Sports Illustrated's covers have historically been overwhelmingly male, with the exception of its notorious swimsuit edition — because the moment you introduce women into the equation, sports apparently become irrelevant even in a sports magazine. But no longer! All 23 members of the U.S. Women's National Team have Sports Illustrated covers of their own now, and they're not wearing swimsuits! They're wearing their soccer uniforms! Because they're being celebrated for their accomplishment of winning the Women's Word Cup Championship! Why do I feel the need to use so many exclamation points over something that sounds entirely logical and reasonable? Because it's about dang time, that's why!
Since the team just became the first ever to win three Women's World Cup Championships, Sports Illustrated deemed them kind of a big deal. Because, you know, even one World Cup is a lot. So it was only fair that, after winning more than one World Cup, they got more than one cover. They got 25 of them, in fact, one for each of the 23 athletes, one for the whole team, and one for coach Jill Ellis. Managing Editor Chris Stone said in a statement:
The USWNT has plenty of recognizable, even famous names, but we couldn't think of a group so thoroughly identified with a team as this one. We could go two ways: a team shot, which seemed a little conventional here, or something different and fresh: honoring not just one or two players, but all 23 of them with their own cover.
Stone went on to explain that the team was in L.A. when Sports Illustrated made its decision, but thankfully, the women ended up in New York for a victory parade and agreed to do the photo shoot then.
You can catch a glimpse behind the scenes of the photo shoot here:
Here's to the team's hard-earned victory — and to women being taken as seriously as they deserve.