Last Sunday, the U.S. women's soccer team defeated Japan 5-2 in what was one of the greatest World Cup performances of all time. It was the most watched soccer match in U.S. history — for both men and women.
The champions were saluted Friday in New York City with the first-ever ticker-tape parade for a women's sports team.
Now, Sports Illustrated has also decided to honor their achievement by creating an unprecedented 25 different covers — one for each member of the team, coach Jill Ellis, and a group shot. (And there isn't a bikini in sight!)
"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," said Chris Stone, SI's managing editor. "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."
We agree wholeheartedly with the magazine's choice. No one deserves it more than this squad of history-makers.
You can find a full gallery of the covers with a behind-the-scenes video here.