Friday, May 9, 2008

Go Time

The USA's pre-game practice today was quite a wet one as a steady rain fell during the entire hour. The team trained on turf at Georgetown, so the rain was hardly noticed, although the players were drenched when getting back onto the bus. It is supposed to rain a little bit tomorrow morning, but it should be cleared up by game time, which is a good thing as we don't want anything to interrupt the ussoccer.com MatchACCESS web stream. Would rain impact a live webcast? Probably not, but we don't know how that stuff works, so better safe than sorry. Fans can watch the game and/or follow on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker. The team has been training hard this week so suffice it to say, the players are excited to get on the field for an actual game after kicking each other all week. The U.S. team will go on a week break after this game before re-grouping in Los Angeles for a two-week training camp. FYI: The USA's opening match in the Olympics is 79 days away.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

RFK Preview/Rewind

The U.S. team took in the first 45 minutes of the D.C. United-Chicago Fire game tonight at RFK Stadium. The players got to walk on (well, next to) the field before the game and were impressed with the plushness of the surface, which surely made everyone even more excited to play on Saturday night. Interesting note about RFK Stadium. Back in 1995, RFK hosted the first-ever domestic WNT match that was played in a big stadium. It was actually the final game of that year at the Nike U.S. Women's Cup, which came just after the USA returned from the third-place finish at 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup in Sweden. The USA beat Norway that day (the same team that had knocked them out of the WWC and gone on to take the title), winning 2-1, on goals from Mia Hamm and player named Tammy Pearman, who came off the bench in her first-ever cap to score the winning goal, which turned out to be the only goal of her career. She would play in just eight more games for the USA spanning 230 minutes. That game was watched by 7,083 fans, which was at the time the largest crowd ever to watch the U.S. women in the United States. Just under a year later, 76,489 would watch the Olympic gold medal game in Athens, Ga...thus introducing the WNT to America and the world.

Rain, Of Course

The U.S. WNT has encountered rain at every stop on this three-game domestic tour and this morning there was a little spritzing during training, but nothing major. Tonight, the skies opened, thunder roared and lightning struck! Ok, so we heard a bit of thunder and it rained a bit harder. The rain is supposed to last through tomorrow morning and afternoon (and maybe evening), which should make the pre-game practice a bit wet, but hopefully it will clear up on game day. In Cary, N.C. for the first game against Australia, of course it rained and stormed so hard that the game was delayed for about an hour. In Birmingham, Ala., it rained on the morning of game day, but cleared up quickly and the weather was glorious for the match. The pitch at RFK is in fantastic condition, so it surely can absorb some rain, but it would be nice for the fans to have a clear day on Saturday in what will be the USA's last visit to the Eastern part of the United States before the 2008 Olympics.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

UFT


No, the UFT is not a new mixed martial arts league, it's the Ultimate Fan Ticket and it's pretty cool. We thought we'd bring it up in the Blog because we just got this great pic of Abby and Ultimate Fan Ashley Mimaki at the match in Cary, N.C. Ashley and her dad braved terrible weather conditions to get the Ultimate Fan Experience. What is the Ultimate Fan experience you ask? Read on...

The Ultimate Fan Ticket is a unique fan experience that provides dedicated U.S. Soccer fans with a unique game-day view of the Men's and Women's National Teams by bringing fans as close as possible to the action on and off the field.

While the exact itinerary for the UFT experience changes with each game, the package includes:
Top Level Ticket
Customized U.S. jersey
Pre-Game field access
Behind the scenes guided stadium tour
And more!
Call 312.528.1227 or e-mail tickets@ussoccer.org for more information on what the UFT includes for upcoming U.S. National Team games.

Now, we certainly can't promise that every Ultimate Fan will get an up-close-and-personal meeting with their favorite player (Ashley is one luuuckeeee girl), or that they will get their boot as a special gift, but we can promise that it will be pretty fun to get a not-often seen look at what happens at the stadium on game day.

BBQ in BHAM

Last week when the USA was in Alabama preparing to play Australia at Legion Field, the team went to the childhood home of Cat Whitehill (formely Reddick) for good 'ole fashioned Southern BBQ. The meal was arranged by Cat's parents, Phil and Anne Reddick, who ooze Southern hospitality. It was a fantastic meal (although we had to roll a few players and staff out of there such was the massive consumption of the scrumptious food), with some great company and it's always nice to visit the Reddicks when the team comes to Birmingham. We caught a bit of the festivities on camera, and while this video will be up on ussoccer.com's all_accesss video, we thought we'd show it to you on the WNT Blog as well.

video

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Training at Georgetown


The U.S. team hit the field at Georgetown University this afternoon on a magnificent day and trained for almost two hours. The team had been off for almost three days, having played last Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, traveled on Sunday and had Monday off. It was a pretty intense session which included some four v. four games, some one v. one drills and of course, some shooting. Afterwards, the team signed autographs for some young girls, including the above trio from the Bethesda Soccer Club. Thanks Kacey and A-Rod!

WNT in the Community


Yesterday we wrote about a couple events the WNT did for Athletes for Hope in and around Washington, D.C. Today we bring you a few pics. A few players are going to read for kids on Thursday at the hospital as well.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Day Off, To Give Back

Today was a day off from training for the players of the U.S. WNT, but that doesn't mean they weren't busy. In between some much deserved R&R, several players spent the day giving back to D.C. area children on behalf of the charitable organization Athletes for Hope. A baker's dozen of U.S. WNTeamers went to the Children’s National Medical Center in Northwest Washington in the morning and then five players went to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington in Southeast Washington, D.C. in the afternoon. At the hospital, the players visited four different divisions and met with children during bedside, playroom, and classroom visits. Later that evening, five of the players held a soccer clinic for over 30 D.C. area children at the Robert V. Murray Metropolitan Police Clubhouse #11. “This was a wonderful opportunity,” said midfielder Leslie Osborne, “I’m so glad we were able to get involved on our day off. Both of these organizations do amazing work, and we were all happy to help out and make the day special for these kids. I know that they made it very special for all of us.” Well said, Leslie.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Touch Down in D.C.

The U.S. WNT traveled from Alabama to Washington, D.C. today (direct flight) and got to the hotel in the nation's capitol about 6 p.m. This is the first time the USA has been in D.C. since facing Sweden in its opening match of the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup. The team actually flew into Baltimore and then drove to D.C., watching most of the movie "Juno" during the drive, which of course almost the whole team had already seen. The team arrived a bit later than usual so the late lunch turned into an early dinner. For some reason this late lunch was a veritable feast (although the WNT almost always has a tasty spread at team hotels), meaning that the late dinner was probably a bit much. Most of the players ate anyway. We have told you this in the past, but these players burn a lot of calories every day. Not tomorrow, though, which is a day off for rest and relaxation. Almost the whole team will go to a local hospital tomorrow morning to visit with some children and then the rest of the day is there own. We're not sure if any sightseeing is in the cards, but for sure there will be some mall shopping and movie going. The team returns to training on Tuesday.