History was made last week when the U.S. women’s national team won the Women’s World Cup — beating Japan 5-2 in the final. They were the first to win three World Cups in the history of the event. 

Sports Illustrated shed the spotlight on the winning team by giving each player a cover shoot. The historic hat trick player, Carli Lloyd, and veterans Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe — just to name a few of the world’s greatest — got to pose for their own cover, with trophy in tow. Chris Stone, S.I. managing editor says, “The USWNT has plenty of recognizable, even famous names, but we couldn’t think of a group so thoroughly identified as a team as this one. We could go two ways: a team shot, which seemed a little conventional here, or something different and fresh: honoring not just one or two players, but all 23 of them with their own cover.” 

When S.I. was set on the idea, the team was in Los Angeles for an event, and photographer Simon Bruty who shot the World Cup final was headed home. Stone says, “Then New York City delivered, big-time, by planning Friday’s parade.” The team was shot before and after the parade — adding the S.I. cover to the historic victory. Check out the behind-the-scenes of the famous shoot.