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The latest issue of ESPN The Magazine – featuring USWNT star Julie Ertz on the cover – is devoted to the robust Women’s World Cup field headed to France this summer and answers some of the most important questions going into the big tournament. Senior writer Allison Glock’s cover story delves into Ertz’s reputation for furiously demolishing barriers with a smile. A steadfast member of the 2015 World Cup team, she was benched after the 2016 Olympics but fought her way back to the starting 11 by changing positions and doing whatever is necessary. Now, she’s ready to lead the USWNT to a second straight World Cup title. The issue, powered by espnW, is on newsstands Friday.
ESPN’s Julie Foudy breaks down who the Women’s World Cup standouts are this year in two pieces: “U.S. Against the World,” which highlights the 23 women headed to France this summer to represent the U.S., and “The World Against U.S.,” which highlights the stars of teams from all over the world who will be challenging the USWNT.
The World Football Issue also tackles:
Who’s the Magician of the U.S. Women’s National Team? espnW writer Graham Hays’ Q&A with Tobin Heath, whose dazzling footwork and famous trickery will hopefully lead the USWNT to another World Cup trophy.
Who’s the Future of U.S. Women’s Soccer? Senior writer Mina Kimes introduces the brightest new face on the U.S. team: Mallory Pugh, who decided to leave UCLA to go pro and is primed for a breakout tournament this summer. As the rest of the world catches up, can she keep the USWNT on top of the world?
Which Aussie rules football? Senior writer Alyssa Roenigk profiles Sam Kerr, Australia’s first women’s soccer superstar, who has redefined what’s possible for women footballers in Australia, both in terms of how good they are and how much they are worth. And if this summer goes according to plan, she won’t settle for less.
What is it Like to Play Against/With Marta? World Cup players past and present reflect on the legacy of Brazilian legend Marta, the tournament’s all-time leading goal scorer who’s likely playing in her last World Cup. Turns out, it’s a nightmare to play against her and a dream to play with her—and the numbers back that up.
Who is France’s Unlikely Pillar? Growing up in Martinique, a French Caribbean island smaller than Rhode Island, Wendie Renard dreamed of playing for France. Now, as the country prepares to host its first Women’s World Cup, the defensive star shares the journey that took her 4,200 miles from home to a possible first championship. As told to Bonnie D. Ford
Which Underdog Has Everything to Lose? In October, Jamaica became the first Caribbean team to ever qualify for a Women’s World Cup—a mere eight years after the team was disbanded because of a lack of funding. That remarkable turnaround is thanks, in large part, to Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella. Global sports correspondent Sam Borden tells the Reggae Girlz’s remarkable story as they prepare for their first chance to shine on the world stage.
Also in this issue:
The Numbers: Tipping the Caps
What can the MLBPA do about declining payrolls? It can start by helping its lowest-paid members take owners to the bank. By Peter Keating
The Truth: Pressure Points
Reconsidering the legacies of Jackie Robinson and Al Campanis, former teammates who each played a formative role in changing MLB. By Howard Bryant
WNBA Preview: Coming Up Aces
One year after snagging eventual ROY A’ja Wilson with the first overall pick of the WNBA draft, the Las Vegas Aces added another building block at the top of the draft in former Notre Dame guard Jackie Young, who tells Katie Barnes that she hopes she’s so good she has a street named after her (again). By Katie Barnes
Tiny Oral History: Get the Flock Out
It was just a May game last spring between so-so teams, hanging out during a rain delay, when a flock of geese landed. That’s when The Rally Goose was born—after a near-death experience. By Anna Katherine Clemmons
The Walk-In: Klay Thompson
Warriors guard Klay Thompson is a man of few words. He is not, however, a man of few outfits! Here’s how the Bay Bomber leads the Dubs in style. By Stacey Pressman
Scouttakes: Wilder Sides
Heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder (40–0–1, 39 KOs), coming off his first non-win, fights Dominic Breazeale next. So we had an anonymous trainer assess Wilder—then let Wilder jab back. By Anthony Olivier
Wickets and Chill
Can’t tell a googly from a sticky wicket? No problem! You can still find a team to love at the Cricket World Cup, using our Netflix-ish guide and incredibly advanced ratings. (The Mag created a five-point system based on cricket’s current world rankings, which factors in wins and points accrued.) By Aishwarya Kuma
Steph Curry From Deep
The jump shot has been democratized, and is as essential to the arsenal of everyday athleticism as throwing a spiral or tossing a frisbee, thanks in large part to the Golden State Warriors’ revolutionary sharpshooter – Steph Curry. Tom Junod explores the roots of Curry’s generation-defining jumper. By Tom Junod
Who You Calling Old?
Their hairs are gray, their skin is wrinkled and they’re unlikely to defy the laws of gravity for more than a moment at a time. But age is but a number for these senior athletes going one-on-one with Father Time. By Steve Wulf
UFC: Tape of the Tales
Height? Weight? Reach? Who cares? The Mag analyzes UFC 238 solely by the main card’s best backstories. By Sachin Dave Chandan
Some surefire historical tips based on data from the 105 times across Women’s World Cup and Olympic history that a player has stepped to the spot after extra time expired. By Sachin Dave Chandan