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WNT Postcard from China - Thori Bryan


Another edition of the U.S. Women's National Team's e-postcard from China, where the U.S. team is participating in the Four Nations Tournament featuring Norway, Germany and China.  After splitting their first two games, the U.S. closes out play on Wednesday against Germany in Shanghai.

Today's postcard is from defender ...
THORI BRYAN
    Height: 5-8  /  Born: April 17, 1974
    Hometown: Joppatowne, Md.  /  Club: San Jose CyberRays (WUSA)

We have just one more full day in China, and while it has been a great trip, it has been a long one, as we spent a week in San Diego before coming here and it will be a total of three weeks on the road by the time we get home.  We had to move three times after arriving and that takes its toll on a team, but the players have responded well, despite dealing with a nasty virus that struck the team.  Everyone seems to have recovered and tomorrow we play Germany in our final game of the tournament.  We respect their talent a lot, but we are excited for the chance to play a big game and the stadium is awesome.  It is one of the 2003 Women’s World Cup venues, and unlike most of the stadiums in China, it does not have a track around it so the fans are right on top of you.

Tonight, we kind of wrapped up our stay with a team dinner at Tony Roma’s.  I had the ribs -- a full rack.  At the end of the night, my plate was all bones.  Everyone stuffed their faces including Joy Fawcett’s daughters Katey and Carli, who capped the evening by making a sort of Mr. Potato Head out of a bread roll and various condiments.  We had to wait a while to get our food, so once we did, the table turned into a pack of hungry hyenas.

At the beginning of the trip, we stayed for four days in Shanghai before traveling to our first game in Yiwu.  We are back in Shanghai now for the last game and I must say this is my favorite place by far that I’ve been in China.  We went to an older part of Shanghai today in search of original Chinese art and the architecture there was amazing.  One other thing I like about Shanghai is that despite it being a sprawling city, there are many parks spread around and every morning a whole group of senior citizens are out their doing their Tai Chi exercises.  It’s an amazing site, but I guess it works because there seems to be a lot of energetic old people walking around.

Much of our off time in Shanghai has been spent shopping, and we have left a lot of Yuan (Chinese dollars) in this city.  I was able to get some great gifts for my family and my husband, so I can’t wait to get home.  The U.S. team is usually good shoppers on the road, but this trip we brought it to another level.  There were so many good bargains to be had, that we just couldn’t stop.

All in all, despite the length and the cold (it’s been in the 40s or lower everyday, everywhere), this has been a fantastic trip for the team because we were able to get a great taste of what it will be like next September at the 2003 Women’s World Cup. The Chinese fans are absolutely wild, the stadiums are spectacular and the media attention will be big.  If what we have experienced at our games is any indication, and in all due respect to 1999, which rocked the house, this might be the best Women’s World Cup ever in terms the atmospheres at the stadiums.

See you soon,

Thori

Thori Bryan has played 63 times for the U.S. Women’s National Team.  She scored her first-ever international goal against Norway as the USA won, 3-1, in the opening game of the tournament.  The Iron Woman of the WUSA and perhaps the fastest player in the league, she has played every minute of every game in the two-year history of the San Jose CyberRays.  She debuted for the USA in 1993, was a member of the USA’s 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team and an alternate on the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team.
 

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