Sunday, September 9, 2007

First Look at CSCS

The U.S. team held its official training today at the Chengdu Sports Center Stadium, where it will take on North Korea on Sept. 11 (live on ESPN2 at 5 a.m. ET), to open the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. (Each country is allowed one stadium training at each venue in which it will play). There is a different sort of feeling when a team first walks into a stadium that will host its World Cup match. The field is green and perfect, and the white lines are vibrant. The benches are set up, all the stadium signage is up, the media tribune and mixed zones are ready and there are hundreds of volunteers, police and FIFA officials buzzing around the stadium. In short, the venue is ready to host matches of the Women’s World Cup and the enormity and excitement of the games comes into full focus. The U.S. team warmed up for 15 minutes on the track, trained for 45 minutes on the pitch, then warmed down for another 15 minutes on the track, hit the mixed zone for some interviews, mostly with the American media contingent in China, boarded the bus and headed back to the hotel for a relaxing evening.

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