatherOReilly.