WNT Mar 27, 2012
After the USA's first training in Sendai today, a crisp session that lasted just over an hour, the U.S. players held an event -- co-organized by the U.S. State Department -- for more than 50 Japanese middle school girls.
The young players got to sit and watch training and then played small-sided games with the U.S. players, who were mixed in with all the teams. While the girls did not speak much English, and the U.S. players certainly don't speak Japanese, a fun time was had by all (there were interpreters at each field so the players could communicate a bit). The U.S. players were particularly impress with the skill level and understanding of the game of the young ladies, which certainly gave some insight into how the Japanese team is so technically proficient.
Suffice it to say, the U.S. players were quite popular with the Japanese kids, who seemed to have watched the Women's World Cup this past summer, and mobbed their favorite players after the event.
The U.S. and Japanese players took a big photo together at the end and a Japanese student read a prepared thank-you speech -- in English -- that got big applause from all the U.S. players and her schoolmates.
Some of the players in the event were impacted by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit this region hard a little more than a year ago and the event was organized to inspire the girls and to recognize the joys of playing soccer with the hopes that through the example/messages of the U.S. Women’s National Team the young players could see how they can accomplish their goals with dedication and hard work. Most of all, the event showcased the U.S. team's support for Japan, and especially their support for the young people of Tohoku region in which Sendai is located.
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