The knockout stages of a World Cup are a whole different kind of pressure | Hope Solo

Everything goes up a few more notches in the knockout stages, where a potential quarter-final between France and the US could be one of the most epic matches in the history of womens football As a player, I loved the pressure of the big time moments that occur during the World Cups knockout rounds. You feel more butterflies, a bit more stress and a little bit more excitement. Training sessions are more intense. Everything goes up a few more notches. You think you have given it your all during the group-stage games but then you learn that theres another level to reach for in the knockout stages. You know that if you lose, you go home. The intensity goes up …

If you’re not nervous at a World Cup, you don’t care enough to win | Hope Solo

The pressure of a major tournament can be difficult to deal with and not a lot of players have the ability to deal with that day in and day out Before every World Cup game I played in, I felt good during the warm up. I was ready to play and wanted to play. But then we have to go to the locker room and wait for 20 minutes to come back out. Thats when the nerves start to build up. You walk out the tunnel. You line up for the national anthems. The camera is in your face. You become part of the pomp and circumstance and then the nerves start to kick in. Really kick in. You can …

Crystal Dunn: ‘As a black woman I always felt I had to go above and beyond to be noticed’

Four years after watching her USA team-mates hoist the World Cup from a sports bar, the dynamic 26-year-old left back is out to win one for herself while busting stereotypes about black footballers Crystal Dunn talks a lot about what she calls the above and beyond stuff. Whether its stepping in to play whatever position is required on the day, offering her trademark levity to the sometimes high-strung atmosphere of training with the world champions or challenging stereotypes about black players in a sport disproportionately played in America shock quarter-final exit to Sweden at the Olympics. Im a different person and a player than I was four years ago, Dunn says. I was always been known as a diverse player …

I thought the main issue in women’s sports was equal pay. I was wrong

We are told female athletes are paid less than men because they generate less money. But that will always be the case if womens sports arent marketed properly In womens sports we talk a lot about equal pay. The focus of the conversation is usually on how women make less than men, the unfairness of the disparity despite the equal amount of work they put in, and how female athletes often have to work full-time jobs on top of being full-time athletes. The US womens soccer team has brought the conversation to the forefront over the last three years. After they won the World Cup in 2015, it was revealed that the US womens team and in turn received a …