It's Tuesday the 30th of September, the day before the quarterfinal match of the World Cup against our #1 rival, the Norwegians. It's crunch time. Lose and we go home. Win and we head to Portland, to the semis where we could face Germany (who is playing their best soccer) or Russia (a team that is making themselves known on the world stage). (Editor's Note: Germany pounded Russia, 7-1). Sitting out the last group game against North Korea has got me itching to play. I so want to win this game for the veterans on the team. This could be the last World Cup for some of the legends of U.S. Soccer and it means a lot to me, and I know to all the young players, that Julie, Mia, Kristine, Brandi, and Joy go out winners because that's exactly what they are.
The focus has started to increase now that we're out of group play, but what I love about this team is our ability to focus when its needed and to have fun when it's time to laugh and goof around. This team definitely knows how to have a good time together. Each day that I have experienced in the past month has been everything but normal. It could be because we have moved to a new city every couple days! If anything traveling has been the only thing that is routine (get on the bus, get off the bus, get on the plane, get off the plane, check in to your hotel, check out of your hotel). I'm getting pretty good about living out of my bag. Not to say we haven't had our share of fun while traveling. How can you not have fun when you have your own chartered plane with first class flight attendants, couches, tables, and firstclass seats? I have to admit this is one luxury that I'm going to miss!
Besides traveling the team has found ways to past the time and enjoy ourselves as well. Malls and movies are the most popular pastimes amongst the team. Our captain Julie Foudy is also great at mixing things up for us. For example, our first day in Columbus, Ohio, we went on a jog and stretch through an outdoor mall, but this was no ordinary outdoor mall. It felt like a small town. It even had streets running throughout the mall. At one point we took a detour toward the cinemasto find out the times of the movies playing. By the end of our run we even added a few people (a couple of kids chasing after us for an autograph by Mia!) That was a great practice day! That same night we went to a PF Changs right across from our hotel and even though we had a mandatory meal at the hotel, a group of us decided to order takeout and bring it to the meal oom. Lets just say we could have fed an army with how much food we ordered. Danielle, Angela and myself shared the Mongolian Beef, pan-friednoodles and Kung-Pao chicken.
The only thing I needed to get done in Ohio was to get my clothes washed. This turned into an adventure in itself. For the past week and a half I was able to sneak most things in with our dirty practice gear, but some things just needed to be washed by myself for fear of shrinking in the dryer. So there I was on our day off determined to find somewhere I could do a load of laundry. One of our staff members had heard there was a coin operated washer and dryer over at this other hotel on the other side of the outdoor mall. I packed my bag full of clothes and hitched a ride over. First, I had to go to the front desk and ask if they even had a laundry room. By the way, I also had to pretend like I was staying there. I found out the laundry room was in the next building, so I headed over there with my bag rolling behind me. Here's where the problems began. First, I needed a room key to get into the building. After a few minutes of standing outside a maid let me in, only to find out that I also needed a room key to get into the laundry room. To make a way too long story short, I wasn't able to do my wash and since my ride had already left, I slowly began to make my way back through the outdoor mall pulling my unwashed clothes behind me and talking on my cell phone to past the time. What a sight I must have been.
But back to the Norway game. For me, it was another extremely emotional game. What a battle! The young players definitely stepped up for the veterans. Everyone on the field played so well, but Abby Wambach got the winning goal, Cat Reddick got the assist and Kylie Bivens was awesome in her 10 minutes after she came on for Foudy. We fought for 94 minutes, and even to the last seconds, Norway hadn't given up. They had one chance at the very end of the game that I'm sure made people hold their breath, but as always, Briana Scurry scooped up the ball and the game was over. Wow! What an historic victory. Oddly enough, this was the game I felt the most comfortable on the ball, which made it all that more enjoyable. I love to battle for the ball, but when I can contribute with my passing and defusing pressure, it makes the game even more fun. Now, we are 35,000 feet over South Dakota on our way to Portland and back to the West Coast, and a little closer to home for me! We have three days until our semifinal, and once again, time to focus on our next opponent, and a berth in the championship game.
That's all for now.