Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hucles Hundred!

Tonight U.S. midfielder and forward Angela Hucles will earn her 100th cap for the U.S. Women's National Team, an achievement that she'll celebrate with her family in attendance and a ceremony before kickoff. As per WNT tradition, she'll also be wearing the captain's armband.

Fittingly, Hucles is coming to the end of what is by far her best year ever with the Women’s National Team. Her four goals at the 2008 Olympics will go down as one of the best clutch tournament performances in team history.

It's been a big week for Hucles, who started this three-game stretch against South Korea by scoring the opening goal of the first game - a 3-1 win - in front of her hometown fans in Richmond, Va.

You can see how Hucles - and the rest of her teammates - fare tonight on's MatchTracker.

Welcome To Tampa!

The team has arrived in Tampa and yesterday went through their one and only training session at Raymond James Stadium, site of tomorrow night's match against South Korea.

Did you know there was a huge pirate ship in one of the endzones at RJS? That just screams photo op, so after training the team took full advantage. Even though we missed Talk Like A Pirate Day, it was still pretty neat to see the big ship and the pirate-themed shops surrounding it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hometown Cooking

It was Mitts' choice tonight for dinner as the team went out to Montgomery Inn at the Boathouse for some AMAZING ribs.... and chicken... and steak... and of course the world famous Graeter's Ice Cream for dessert. It was a great meal, and our tables were right next to the huge picture windows that overlooks the Ohio River.

How can we be sure that she really, really likes this place? Well, here is one of the first sights we saw when walking in...

The ribs were so good we wore bibs... HAO and Kacey were nice enough to model the beautiful accessories for the WNT Blog.

A Day at Paul Brown Stadium

As usual, the team held their stadium training today at Paul Brown Stadium - home of the Cincinnati Bengals and tomorrow night, home of the USA. Even though it was a day off for the other football team in town, several players came out to see the players go through a good training session... and to heckle Bengals kicker Shayne Graham, who had challenged the girls to a field goal contest.

First though, he had to make some penalty kicks against Nicole Barnhart and Bri Scurry... let's just say he's a hustler. With shots sailing into the upper 90 and into the side netting, it was clear that these were not Shayne's first PKs.

The competitive spirit of the U.S. women kicked in then as they were ready to put up a fight in the field goal contest. Mitts, Chalupny and HAO all impressed the crowd, but it was Shannon Boxx who nailed a 40-yarder into those tiny goalposts you can see above Barnie in the top photo! She totally crushed it, much to the delight of her teammates. Then Shayne kicked one that almost went over the back netting just to show off.

Mittsy hits from 30

Boxx wows the crowd from 40 yards

Kai rocks her Bengals hat and the Heisman pose

Aly Wagner chats it up with TJ Houshmandzadeh - TJ claims he could have beaten Shayne today if he wasn't wearing sandals

Thanks to all the Bengals for letting us borrow their field for a few days as they go into their bye week! Keep your eye out for some of the big guys(with their wives and daughters) at tomorrow night's game...

Monday, November 3, 2008

That's What We Call Event Planning

There are certain inevitable risks taken when planning an outdoor event in Cincinnati in November, but boy did U.S. Soccer's staff order some EXCELLENT weather for our stay. The locals tell us it's supposed to stay 75 and sunny for the rest of the week and we can't ask for more than that!

The University of Cincinnati let us borrow their game field for the USA's first training session, and a lot of the Bearcats were able to watch the team train on what is definitely some fast turf.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Welcome Home Mitts-y!

Cincinnati native Heather Mitts returned home for the first time since winning her second gold medal in Beijing this summer, and she has received quite a reception so far. Below you can see part of the contingent that met Heather and the rest of the team at the airport this evening (on a school night no less!).

The team took the time to sign plenty of autographs for the boys and girls who came to catch an up-close glimpse of their heroes. Then Mitts and Heather O'Reilly were whisked away to a lengthy segment for the local ABC affiliate Sunday sports show. So if you're in Cincinnati tonight, be sure to look for the Heathers at midnight tonight!

Recovery Day

Everyone was thrilled that this morning brought the end of Daylight Savings Time, which meant an extra hour of sleep... not that the team had to be up early for any reason the day after a hard fought game against South Korea.

Most of the day was spent packing up, walking around Richmond a little bit and watching some American football - we had to miss overtime of the Packers-TITANS (thanks for that correction) game in order to head to the airport. This did not make the players happy.

We're not sure how this worked, but 100 percent of people surveyed said that the clock radio in their hotel room automatically changed the time. HOW DID THEY DO THAT?