SAN DIEGO – It has been a month since that final match day with the 5-1 win over Japan. A month of celebrations for all 23 players, staff and the fans. Now, as the players started to settle back with their NWSL clubs they realized how much things have changed.
Many of these players were anonymous to the average American citizen and could walk in the streets without being recognized. Now, things have changed and they cannot get away with that anymore. This is the life of a Women’s World Cup champion.
[quote_box_center]”My life has changed completely,” Meghan Klingenberg said. “In some ways it’s really great and in some ways it really kind of stinks. I wanted to win the World Cup, and these are the things that come with it. It’s cool to raise the awareness of our sport and be in the public eye to bring attention to the league and bring attention to the Houston Dash, so it’s been good in that regard.[/quote_box_center]
[quote_box_center]”It’s just different being recognized. It’s not bad — it doesn’t take up that much of your time, and I don’t really mind doing it. But I totally am way more introverted than people think I am, and sometimes that’s tough for me when I’m caught off guard.”[/quote_box_center]
A month later all the excitement and celebration, there are all back to work in their club teams. This is only NWSL’s third year of existence, and the absence of many of the star players who were in the World Cup was definitely noticeable. After the World Cup was over though, all of the teams saw an amazing increase in the number of fans attending games.
[quote_box_center]”It’s a lot of ups and downs during that journey — mentally, physically, everything is draining,” U.S. and Houston midfielder Morgan Brian said. “Once you end the World Cup on a high and you win, soccer is hard to do again so quickly because you kind of want to take a deep breath and let it sink in. But at the same time, we love to play the game.”[/quote_box_center]
[quote_box_center]”When you’re playing in front of 50,000 people who are going absolutely nuts for your team, it’s difficult coming back and playing in front of 5,000 people, 14,000 people. But that doesn’t mean it’s any worse — it’s just different. You just have to switch your mindset.” – Added Klingenberg[/quote_box_center]
The World Cup is only a month long sprint while the NWSL a six months long marathon. Obviously the fatigue is going to be there, not only physically from playing time, but also mentally form all the interviews, public appearances, etc.
[quote_box_center]”It was just such a high that now I’m kind of coming off of that and I’m going through more of this depressed few days,” U.S. and Washington Spirit defender Ali Krieger said with a laugh. “It was so much and so intense. The adjustment here has been really tough: I’m human, I’m normal and mentally I just have to figure out a good balance.”[/quote_box_center]
The player that has probably gotten the most attention is Carli Lloyd, first because of her 16 minute hat trick in the final, including the goal from midfield, but also from being selected NWSL Player of the Month in July after scoring in 3 games back to back.
[quote_box_center]”It’s been crazy — you just kind of move from one thing to the next,” Lloyd said. “I can’t even look past tomorrow.”[/quote_box_center]
All they need now is a few days to just be alone and relax:
[quote_box_center]”I was alone in this house all by myself,” Klingenberg said. “And it was just the most wonderful day that I’ve had in a long time.”[/quote_box_center]