I can't think of a better birthday present to our nation than the beautiful piece of silverware that awaits a winner on Sunday.

It's not a competition that normally garners a lot of attention. While the landscape is shifting, Americans still rarely pay attention to soccer, and that goes double for women's soccer. 

Admittedly, I've got a foot in that boat. The women's game is not something I regularly look out for.

But every four years, when this consistently fantastic group of American women comes together for the FIFA Women's World Cup, they electrify the earth. On Sunday, the U.S. Women's National Team gets another crack at the trophy against the team that defeated them four years ago, Japan.

Some obvious historical implications also make this match-up one for the ages.

And if you think about it, the story of how this group of women, and the previous teams before it, reached this point is very American. 

In the early 20th century, when the flow of immigrants through the northeastern cities was still at a high level, soccer was a fairly common thing to find. It didn't register much in the west or midwest, but America was much more concentrated in the northeast back then.

As the years progressed and the wars came and went, the sport was pushed to the fringes and sports considered truly American, like baseball and football, became the norm. There was a national pride with these games, and soccer was considered something foreign.

This feeling increased as the Cold War dragged on, and the "communist sport" was pushed even more out of sight. Save for Pele and the New York Cosmos noise in the 1970s, the pulse of soccer was barely more than a flatline.

Then came the ladies.

Partially as a result of the sport's exclusion from mainstream, young women who wanted that athlete lifestyle found easy access to soccer. After all, women's sports only began to enter the national periphery (outside of the Olympics) in the late 80s and 90s. 

So if you were a female college athlete and wanted to play sports at your school, soccer was basically it. True, there was basketball; but with those squads so much smaller, soccer became sort of a catch-all.

As a result, players like Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain (the one in the sports bra), and Julie Foudy (currently working for ESPN) were brought up in the game and gave the U.S. it's first glorious moment in the soccer spotlight by beating China on penalty kicks to win the 1999 World Cup.

It's a sports version of the American dream. Women, seeking to change the sporting landscape and gain their own version of "suffrage," put their heads down and worked hard enough to achieve the unthinkable. 

The team we have now is a result of that effort. If you want a measurement for how much respect they've earned: at this current World Cup hosted by Canada, every single U.S. match has been sold-out. 

I for one am proud to call these ladies fellow citizens. So, I would encourage every single one of you to gather around the television on Sunday night at around 6 p.m. and extend your Independence Day celebrations by watching this team represent the whole U.S. on its biggest stage possible.

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