U.S. Women Arrive in Shenzhen, China to Prepare for Four Nations Tournament
SHENZHEN, China (Sunday, January 25, 2004) – The U.S. Women's National Team touched down in Hong Kong at 6:31 a.m. local time on Sunday, January 25 (5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 25) and arrived at their hotel in Shenzhen, China at about 10 a.m., concluding a 23-hour hotel lobby to hotel lobby journey from Los Angeles to the site of the 2004 Four Nations Tournament.
The 15.5 hour flight was about as smooth as a cross-Pacific flight can be. Most players slept at least half the trip, which was aided immeasurably by small TVs in the headrest of every seat on the Cathay Pacific flight, allowing the 22 players selected by head coach April Heinrichs for the tournament to scroll through a multitude of movies, TVs shows, video games and other entertainment to pass the time. Nineteen-year-old Heather O'Reilly was asleep before the flight took off and remained in a deep slumber for the next 11 hours.
The U.S. team had a somewhat tasty brunch upon arriving at the hotel, where they were warmly greeted by the hotel staff, then retired to their rooms to rest and wait for the personal bags and team gear to clear customs at the Hong Kong/China border, with the first training scheduled for the afternoon.
While Shenzhen is just north of Hong Kong, it is technically mainland China and the U.S. team had to exit the bus twice and walk through two border checkpoints, one to leave Hong Kong and one to enter China, before arriving at the team hotel.
The players were pleased to find high-speed Internet in their rooms among the many amenities at the hotel. The USA will train for five days before opening the tournament against 2003 Women's World Cup runner-up Sweden on January 30.