The U.S. women’s national team made history by becoming the first to win three Women’s World Cups, snapping a 16-year title drought to do so by beating Japan 5-2 in the final and capping a memorable month in Canada.
To honor that achievement, Sports Illustrated has come up with a one-of-a-kind cover shoot. Instead of one cover to honor the 23 players and coach Jill Ellis, one for each of them. From Golden Ball winner Carli Lloyd to veteran stalwarts Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe to backup goalkeepers Alyssa Naeher and Ashlyn Harris, each member of the World Cup-winning squad, posing with the World Cup trophy, has her own cover as part of a unique set.
"On Tuesday, July 7, we alighted on the idea of one cover for each of the 23, plus a 24th for the coach,” said Chris Stone, Sports Illustrated managing editor. "The USWNT has plenty of recognizable, even famous names, but we couldn't think of a group so thoroughly identified with a team as this one. We could go two ways: a team shot, which seemed a little conventional here, or something different and fresh: honoring not just one or two players, but all 23 of them with their own cover.
"Now how to pull it off? By the time we settled on the idea, the team was in L.A. for an event that would end mid-afternoon. The photographer we wanted to shoot it, and who had shot the [World Cup final], Simon Bruty, was headed home to D.C. It wasn't going to happen on Tuesday. Then, New York City delivered, big-time, by planning Friday's parade, which would bring the entire team to a single spot. The USWNT, incredibly cool and helpful from the start, agreed to be shot both before and after the parade. It all added up to a little piece of history, the first shoot of its kind in SI history.”
Here is the end result: A historic cover shoot for a historic team. (Click here for full-size gallery.)