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The U.S. women’s national soccer team finds strength in motherhood

The United States women’s soccer team advanced to the 2015 FIFA World Cup Final on Tuesday, defeating rival Germany 2-0 in a thriller. The team will play in the World Cup Final game this Sunday against the winner of Japan and England, who play today.

The team has received inspiration to win from a lot of different sources, but there is perhaps only one that has been the most influential. The Atlantic’s Gwendolyn Oxenham reported that the USWNT's children have been an inspiration to do better on the field.

“Before kids, as a player, you have a tendency to over-think stuff,” Christie Rampone, a mother of two, told The Atlantic. “You’ve got too much time on your hands — you sit there in the hotel room over-thinking, stressing out, imagining things. As a mom you can’t do that — you’re focused on your true problems. The real things. And that really helped my game.”

Here’s a deeper look at three mothers from the U.S. women’s soccer team and what they’ve said in the past about how their children inspire them on the field and how the team has bonded through motherhood.

Amy Rodriguez

Rodriguez took a break from soccer when she learned she was pregnant in 2013, according to USA Today. But she returned to the soccer field in 2014 determined to make it back to the women’s national team ahead of the World Cup, USA Today reported.

Rodriguez, who made the cut for the 2014 U.S. women’s team for the World Cup, said the support of her teammates helped her to succeed upon her return, ESPN reported. It also helped her manage both motherhood and being an international soccer star.

“I think everyone on the team was really positive and excited about my pregnancy,” Rodriguez said. “They've been rooting me on to get back, and having that support felt good."

Luckily for Rodriguez, she could follow in the footsteps of Christie Rampone, who is the U.S. women’s team captain and has been a mother for 16 years.

"She's made it look really easy," Rodriguez said of Rampone, according to ESPN. "It's definitely not as easy as she made it look. It's quite difficult.”

Christie Rampone

Rampone admitted it’s been difficult raising her two daughters, Riley and Reece, when she’s constantly on the road for soccer games. But she’ll often FaceTime with her daughters and encourage them to come to games in and around New Jersey, where the Rampone family resides, NY Daily News reported. Her daughter Rylie, in fact, has traveled so much to see her mother that she has two passports.

“It gets a little harder as the girls get older, but we’re up to the challenge,” Chris Rampone, her husband, told the Daily News.

But Rampone has been a role model for other mothers on the team, like midfielder Shannon Boxx, Daily News reported.

“I’m more in awe of her every day, now that I have a child of my own,” Boxx told the Daily News. “She’s had two kids, and she’s still playing at the highest level.”

Shannon Boxx

Boxx, who often brings her daughter Zoe to training camp, has noticed the U.S. women’s team unite through motherhood, USA Today reported. In fact, some players will be on “Zoe duty” and watch over Boxx’s daughter during practice.

Boxx said the national team has been very supportive of her journey into motherhood, according to USA Today.

“The best advice I ever received was, don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Boxx told USA Today. “You think you can do it all the time, and you don’t want to bother other people in the camp, but honestly, I think everybody is willing to watch her and help. I don’t know if I could have made some of these trips without teammates because with the amount of stuff you have to bring and the amount of time you’re spending with her, it’s nice for a quick little break.”

Related links:

5 American soccer players who love their moms

Youth soccer guest commentary — We're doing it wrong: Players aren't born with talent

American kids love soccer. Should they love FIFA?

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret News National. Send him an email at hscribner@deseretdigital.com or follow him on Twitter @herbscribner.