HANSON — From lawn signs offering congratulations to cheers of family, friends and public officials, Hanson has spent the week celebrating the achievement of favorite daughter Samantha Mewis and her U.S. Women’s National Soccer teammates at the World Cup tournament in Lyon, France.
“I’ve had so much fun the last two weeks name-dropping Sam and [her sister] Kristie,” said Selectman Wes Blauss, a retired Hanson Middle School teacher. “It’s given me so much street cred having known them.”
Samantha and her older sister Kristie were the first sisters to represent the United States on the National Team.
Selectmen Chairman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett also spoke about Mewis and her team at the Tuesday, July 9 Board of Selectmen meeting.
“On Sunday, the town of Hanson, along with the rest of the world, watched in awe as our own Samantha Mewis [and] the Women’s National Soccer team made history with the first back-to-back World Cup titles,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said, noting the off-the-field benefits the win could inspire.
“While our win on Sunday was, in and of itself amazing, the impact that Sam has made goes well beyond the field,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said. “She and her teammates have literally inspired girls all over the world. Their teamwork, joy of the game and sheer athleticism were unparalleled and evident to everybody watching, but just as important, is the fact that she and her team have used this platform to continue to advocate for gender pay equity, thus assuring that the effects of their win will be felt for generations to come.”
The daughter of Bob and Melissa Mewis, Samantha and Kristie grew up in Hanson. Samantha was a star player at W-H where she was a captain on the girls’ soccer team which notched two undefeated seasons and four league championships in her four years on the team.
Mewis will also be among the first class of inductees to the W-H Hall of Fame, Athletic Director Bob Rodgers announced via Twitter on Sunday, July 7 — after the U.S. team won its fourth World Cup, and second consecutive championship.
“On Wednesday we will have info on the entire class of inductees as well as info on how you can attend the dinner the first weekend in October. @sammymewy is so deserving of this honor,” Rodgers Tweeted. “When the rest of the class is announced Panther nation will be quite proud.”
The road to the World Cup — and Hall of Fame — has not always been easy.
“Sam’s story is one of persistence and determination,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said. “She didn’t make the roster for the 2016 Olympics, but was named as an alternate for the squad and then sustained a serious knee injury that sidelined her for the first half of 2018.”
She recovered and made the USWNT roster for the World Cup, but there were no expectations that she would start until the day before the opener, when a teammate’s injury opened a spot for her.
Mewis then had significant playing time, leading to her scoring two goals and three assists, including an assist in Sunday’s game. Opposing teams scored only three goals between them during the six-game World Cup tournament.
“It’s no surprise [that], if you drive around Hanson, you will see all kinds of signs congratulating Sam and the rest of the team on their win,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said. “The whole town is literally bursting with pride at the success of our hometown girl and we can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.”