Scoring a goal in soccer is hard. For that reason, a ball crossing a line instantly triggers an explosion of joy and delight. Touchdowns in American football might happen more frequently, but after every one there are cops dressed as referees dangling their fingers above a yellow handkerchief ready to call foul if too much fun is had.
Thankfully, the rules of soccer are not as allergic to joy, and this season NWSL players have been letting loose with their celebrations. The result is an unexpected shot of additional entertainment to pair with the delight of a goal, and some have even helped increase the NWSL’s reach on social media.
Kansas City’s Lo’eau LaBonta first blew up the internet with her take on the ‘fake hamstring injury hobble then immediately stop to mini-twerk’. Afterward, LaBonta threw down the gauntlet to her colleagues around woso, stating “[women] soccer players tend to just all go to each other and Kumbaya (on cellys) and we love that…but I think we really want to start making it a little more fun and having individual celebration.”
Since then, she and her Kansas City teammates have continued to pile on the entertainment after their goals. LaBonta hit a golf shot, CeCe Kizer did a Drogba special and treated the corner flag like a mic while some teammates played instruments behind her, and Claire Lavogez led the team in some rowing.
It hasn’t all been Kansas City though, and truth be told, LaBonta isn’t solely responsible, as anyone who has ever watched Megan Rapinoe can tell you. Rapinoe is a showman born without an ‘OFF’ button, always ready for the spotlight that comes after scoring a goal. “I’ve been doing this shit since I was like 12,” said Rapinoe during one postgame, “I love celebrations.”
This season, Rapinoe’s game winner came with a whipping off of her shirt and a flex while staring at the camera, punctuated with a bow while picking up her shirt.
Portland Thorns’ Morgan Weaver and Kelli Hubly climbed the celebration rankings when the former simulated using an air pump while the other slowly and lankily billowed to life as a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man.
Scoring a goal is hard. Sports are meant to be fun. Joy is infectious. Keep them coming, NWSL athletes.