Twenty years ago this summer, the U.S. women’s national soccer team lifted the FIFA World Cup trophy after Brandi Chastain infamously lifted her shirt in spontaneous celebration for the team's penalty shootout win over China.
Next month, the American women seek a fourth world cup star on their uniforms and try to do the near-impossible: win back-to-back championships.
The world’s biggest women’s sports tournament will be broadcast live in the U.S. on Fox Sports.
And if you're not a women's soccer diehard, that's ok -- whether first-time viewer or mega fan, here's what you need to know:
Twenty-four teams have qualified for the 2019 World Cup tournament. Host France – which is one of the favorites to make a deep run (and maybe even win) – automatically qualified.
The USA, the tournament's defending champs, qualified for its eighth World Cup. The team enters the tournament unbeaten in its last nine matches, most recently a 3-0 win against Mexico on Sunday.
Chile, Jamaica, Scotland and South Africa are making their Women’s World Cup debut, while Italy will take part in the event for the first time since 1999. Argentina qualified for the first time since 2007.
WHO IS REPRESENTING THE US?
The American women – led by head coach Jill Ellis – are a solid mix of veterans and younger players.
Carli Lloyd – entering her fourth tournament – leads the group alongside others with tournament experience, such as Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath. That group is joined by rising stars like Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn
Two-time world cup veteran Ali Krieger was a surprise inclusion to the final 23-player team after not receiving a call-up by the national team in more than two years -- until this April.
Lloyd, at 36, is the oldest player on the U.S. roster and defender Tierna Davidson is the youngest at 20 years old.
Twelve women on the roster – Lloyd, Rapinoe, Morgan, Heath, Krieger, Kelly O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher, Morgan Brian, Julie Ertz, and Christine Press – have made multiple world cup appearances.
“Selecting a World Cup team is a long process, and I want to thank the players – the ones that made the final team and the ones that didn’t – for all of their hard work over the past two and a half years,” Ellis said in a statement. “They all pushed each other in every training session and every game and challenged the coaches to make some tough decisions. These 23 players have been through adversity and success, and it’s a group that has talent, confidence, experience, and desire to help us with the World Cup.”
This is the full roster representing the U.S.:
Goalkeepers: Adriana Franch, Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher
Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Ali Krieger, Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Emily Sonnett
Midfielders: Morgan Brian, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Allie Long, Samantha Mewis
Forwards: Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe.
In March 2019, 28 members of the women's soccer team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit, drawing attention to the disparity between the men's and women's teams in areas such as compensation, working conditions, and medical treatment.
BIRTHDAY BUNCH: Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn, and Megan Rapinoe all have birthdays during the tournament, while Becky Sauerbrunn and Carli Lloyd celebrate birthdays just before and after the tournament, respectively. Happy Birthday to them!
WHERE ARE THEY PLAYING?
Spread throughout France, the 52-game tournament will take the teams from Paris to the southern cities of Montpelier and Nice, all the way west to Rennes and north to Le Havre. Games will also be played in Valenciennes, Reims, Lyon and Grenoble.
The American women will start their tournament at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims against Thailand on June 11 before facing China at the Pac des Princes in Paris on June 16. They close out their group stage games against long-time foe Sweden at the Stade Oceane, Le Havre.
The stadiums have a capacity to hold a combined total of 297,002 spectators. The Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon has the greatest capacity at 59,186.
The opening match between France and the Korea Republic will be held June 7 at Parc des Princes in Paris, while the final will be at Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon on July 7.
WHO IS THE FAVORITE TO WIN?
Current champions, the United States, are considered the favorites to win the tournament for what would be a record fourth time. They previously won in 1991 – the first ever women’s tournament – and again when they hosted the cup in 1999. After coming in third for two tournaments in a row, and then placing as the runners-up in 2011, the American women took home the trophy in 2015 after a 5-2 win over Japan.
Host France and long-time rival Germany are formidable opponents and will do everything they can to stop the U.S. from becoming repeat champions. Germany is the only country with back-to-back Women's World Cup trophies.
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP FUN FACTS
- The United States has won the most world cup trophies with three (1991, 1999, 2015), followed by Germany (2003, 2007). Japan won in 2011.
- Marta (Brazil) is the player with the most world cup goals in tournament history at 15. The only other active player with anywhere near as many is Christine Sinclair, with 9.
- Formiga (Brazil) will play in her record seventh world cup tournament. Homare Sawa (Japan), who retired in 2015, had been tied with her with six appearances.
- The United States has the most goals scored in tournament history at 112 (and counting).
- Carli Lloyd (U.S.) has the fastest hat-trick from kickoff (16 minutes – during the 2015 final against Japan), while Fabienne Humm (Switzerland) has the fastest goal from kick off (5 minutes – against Ecuador in 2015)
- At the 2019 tournament, the U.S. will be the oldest team with an average age of 29. The youngest team in the tournament is Jamaica, with an average age of 23 years and 10 months.
HOW TO WATCH
The World Cup will be broadcast in the U.S. exclusively on Fox Sports. Fans can watch live on FOX, FS1 and the Fox Sports app.
Fox Sports’ website will include a live television feature as well as tournament highlights.
Telemundo and Universo will broadcast the games in Spanish.