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On top of the world: Women's soccer champions in Charlotte
Fans turn out for US victory tour
 
Published Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:39 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | ASHLEY MAHONEY
The U.S. women's National Team trained at Bank of America Stadium Wednesday for their FIFA World Cup Victory Tour match against Korea Republic.

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The queens are in the Queen City.

The United States Women’s National Team plays the penultimate game of their five-match FIFA World Cup Victory Tour on Oct. 3 at Bank of America Stadium at 8 p.m. against Korea Republic. Today, they held an open training session, which drew local and national political figures, Carolina Panthers, and fans.

“We are welcoming all the queens to the Queen City today,” U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., said.

However, it signifies more than a celebration of the world champions. The session represents a shift in the team that calls Bank of America Stadium home. Under founding owner Jerry Richardson, outside events—minus the Belk Bowl in late December—did not occur during football season, although the Panthers host Jacksonville Sunday. For soccer enthusiasts like safety Tre Boston, who has avidly attended summer soccer events held here for years, it’s great.

“To be able to have this, it’s just so much more than Carolina Panthers football,” he said. “It’s more of us as a whole city just uniting—different sports, different events—giving us a sense of that Charlottean pride, coming together in everything that we do. It’s pretty cool to have this in the middle of the week, knowing that we’re going to play here Sunday.”

Thursday’s game is the second trip to Charlotte for the USWNT. In 2000, the Americans played Iceland in a 0-0 draw leading up to the Sydney Olympics.

It is also the penultimate match for head coach Jill Ellis, who will step down after their match in Chicago against Korea Republic. She and midfielder Megan Rapinoe were named The Best FIFA Women’s Coach and The Best FIFA Women’s Player of 2019 respectively last month in Italy. Ellis is the only coach to win two Women's World Cup titles. She and Italy's Vittorio Pozzo on the men’s side in 1934 and 1938 are the only coaches to claim two World Cup titles. As her final game approaches, Ellis has given herself a moment to reflect on five-plus years leading the No. 1 team in the world.

“My family is coming in [for Chicago],” she said. “My mom is going, ‘well what am I supposed to wear?’ That will be special when they come into Chicago. It’s definitely starting to resonate. It’s feeling a little nostalgic already. I’m just going to soak it all in and enjoy it.”

Said forward Jessica McDonald: “We’ll have to say our goodbyes and thank her for obviously giving us all this opportunity to play at this level and to play under her, and to play for the best team in the world.”

 

 

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