Abby Wambach's kiss among touching, memorable moments for USWNT
The U.S. women's national team's 5-2 win over Japan in the Women's World Cup final wasn't without its high points. From Carli Lloyd's historic hat trick to Japan's swift answer to goals to the near home-crowd advantage for Team USA, the match was one for the history books. Looking beyond the stellar championship effort, there were also some touching moments that happened outside of the field of play. Check out a few class moments that define Team USA's journey to a World Cup title.
After an emotional World Cup win to cap off her legendary career, Abby Wambach put her love on the international stage by kissing her wife, Sarah Huffman. Huffman, who played in the NWSL, and Wambach were married in Hawaii in 2013. The couple embraced as Huffman leaned over the stands to share the historic moment with her wife. This heartfelt moment was poignant considering the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision that guaranteed same-sex marriage as a right.
Embracing the enemy
Although Japanese midfielder Homare Sawa was part of the 2011 team that defeated the U.S in the previous World Cup title match, Wambach seemed empathetic toward Sawa's loss and the two hugged outside of the team locker rooms. Wambach also helped deliver a loss to Sawa and the Japanese team in the 2012 Olympic final when Team USA grabbed its fourth gold.
As a sign of respect for a formidable opponent, Team USA created a victory tunnel and applauded Japan as the team made its way to the medal stand. Considering the heated previous matches between the two teams, this small gesture further solidified the level of class the national team displayed all tournament.
Golden Ball winner Lloyd showed deference to Wambach by bestowing the captain's armband on her as she checked into the match late in the second half. Wambach has said this will be her last World Cup, and Lloyd made sure she went out with proper honors. "I wanted to make sure she put the armband on because she deserves it," Lloyd said after the win. "She has been legendary to this team. She's been unbelievable. I'm so thankful I can call her my friend, my teammate and I'm just so proud her last World Cup she could go out strong."
Together we rise
Christie Rampone, the only active player from the 1999 Women's World Cup championship team, and Wambach fittingly raised the World Cup trophy together. Although Lloyd scored the historic hat trick, the tribute bestowed on Rampone and Wambach paid homage to two U.S. players who laid the foundation to make this title possible. The raising of the trophy also symbolized the moment when this squad finally escaped the large shadow of the 1999 team.
All in the family
Rampone, Shannon Boxx and Amy Rodriguez gave new meaning to the title "soccer mom" when they shared the World Cup victory on the field with their tiny tots. "It's a pretty amazing experience for them that they get to be around not only mom but just this incredible lot of females that are role models," Rampone told ABC news.
Syd the Kid
When Sydney Leroux jumped into the crowd to embrace her husband, MLS player Dom Dwyer, it was a nice change of pace to see a husband in the stands cheering on his wife as she achieved athletic greatness. Leroux had limited playing time during the tournament and didn't play in the final, but it was fun to follow the couple's journey to the title via Leroux's social media accounts.