Sunday’s women’s College Cup final had seven players on the field who have been invited to a senior United States Women’s National Team camp, but the breakout star of the 0-0 draw between Stanford and North Carolina wasn’t any of them. Cardinal freshman goalkeeper Katie Meyer made a name for herself with some excellent saves in their shootout win, but even more so with her attitude. Depending on who you ask, her antics were awesome (correct opinion), or unsporting (bad opinion).
If you missed the game, here’s the whole penalty shootout, including a couple of great saves by Meyer and her celebrations.
Don’t want to watch a two-minute video? Cool, I respect your time. Here’s how Meyer reacts to getting scored on by UNC keeper Claudia Dickey.
And here’s her signature post-save celebration. The face makes it. I’ve been watching this for three days and I’m still laughing.
Meyer became an extremely polarizing figure in the women’s soccer community one match earlier, during Stanford’s semifinal win over rivals UCLA. After saving a penalty, Meyer got in the face of UCLA forward Mia Fishel and had to be restrained by her teammates. Fishel was salty about it.
I’m not going to link the Twitter accounts of random people who don’t have big platforms and didn’t ask for attention, but you don’t have to look very far to find hundreds of people who are genuinely outraged at Meyer’s behavior. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has built a global brand out of being a huge jerk with no respect for anyone, but God forbid a young woman talk some shit.
Big personalities are undoubtedly good for women’s soccer. The arrogant, overly celebratory USWNT is helping to bring more money into the rest of the sport. Sportsmanship scolds might think this a sign of the decline of polite society rather than a huge positive, but the general sports fan finds taunting and trash talk endearing.
Being a massive jerk also has its competitive advantages. To quote my colleague Spencer Hall, taunting is for winners and people of distinction. Class has never intimidated or tilted an opponent, and no one hands out trophies for being The Most Ladylike Footballer.
Katie Meyer was the MVP of a national championship game and has a ring. The people who don’t like her do not have those things. And if Fishel would like Meyer to show some humility, she should simply kick the ball past Meyer into the goal.