Megan Rapinoe won the SI cover challenge

Sports Illustrated has unveiled 25 different magazine covers to honor the U.S. women’s national team’s World Cup triumph. There’s one for each of the 23 players on the roster, one for coach Jill Ellis, and one group shot in which Megan Rapinoe’s basically like, β€œNah, I wear whatever shoes I damn well want.”

Here are the top 5 covers.

5. Hope Solo


There are three covers in the 25-cover set that don’t immediately express what might be considered a conventional view of happiness. This is one of them. That doesn’t mean Hope Solo isn’t happy, just that the final image selected makes for interesting viewing if you want to add a backdrop to the drama that followed her into the World Cup. This cover could convey Solo’s belief that this was a business trip. Then again, I hate it when people assume that I’m not happy just because I’m not smiling. I can respect the mystery here.

Pose game: 6.5/10

4. Christine Rampone


There are so many possible interpretations for long-time veteran Christine Rampone’s trophy cradle. It could be a subtle shout to motherhood, generally, or to her two children. Perhaps soccer is one of Rampone’s metaphorical children. It could also simply be the most comfortable way to hold a trophy, something her wide-eyed neophyte teammates don’t yet comprehend. You get comfortable holding trophies when you’ve won the World Cup twice, Olympic gold three times, and countless other shiny objects over the course of a career. This is an innovative use of trophy.

Pose game: 7/10

3. Abby Wambach


Simultaneously pensive, at peace and content, Abby Wambach’s cover doesn’t reveal the unbridled joy that comes across in almost every other non-Solo-related cover. This is easily the most emo pose of the group. No eye contact, the feel of a private moment interrupted, it almost feels like Wambach is praying or giving thanks … or shooting the cover of an acoustic alt-rock album. It’s versatile. Strip down all the words from this cover and you’re left with a fine piece of photography that could find a home on the wall of someone who brags about art.

Pose game: 8/10

2. Julie Johnston


Compared to her other teammates’ covers, Johnston’s cover must be applauded for her all-in approach. Air guitar-ing the World Cup trophy might make this the most American of all the covers. But there’s still something about the air guitar that feels a little clichΓ©d. Imagine if she played it like a trombone, or threw it like a football, or turned it into a large middle finger. That’s probably all that stands between Johnston and Megan Rapinoe’s no. 1 spot.

Pose game: 8.5/10

1. Megan Rapinoe



She’s so great.

Pose game: 10/10

Honorable Mention: Kelley O’Hara


Kelley O’Hara doesn’t seem convinced that the World Cup win actually happened. In the back of her mind there’s a fear that someone is coming to snatch the trophy away, possibly to melt it down and use the gold for future FIFA bribes.