The newest dynasties in international soccer and women’s college basketball earned the United States Sports Academy’s Men’s and Women’s Team of the Year awards for 2010.
The Spanish national team, which won its first FIFA World Cup in 2010, was named Men’s Team of the Year. The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, which is riding the longest winning streak in the history of college basketball, is the Women’s Team of the Year for the second year in a row.
Spain is currently the reigning World and European champion, having won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship. In July 2008, Spain rose to the top of the FIFA World Rankings for the first time in the team’s history, becoming the first nation to top the ranking without previously having won the World Cup. Between November 2006 and June 2009, Spain went undefeated for a record-tying 35 consecutive matches, a record shared with Brazil, including a record 15-game winning streak and thus earning third place in the FIFA Confederations Cup.
The Huskies topped the 88-game winning streak set by John Wooden’s UCLA men’s team from 1971-74, beating No. 22 Florida State 93-62 on 21 December. They have not lost since 6 April 2008, in the NCAA tournament semifinals. Only twice during the record run has a team come within single digits of Connecticut — Stanford in the NCAA championship game last season and Baylor in early November.
Connecticut established itself as the marquee program in the women’s game, the benchmark by which all others are measured. The Huskies already own seven national titles in 17 years, four perfect seasons under head coach Geno Auriemma. They’ve won five titles in the last nine years and are shooting for their second “three-pete” national title under Auriemma.