More

6 things to know about this year's Women's World Cup even if you're not a sports fan.

The U.S. goes for their third World Cup championship when they take on Japan on July 5.

6 things to know about this year's Women's World Cup even if you're not a sports fan.

This year's Women's World Cup has been nothing short of awesome.

Close games, unbelievable goals, and last-minute heroics have been written all over this year's tournament. As seems to always be the case, Team USA is dominating. (The women's team's dominance is a nice counter-balance to the men's team's sometimes less-than-awesome results.)

Even if you've missed some of it, here are six things you should know about the 2015 U.S. women's national team going into the game.


Team USA celebrates after beating Germany in the semifinals on June 30, 2015, looking as chill as possible. Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images.

1. The U.S. defense is just totally, unstoppably impenetrable.

The team hasn't given up a goal since the 27th minute of their first round game against Australia. Going into the final, that's 513 consecutive minutes of play without giving up a goal!

Hope Solo punches the ball away during the June 12, 2015, game against Sweden. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

2. Everybody scores the points! No ball-hogging here.

When it comes to scoring goals, Team USA is all about sharing the wealth. Going into Sunday's final, Carli Lloyd has three goals, Megan Rapinoe has two, and Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Christen Press, and Kelley O'Hara each have one. When it comes to putting points on the board, these players are scrappy and spread the ball around.

Kelley O'Hara (left) celebrates scoring a goal in the June 30, 2015, semifinal match against Germany. Photo by Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images.

3. It's probably the last World Cup for scoring legend Abby Wambach.

The 35-year-old forward is the all-time U.S. leader in goals scored in international play, with 183, and Sunday's game might be the last time Abby Wambach will take the field in a World Cup match. This may be your last chance to see her in action!

Abby Wambach walks out to the field before taking on Germany on June 30, 2015. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

When she set the record in June 2013 with her 159th goal, previous record holder Mia Hamm offered congratulations.

4. The team is an inspiring model of inclusiveness in sports.

There are four out lesbian or bisexual members of the team, including head coach Jill Ellis and players Ali Krieger, Megan Rapinoe, and Abby Wambach. As sports tend not to be havens of LGBT inclusion, Team USA has some much-needed representation.

Megan Rapinoe celebrates after the win against Germany. Photo by Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images.

5. They've been here before (1991 and 1999 champions)!

The U.S. team came home victorious in both the 1991 and 1999 World Cup, which drove a generation of young girls into soccer.

The 1991 team featured legends like Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Michelle Akers, as well as some incredible '90s style. Photo by Tommy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images.

The team has been nothing short of dominant — they have never finished lower than third. (The U.S. men's national team, on the other hand, has finished in the top three just once in 20 World Cup tournaments — in 1930.)

6. For the first time in Women's World Cup history, the final will be a rematch!

Just four years ago, the U.S. lost in a heartbreaking final match to Japan, decided on penalty kicks. On Sunday, the teams will line up again with the championship on the line.

In 2011, Japan won the World Cup by defeating the U.S. 3-1 in a shootout after finishing tied 2-2. Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

There so many reasons to cheer in this game. Good luck, Team USA!

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."