She's known as the "Tower of Power" in World Cup circles. To local family members, she is simply Sam. Now, Samantha Mewis and her USA Soccer teammates are world champions.
"We're like beaming with pride and we're so happy we got to share the journey with her," said Janene Johnson, Mewis’ mother-in-law.
Mewis grew up in Hanson, and on Sunday her friends and family gathered at a local restaurant in the town next door, Whitman. There they witnessed the culmination of the long World Cup journey – the final match against the Netherlands.
"I'll feel so much better once they score," Johnson said while watching the match.
"She sacrifices a lot with being away all the time. She kind of has to miss out on a lot of family things because she's just working so hard to achieve what she needs to do, and she's just made it happen for herself."
The serious part of Mewis' soccer journey began at Whitman-Hanson High School where she played until 2010. She then went on to play for UCLA, helping lead the Bruins to their first national title in 2013.
Mewis now plays professional women's soccer for a team in North Carolina.
But her in-laws, who got to see some World Cup play in Paris, say the U.S. team experience has been something special for the former Whitman Hanson star.
"She refers to them as best friends and that's what it is. They are so tight," Chris Johnson, Mewis' father-in-law, said of the entire team. "They each have each other’s back all the time."
It was a big game and a big win. But the biggest victory for the USA Soccer team may have come off the field.
"I think it's honestly pushing the women's game forward," said Cathryn Johnson, Mewis' sister-in-law. "It's like giving all these young girls across the country like these role models they can look up to."
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