U.S. Soccer

#USMNT Social Sphere: 30 Seconds to Marching On


The goal was simple: Win and we’re in. Sitting atop the Group of Death one point back of Germany, the #USMNT had the chance to be the first team in the Group G to secure its ticket to the round of 16.

If you thought the buzz over the Ghana game was intense, the #USAvPOR match was extreme. Fans all over the country and in Brazil flocked to support @ussoccer. Once again, celebrities and fans alike showed colossal support.

While fans took over the twittersphere (getting @ussoccer 1 million followers) showing love and support for the #USMNT, the fans below flocked to numerous watch parties across the United States and Brazil wearing the familiar red, white and blue.

Portugal got out of the gate early with a quick goal from Nani, but the USA was able to settle down and control the game. Their efforts merited a payoff, and they got one…

Midfielder Jermaine Jones scored his first ever World Cup goal to tie the game at 1-1; and what a goal it was. The #USMNT kept up the pressure, knowing a win would put them through to the Round of 16. Attack after attack finally led to a familiar sight…

The captain’s go ahead goal seemed to put the nail in the proverbial coffin of the No. 4 ranked team in the tournament and 2013 Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. But five minutes into stoppage time, Ronaldo sent a cross into the box that was met by the head of teammate Varela.

The irony for the final match against Germany on Thursday is as deep and heavily laid out as the lunchroom sloppy joe meat at the typical public school. The German that helped West Germany secure the World Cup in 1990 now leads the pack of hungry Americans against them, with the possibility of knocking them out of the tournament.

"I ended up face down on the floor, but I'm pretty sure #Ronaldo killed my cat. #usmnt #usavpor."

However, the result is not something the team has time to dwell on. A long flight back from Manaus to the team camp in São Paulo and then another long flight to Recife doesn’t give the team much time before its final group stage match against Germany on Thursday. The team still has to train and make adjustments to ensure it’s one of the two teams going through.


In Her Own Words - Lynn Williams' First Camp, First Cap, First goal

I got a call that every soccer player dreams of a few days after our last game of the NWSL season.

My coach at the Western New York Flash, Paul Riley, had come up to me a couple of days before that and told me that Jill Ellis might bring me into National Team camp. I was really excited and anxious then, but when I got the call from Tim Ryder, the WNT General Manager, I was sitting in my living room, doing some packing and doing some phone interviews, so it caught me a bit off-guard.

I was trying to act very cool, but on the inside I was so excited. In fact, it’s highly likely that I didn’t sound cool at all.

He told me that I was invited into the training camp for the two games against Switzerland in Utah and Minnesota, but that I had to keep it under wraps until U.S. Soccer officially announced the roster. Of course, I immediately called my parents, my sister, and my boyfriend but I told them that WE ALL needed to keep it a secret.

The roster was announced a week later after we’d won the semifinal against Portland and before the NWSL Championship. I’m not the most talkative person, but it was hard keeping that secret for a week!

Before coming to Utah, I’d only been in a few youth camps with the Under-23s, and all those girls had known each other for a long time. Everyone was nice, but I remember feeling that they were a bit standoffish until you proved yourself, so that’s what I was expecting from the senior group, except times ten. These players are professionals, Olympic champions, World Cup champions and they have tremendous confidence in the environment.

I was a bit nervous about how to fit in.


Williams helped lead the WNY Flash to the club's first NWSL title as the league MVP and Golden Boot winner.

Soccer-wise, coming off the NWSL season, I felt fresh and confident, but I knew it was going to be hard. Coming into a National Team camp any time is hard, and I knew doing it for the first time was going to be a big challenge.

I was definitely nervous about the soccer.

Naturally, the veterans gravitate towards the veterans and the newbies gravitate towards the newbies, but there were 11 uncapped players going in so I knew I wasn’t going to be by myself. Of course, I also knew my Western New York teammates Sam Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper, so that was a bit more comforting.

What I didn’t expect was that the veterans would be so welcoming, on and off the field. When you made a mistake, they said “try this instead” and when you did something well, they would commend you for it. That support really made training even more fun. I learned a lot and every practice was awesome.

That said, training was intense. Everyone was so excited to get into camp that the first couple of days it was like a bunch of mad women running around. As Arin Gilliland said to a reporter, “WNT training is like the NWSL, on three cups of coffee.” It’s probably like five cups.

And it was not just the physical speed; the speed of thought is also so heightened. Playing in New York, sometimes I feel like I can get away with receiving the ball and then decide what to do with it. With the National Team, you have to have like three different options in your mind even before you receive the ball. I knew I needed to improve on that.

We got tons of information from the coaches. Some of the stuff you already know, but the language and the verbiage is different so you have to learn that. You have to learn how they want you to play in a particular formation, you have to learn your assignments on set plays and you have to learn it quickly. Fortunately, everyone is open to questions.

I asked Becky (Sauerbrunn) and Christen (Press) a million questions and my roommate Alyssa (Naeher) probably two million. I am sure she was thinking, “Man, this girl sure asks a lot of questions.” But I figured better to ask than not to ask and look like I have no idea what I’m doing, which I’m sure was still the case some of the time.

For me, the first few days were challenging. You’re trying to get a feel for all the players, their tendencies and how they like to play. Mentally, I think I was putting more pressure on myself that I needed to.

On the third day, I found out I would be a sub for the game. I told myself, “Lynn, stop being such a psycho, stopping being so chaotic, you know how to play soccer,” and I settled in a bit.

I thought I had a good practice the day before the game in Utah and then the day came and I told myself I needed to play even better in the game. After the game, I told myself I needed to play even better in the next practice. Of course, you can’t do that every day, but you have to challenge yourself and that’s the kind of attitude you have to have.

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WNT Oct 27, 2016
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