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5 Women Soccer Players to Know Before the Paris Olympics

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

From the iconic Brandi Chastain penalty kick in the 1999 World Cup to Alex Morgan’s header to win gold in the 2012 London Olympics, Carli Lloyd’s hat trick to win the 2015 World Cup and Megan Rapinoe’s heroics in the 2019 World Cup, the United States National Women’s Soccer Team has brought some of the most iconic moments in women’s sports and soccer as a whole.

However, many familiar faces like Rapinoe, Lloyd and Julie Ertz have hung up their cleats.

While stars like Rose Lavelle, Mallory Swanson, and Lindsay Horan are still active, there are some new players fans should know about before the Paris Olympics this summer.

Trinity Rodman

Trinity Rodman was one shining star in an otherwise lackluster 2023 Women’s World Cup. The 21-year-old player has already won an NWSL championship, NWSL Rookie of the Year and become the league’s highest-paid player from 2022 until recently.

The forward is a quick and tricky player with some of the best foot skills in the world. Rodman is animated, firey and has an immense swagger on and off the pitch.

Rodman’s social media presence, especially her TikTok, is hilarious. The footballer knows how to have fun while being one of the most feared attackers in women’s soccer.

Rodman comes from athletic royalty. The notorious basketball player Dennis Rodman is her father. However, Rodman plans on carving out her athletic legacy separate from her father’s, and she’s off to a great start.

Margaret “midge” purce

Unfortunately, Margaret “Midge” Purce won’t be an option for the USWNT roster in the 2024 Olympics as the Gotham FC player recently tore her ACL.

As a silver lining, Purce has an excellent media personality. She proved that in the 2023 Women’s World Cup as a host of “The 91st” alongside Katie Nolan.

Purce was the 2023 NWSL Final MVP. She helped lead Gotham FC and assisted both goals the New York/New Jersey club scored to win the match.

It’s tragic to lose Purce, a stable and versatile player, ahead of a tournament that only allows an 18-player roster. The Harvard grad has played both outside-back and forward for the USWNT.

Purce will likely do something similar to “The 91st” or comment on the women’s soccer tournament in the Olympics, and that’s content fans won’t want to miss.

Jaedyn Shaw

Jaedyn Shaw is only 19 years old but already has some serious hardware winning the Golden Ball at the inaugural Women’s Gold Cup earlier this year. Shaw put away four goals in six appearances.

Shaw has only been with the USWNT for a few months, as her first international camp was in December of 2023. The teenager has clearly made a mark and is possibly the most exciting player to see debut in the Olympics this summer.

The San Diego Wave FC forward is part of the new generation of U.S. Women’s players who skipped out on college ball and went right into the league. In San Diego, Shaw has been able to learn and play under world-class attackers.

Shaw is creative and versatile and has proven she can find the back of the net for the USWNT. It would be a shame not to see her in Paris this summer.

Sophia Smith

Sophia Smith has been referred to as the “future” of the USWNT for a while now. It seems like the National Team is entering a new era, and Smith is set up to be a staple player.

Smith became the NWSL’s youngest MVP in 2022, the leading goal scorer in 2023 and the league’s highest-paid player in 2024.

Smith has also earned the respect and admiration of many USWNT legends, such as Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe. Smith believes she can become one of the best soccer players in the world, and the 23-year-old has proven that’s a very realistic goal for herself.

A ruthless and energetic forward, Smith has proven to be a reliable goal scorer and a powerful catalyst for the USWNT.

Smith is also dating Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Wilson, and watching the two young athletes support each other has made for the cutest content.

Naomi Girma

Rodman and Smith were shining moments in a dark World Cup for the USWNT in 2023, but Naomi Girma played some of the best soccer in the entire tournament.

The San Diego Wave FC player was the number one overall pick in the 2022 draft and has been a vital player for the club ever since. Girma was the NWSL Rookie of the Year in 2022 and NWSL Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 and 2023.

She was also the U.S. Soccer’s Female Soccer Player of the Year in 2023, making the 23-year-old the first defender to win this award.

Girma is a world-class defender and with Becky Sauerbrunn aging out of professional soccer soon, Girma is the perfect person to fill those legendary cleats.

The USWNT clearly has a bright future for anyone who wants to get into women’s soccer this summer. Following these stars is a great way to immerse yourself in the upcoming excitement at the Paris Olympics.

I am Sophia D'Ovidio, a third-year majoring in digital and print journalism with a minor in media studies. When I'm not writing for Her Campus @ PSU I am watching TV, at the gym, making TikToks or with my friends. During my time at Penn State, I also am the director of the Arts and Entertainment department at Commradio, Penn State's student-run, web-based radio station affiliated with the Bellisario College of Communications. I oversee and contribute to articles, talk shows, podcasts and live coverage events for my department. Additionally, I am a volunteer for THON, the largest student-run philanthropy event where Penn State students raise money to combat childhood cancer. I am from Allentown, New Jersey, and I love spending time at home with my family and down the shore. My other interests include comedy, film, women's soccer, hiking and music.