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World Champs!

Top of the world! The U.S. Women’s National Team absolutely dismantled Japan on Sunday evening en route to their record third World Cup trophy. United States forward Carli Lloyd shattered all scoring expectations early, securing a hat trick within 16 minutes, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final shattered all ratings expectations by drawing over 22 million viewers—the highest-watched soccer event in U.S. history.

Soccer is here, folks, and it is here to stay.

Last summer I made a similar statement when the numbers came back for the U.S. Men’s National Team matches in the World Cup (and the photos and videos of massive crowds flooding bars and watch parties.) With the returns from the Women’s World Cup, it’s apparent that the viewership was not an aberration. Even Major League Soccer, a neophyte in the top tier of the sport that has struggled for a sustained audience since its inception in 1997 is seeing a ratings increase.

With the CONCACAF Gold Cup set to begin tonight—the U.S. Men take on Honduras at 9:00pm EST—, #SoccerSummer2015 will roll on, and the positive ratings will continue to roll in.

One thing that ratings don’t measure is heart—and the ladies of the USWNT showed it in spades. They recovered from a sloppy start to the tournament against Australia and their lethargic draw against Sweden and found their stride at the right time, besting the world’s top team, Germany. They took the chip on their shoulder from 2011’s loss against Japan to the field—the 5-2 score line showed it—and won their third piece of World Cup hardware, as well as the hearts of millions of Americans. Congratulations, ladies!

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