Philadelphians joined Americans across the country and around the world in ebullient cheers when the U.S. Women’s National Team clinched the FIFA World Cup on Sunday with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands. It was the fourth trophy and second in a row for the USWNT, whose takehome prizes are less than 25% of what their male counterparts would have made — despite the women’s team generating a bigger economic impact.
A couple of those star soccer players have Philly ties, and both of them are currently featured in murals painted to honor the historic championship run.
Forward Carli Lloyd is a South Jersey native who roots for Philadelphia teams and has said this is one of her favorite cities. Her brightly colored likeness — ready to spring into action — now graces the side of a building near Front and Girard under the El.
Muralist Nilé Livingston painted the image of Lloyd in Fishtown over a month ago, in partnership with Mural Arts. The red-white-and-blue design unlocks a special video if you snap a pic with the U.S. Soccer app, according to Livinston’s website. It was created as part of a project comprising 12 outdoor portraits of U.S. Women’s Soccer players across the nation, though it is only temporary, per Streets Dept.
The other Philly connection on the USWNT is Julie Ertz, whose husband Zach Ertz plays for the Eagles. The tight end skipped some optional training this summer to be with his wife in France during the tournament, and he was there when she won.
Back home, while Love City Brewing was hosting a big finals watch party on the patio, Ertz’s likeness was quickly taking shape on the side of the Rail Park-adjacent building.
The fast-painted pitchscape was a collaboration between two artists: Bill Strobel, a large-scale muralist whose black-and-white works grace restaurants all over the city, and Christian “TameArtz” Rodriguez, who acts as head curator for Kensington creative pop-up space Sunflower Philly.
This project was orchestrated by Playmakers Studio, a creative agency that’s part of a group founded last year to help the American public discover the joys of professional soccer. (It has a minority stake in the local MLS team, the Philadelphia Union.)
Some people in other countries let sour grapes show as they decried the USWNT’s post-cup celebrations, calling the players “arrogant” and “cocky.” But if there’s one thing sports are good for, it’s bringing otherwise disparate Americans together — and the rare display of national unity after Julie Ertz, Carli Lloyd and their teammates won can now be remembered thanks to these two murals.