Sunday was a day Houston fans have been waiting for, ever since America won its first Women's World Cup in 16 years.
The Dash had three players who were all key contributors to Team USA's run. Carli Lloyd obviously scored three goals in the championship game and won the Golden Ball as the tournament's top player. It could be said that Morgan Brian's increased role definitely was a factor into Lloyd's explosion. And Meghan Klingenberg's header to prevent a goal being scored against Sweden was one of the tournament's key moments.
All three got back in town on Sunday after a whirlwind tour across the country that saw them go from Los Angeles to New York and took them to rallies, parades, a Taylor Swift concert, and earned a congratulatory phone call from the President.
"Quite frankly, I was cheesing the entire time," Klingenberg said. "I was smiling so big. That's one of the coolest things ever because whenever you get to speak to the President, I mean it's an honor."
The U.S.'s World Cup victory in 1999 had a definite impact on the future of women's soccer, on the players who currently make up the national team. Now, as the NWSL and the Dash try to revitalize the fan base, the timing of this 2015 World Cup victory was fantastic. A Dash-record 13,025 fans attended Sunday night's game against Chicago to see Lloyd, Klingenberg, and Brian. After the intense week that they had and given they arrived on gameday, the three were understandably held out of the actual game, but they clearly saw the fan reaction during pregame ceremonies on the field. And they were excited to be back.
"Even though we just won a World Cup, this league is very important and it's important to support it," Lloyd said. "It's important for the growth of soccer. We've inspired a nation. We've inspired not only little girls, but also little boys, teenagers, moms, grandmoms, we've inspired everybody. And I think it's really important just to be here and to have an effect on all those fans out there."
"I think that's really cool for us to see that we're everywhere," Brian said. "We did inspire a nation. We wanted to do that in the beginning and that's huge for us to come back here after winning the World Cup and to do it with Houston."
"I think that what we did is a huge turning point," Lloyd added. "We've now etched our names in history. 10, 20 years from now, people will be talking about this moment and this team and I couldn't be more proud of everybody."
The trio's first Dash game action will now look to take place on July 20 on the road at FC Kansas City. July 29 will be the team's next home game. That game will be the Houston fans' first chance to see their World Cup champions back in action, on the field, doing what they do best.