Black girl magic leads USWNT front line to Olympics

The USWNT Olympic roster is set to inspire the next generation of black forwards
USWNT's Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson walk across the field during their match against South Korea.
USWNT's Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson walk across the field during their match against South Korea. / Robin Alam/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Growing up, there was no shortage of powerhouse USWNT forwards to look up to.

I was in complete awe of Mia Hamm's soccer smarts and uncanny ability to find the back of the net. And Abby Wambach's physical prowess and fearlessness. Both wildly different and both unstoppable.

These are iconic names that molded and elevated US soccer. They are legends.

But they didn't look like me.

How could I know what to dream when I only saw a partial image of my potential dream on the field?

USWNT Olympic roster features five black forwards

Sophia Smith, Malloy Swanson, Trinity Rodman, Jaedyn Shaw, and Crystal Dunn are so many things. They're quick, creative, and smart. They excel together and dazzle individually. And they're black.

What a gift to young black forwards. To see that level of black excellence representing their country on one of the world's biggest stages. To see themselves represented in not one but five of the world's best footballers. Five young women who are unapologetically occupying space in the global sports landscape.

They won't be everyone's cup of tea. They edged out former captain and USWNT staple Alex Morgan, a polarizing decision by head coach Emma Hayes that has left most USWNT fans either furious or relieved. And on whole, they're glaringly lacking in Olympic experience.

However, they're fit, healthy, and in good form, three traits critical to a tournament with a small roster and grueling schedule.

Their talent and commitment to bringing their best every time they step foot on the field has rightfully earned them a ticket to France, and they'll be watched by millions of adoring young eyes back home.


They're everything young Marjani wishes she could have seen, and they're everything the next generation needs. They bring newness and excitement to a team that's already dripping with talent and accolades. They bring black girl magic.