I am not sure how you could be an American and not be enthralled by the USA women’s soccer team and their glide through the FIFA World Cup to emerge as champions. I get that soccer sits way down the list of favorite sports for the vast majority of Americans, and I’m one of them. But, when it’s our team on the field representing our entire country American pride takes over.

I believe I watched every minute of every game our women played in this World Cup. Their dedication to defense was a pleasure to watch. These women smothered their opponents in every game. There was much consternation in the earlier matches about the USA offense, but when it came down to crunch time they scored goals at an amazing rate to put Japan, the reigning champions, away in the first half of the final game.

I watched that game at a local bar and restaurant that promotes soccer all year long. As I expected, the place was packed with soccer fans and it was a great atmosphere to watch the big game. People were dressed in USA attire. The wait staff was wearing lots of red, white and blue. The crowd was pumped up a half hour before the game and they were intent on every minute of the contest. It was great to see so many Americans from so many different backgrounds and ideologies all united by a single cause. We need more of that mentality in this country.

There were deafening roars with every American goal and moans of despair with every missed shot by the USA team or made goal by Japan. When the final seconds ticked away the entire place erupted. As I’ve already said, I’m not the world’s biggest soccer fan but if it can be like this World Cup has been as a spectator sport, I’m ready to buy into the game. I found myself wishing I had made the trip to Canada to see a game live while they were playing so close to America. I imagine many other did as well.

Congratulations to every woman on the USA team and a special cheer for former Florida Gator great Abby Wambach. What better way could she have ended her career than by winning the World Cup? Abby may be moving on but there is a lot of talent on this roster, most of which should be back for another run. Talent like Lauren Holiday, Tobin Heath, Kelly O’Hara, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd who scored a hat-trick in the final. It appears that spectacular goalie Hope Solo will return for one more World Cup in 2019. Let’s hope so.

After losing to Japan in 2011 and winning it all this year, the USA team has staking its claim as the top team in the world. It is time for America to pay attention to them as they work their way back to defend their championship in four years. USA USA USA!!!