Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gooooooood Morning, China

The U.S. Women’s National Team touched down at 7:42 a.m. China time in Guangzhou on January 10 to the normal January gloom in southern China, but a nice surprise was temperatures in the low 70s! Still, a funny thing happened on the way to China for the U.S. team…the city (and of course it would follow, the stadium) for the tournament got changed. We can’t recall an international trip for the U.S. WNT where they didn’t exactly know where they were going as the plane lifted off, but the story unfolded something like this. Months ago, rumors abounded that the Four Nations Tournament was going to be held in Macau, the former Portuguese colony off the coast of China that is known in some circles as “The Vegas of the East.” The tournament was finally schedule for Kunming in the deep south of China, but then not long ago confirmed for Foshan, just south of Guangzhou and also in southern China (but not as southern as Kunming).

Right before the team left Los Angeles, U.S. general manager Cheryl Bailey got an email from the organizers giving her new hotel information, and it wasn’t in Foshan, it was in Guangzhou. The email also said that the training and stadium was six minutes from the hotel. Foshan is at least 18 miles south of Guangzhou. The musical chairs of venues was being explained to midfielder Angela Woznuk on the flight and the Chinese fellow sitting next year her overhead the conversation. He was readying a Chinese paper which had a short story confirming that the tournament had indeed been moved to Guangzhou due to “sponsorship issues” thus becoming the first time ever that a Chinese guy on an airplane has informed the U.S. Women’s National Team exactly where it would be playing. So, long story short, it looks as if the games are at the spectacular Guangdong Olympic Stadium (where they were the past two years…remember Heather O’Reilly’s all_access video tour of the facilities last year?), but instead of staying at a hotel attached to the stadium, the team is in a very nice hotel not far away. It actually turned out well for the U.S. team, as they did not have to drive to Foshan from the Guangzhou airport.

It looks like the games schedule and kickoff times will remain the same, but we’ll confirm that on ussoccer.com shortly. Just be aware, if you live in China and were planning on going to the games, don’t show up in Foshan.

There is training this afternoon, in part to get the legs moving and the blood flowing after the long trip and in part to keep the players awake after the 16-hour flight. Yes, 16 hours. Blame those damn head winds.

2 comments:

Impedient said...

Good to hear that all has touched down! Can't wait for pictures though! I understand the camera's broken but blogmaster, any chance that it's going to be fixed? Or maybe have pictures taken with one of the players' camera? Haha!

Natalie said...

16hrs flight?! Wow,...let's hope they team was flying business class!