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Before US Women's Soccer There Was Althea Gibson

By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It was hard to miss Carli LLoyd's performance as she brought US Soccer to world attention on television by winning the World Cup.

Born in 1927, Althea Gibson worked as a sharecropper and later in 1957, also caught the public's attention as the first person of color to win at Wimbledon. In England the Queen shook her hand and in New York there was a ticker-tape parade.

When the Depression hit, her family moved to New York to a Harlem street designated by the Police Athletic League as a play area. Gibson, at 12, became the New York City women's paddle tennis champion.

When neighbors took a collection for lessons at the Cosmopolitan Tennis Club, Gibson started entering competitions and in response to lobbying efforts by the great tennis star, Alice Marble, Gibson was admitted to what became the US Open in Forest Hills.

To Gibson, winning in your own country was the best.

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