Our national treasure, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, returned to play on Feb. 10, looking every bit as dominant as they did during their 5-2 dismantling of Japan in the 2015 World Cup Final. The American women squashed Costa Rica 5-0 in their first Olympic Qualifying match, and goal No. 5 was this you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it shot from Christen Press.
[youtube video=”UdcAxWslhu8″ /]
Oof. That’s brutal. I mean, it’s beautiful to watch. But if you’re a prospective opponent of the USWNT at the Rio Games this summer, that thud you hear has to be the sound of your heart sinking.
Anyway, it’s no wonder that Press can pull off such trickery so smoothly. When she spoke with STACK shortly after last year’s World Cup Final, she showed off some of the juggling drills and footwork drills she performs tirelessly outside of practice. She credited soccer legend Pelé with inspiring her to put extra effort into her game at a young age.
“[Pelé] had such an amazing passion and understanding of football, and he’s kinda magic when you watch him play,” Press said. “He looked so natural, like he was born to play soccer, but in his training videos, he’d say how the times when nobody was watching is when you must work the hardest. I was moved by that. That’s when I started training so much outside of the team, spending hours and hours on the field, just usually myself and a bag of balls, practicing the techniques he showed in the videos.”
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Press and her teammates take on Mexico on Saturday, Feb. 23 in their next Olympic qualifying matchup