Who Is Samantha Mewis? New Details On The U.S. Women's Soccer Midfielder Competing In The World Cup

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Who Is Samantha Mewis? New Details On The U.S. Women's Soccer Midfielder Competing In The World Cup

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will face off against France on June 28th, after winning all their games so far in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. They defeated Thailand 13-0, Chile 3-0, Sweden 2-0, and Spain 2-1, and assuming the team makes it to the finals, they’ll play the game of their lives on July 7th, and become champions (hopefully) again. 

Because the U.S. team is the most successful team in international women’s soccer — winning three Women’s World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals — it should come as a shock that they aren’t paid nearly as much as the men’s team. Because of this, the entire team filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, alleging unequal pay and violation of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Though the team won’t let this lawsuit distract people from the tournament, we can learn a whole lot about these players off the field. And when it comes to the tallest player on the roster, we’re extra-curious. Who is Samantha Mewis? Here are 7 things to know about the midfielder for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team.

1. She grew up playing sports.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sam Mewis (@sammymewyy) on May 3, 2019 at 12:29pm PDT

From Massachusetts, Mewis’ parents were both into sports. Her father, Bob, played soccer at Framingham State and later coached his daughters. Her mother, Melissa, was a Globe All-Scholastic basketball player who went on to play at Northeastern, and ran track and field. Mewis’ grandfather, Bob Lang, played basketball and was a top prospect for a career in sports, but it was interrupted by World War II.

According to Mewis, “Both our parents are passionate about sports. Mom is just so competitive. Whether it’s genetic or learned, she passed on the will to win and compete and be the best, and to be a strong woman in life. She wanted to win and [said] never be ashamed to want to be the best. We looked to Mom a lot, just as an example.”

And Melissa agrees, adding, “I think that I am probably one of the most competitive people you will ever meet and I think that, in combination with Bob’s soccer IQ, really made a difference. Bob is real knowledgeable, he sees the whole game, and the girls must’ve gotten some of that vision from him. Bob is the soccer player and just knows the game and has such a nice way with the girls — he used to be a teacher so he has a very nice way of teaching them without being critical.”

Mewis recalls how their experience with sports impacted her own passions, saying, “We were lucky to have so many opportunities early on and be exposed to such good programs and have understanding coaches that wanted us to succeed.”

2. She played in high school.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sam Mewis (@sammymewyy) on Jun 5, 2019 at 7:34am PDT

On the soccer team, she earned Parade All-American honors and was named NSCAA National Player of the Year, Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Soccer Player of the Year, and ESPN RISE All-American.

But Mewis remembers more than just playing the game: 

“What I really remember is the stuff off the field, what we used to do before games, traditions in the stairwell and singing on the bus and in the locker room. High school soccer was so important. It really kept it fun after the pressure and stress of the international game. Playing with friends kept me loving it. It was definitely physical, and I learned a lot, too. It challenged me in different ways. I had to be passing a lot, I got fouled a lot, I had to be a leader on the team, I was learning all new things,” she said.

Part of what inspired her is her older sister, Kristie. Samantha, who is two years younger, “fought to keep up with big sister Kristie, a star forward,” but eventually found her own way when the two went different ways for college.

3. She continued playing in college.

Mewis attended UCLA, while Kristie attended Boston College. Said Samantha, “In college, we both became our own people which made us closer than ever. She is my best friend and I need her so much.” And while at UCLA, Mewis played on the Bruins. She was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, and won the 2015 Honda Award for soccer by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA).

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4. And she eventually became a pro.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sam Mewis (@sammymewyy) on Mar 24, 2019 at 3:09pm PDT

In 2013, she signed with the Pali Blues, where she remained until 2015, when she was drafted by the Western New York Flash. That same year, she was a finalist for the NWSL Rookie of the Year Award. In 2017, Mewis’ team was rebranded as the North Carolina Courage, and she was named to the NWSL Best XI and was a finalist for the NWSL Most Valuable Player Award. Due to a knee injury, she missed the beginning of the 2018 season, but returned and played in all the regular season games.

Her other appearances including playing in the 2016 SheBelieves Cup, being an alternate for the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship. On being an alternate for the 2016 Olympics, Mewis said that it motivated her to bring her A-game: “I never wanted to be that close and not make it again.”

5. It’s her first World Cup.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sam Mewis (@sammymewyy) on Jun 12, 2019 at 6:17am PDT

And boy, was she nervous! But thankfully, seeing her teammates put her at ease:

“I did get a little nervous today before the game and I confided that in Becky, and she just reminded me to complete my first pass. When I got nervous I looked around the locker room and was, ‘Oh, Becky’s here and Kelley’s here, and ‘Pinoe’s here and Carli’s here,’ then I was like, ‘oh, these are my teammates, I’m going to be fine. They’re going to make my job easy.’ So I think that helps a lot. I also have a lot of family here, so when I do get nervous on the field, I remember that they’re here and I’m playing for them, too, and between my teammates and my family it makes me feel a lot better.”

And she’s more than willing to help her team in any way possible.

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Says Mewis, “If the team needs me to play I want to play, and if the team needs me to support from the bench and maybe sub in, I’m ready to do that, too. I’m not really thinking about myself. I’m just thinking about what I need to do to be there for the team, whatever they need... I think it’s not as hard as it looks when I’m passing with all these world-class players and I have them around me defending and doing so much of the work.”

6. Her sister is also a pro-athlete.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sam Mewis (@sammymewyy) on Aug 30, 2018 at 10:10am PDT

Kristie plays for the Houston Dash, and previously played for USWNT. And Samantha credits her sister with helping her make it this far, saying, “When I first got called in to the full national team and got my first cap, stepping on field with [Kristie]... It wouldn’t have been possible without her paving the way.”

But Kristie has a lot to say about her younger sister and her ambition: 

“Just persistence with her, she’s just someone who [knows] exactly what she wants in life, exactly what she wants in her career. She’s just so skilled, driven, and she’s the most relentless person, honestly, I’ve ever known. She’s such an intelligent player, she sees things on the field no one else really sees, and also knows exactly the type of player she is, what she’s best at and not best at, and uses that.

It’s going to be so much fun watching her and all the girls on the national team. This is probably going to be the best World Cup ever. These last couple years women have, obviously, been pushing the barrier between men’s and women’s soccer, and sports in general, and it’s going to be massive. I remember that day, the ’99 World Cup, and I’m sure a lot of girls are like Sam and I. I remember I never felt anything like that before in life. Now, I’m sure there will 8-year-olds watching Sam and thinking the same thing.”

7. She’s married.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sam Mewis (@sammymewyy) on Dec 26, 2018 at 11:34am PST

Mewis tied the knot with her longtime boyfriend, Pat Johnson, in December 2018. The couple were married near the Old State House in Boston.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.