2020: The Year Of Mewis

Describing the year 2020 could quite accurately serve as a dictionary definition of the word ‘impossible’. Sports events, entire seasons and prestigious international competitions were all cruelly whipped away from us by an aggressively obnoxious predator. But amongst the ever-present dread emerged positives to grab on to, rising to the top of the void with little shards of light.

Indeed, women’s football returned, albeit slightly differently to what we are used to. Back in June, the National Women’s Soccer League dosed us with a much-needed tonic, hosting a month-long knock-out tournament that was streamed worldwide. That was it, all eyes on the Challenge Cup.

The tournament brought an incentive to those long lockdown days, gave us an NWSL education and familiarised us with a catalogue of internationally acclaimed players. Amongst these, there were plenty that impressed, yet a particular sibling duo stood out as integral fixtures in their respective teams. Sam Mewis and Kristie Mewis distinguished themselves from the pack, each exerting their tailored command of the midfield to derive the strengths of those around them.

Younger sister, Sam Mewis, began the year in an Atlantic blue North Carolina Courage strip, and is ending it over 3500 miles away from her homeland, donning Manchester City’s iconic sky blue. Mewis started in all five of the NCC’s Challenge Cup games before the top seeds surprisingly crashed out in the first of the knock-out rounds.

The 28-year-old was then one of five USWNT members to make the move across the Atlantic to join the Women’s Super League for the 2020/21 season. Bringing with them an enticing excitement, the impact of each of these players had the potential to swing one of two ways. Yet, each have managed to make a mark, with Mewis leading the line, arguably finding her feet the quickest of the quintet.

Photo: @TLFlathers

Infiltrating Manchester City’s established midfield was never going to be an easy task, even for a World Cup winner, yet Mewis took to it like a duck to water; feet under the table with immediate effect. In fact, Mewis has slotted in with such an immaculate ease, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recall a time in which she was not nullifying defensive lines in the English league.

Since joining Manchester City in the summer, Mewis has racked up six goals, including bagging her first European goal in her Champions League debut. She also became only the third American player to score in an FA Cup final, which City ultimately went on to win. But her goalscoring escapades are merely the tip of the iceberg. Mewis’ aerial abilities, startling agility and ingenuity to assist are what truly mark her as one of the finest signings of the league.

To polish off her successful year, rather fittingly Mewis has also just been named ‘US Female Soccer Player of the Year’. Undoubtably a deserved feat given her consistent performances across all clubs, leagues and competitions.

Across the pond, Kristie Mewis, continues to work wonders in the heart of Houston Dash. The Dash became the somewhat unlikely winners of the Challenge Cup. With every game they saw off the competition while exuding an alluring charm and a rousing of unity. This sense of togetherness drew out the very best in each player, yet the eye, almost unconsciously, was repeatedly drawn to Houston’s middle third, and in particular, Mewis.

Photo: @KMewis19

Mewis’ mouth-watering passing ability, menacing runs and her cognition in envisioning pockets of play made her the ultimate creator, one simply to be held in the highest regard. The captain’s band may not have been wrapped around her upper arm, but Mewis was unmistakably a central cog that propelled the Dash to victory.

The 29-year-old has since carried this exquisite form into the Fall Series. The Dash respectably finished in second place, with Mewis impressively scoring twice and notching up five assists in just four games. It is no wonder then, that Mewis was subsequently called up to the national team for their October and November training camps.

Throughout her career, Mewis has endured her fair share of turbulence. Being traded five times, overcoming disappointment with the national team, suffering an excruciating ACL injury and being halted in her tracks by a global pandemic; it certainly has not been the easiest of rides. But through sheer resilient grit, Mewis made her return to the international scene, six years since her last appearance, in a friendly against The Netherlands this November. Of course, as fate would have it, this match topped Mewis’ year off in style as she claimed her second international goal, 2722 days after her last.

And so, in what has been possibly the most intense period of upheaval many of us have experienced, the Mewises, Mewis’, Mewii, Mewes (insert alternative plural here) have presented a welcomed distraction from our collectively bleak affairs with a glint of excellence.

But more than that, Kristie Mewis’ story is one that brings a smile, yet it is a story that is far from over. Her tale is one of utter perseverance; a reminder that even in the very worst of times, there are always better days ahead.