Though they will be playing more than 4,700 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, there is still piqued interest in Gainesville for the Women’s National Soccer Team playing for the World Cup title.
The U.S. women face Japan at 2 p.m. today, trying to claim an unprecedented third World Cup win and first since 1999.
Locally, fans can identify with the different parts of the team. Abby Wambach and Hope Solo are just two of the more recognizable names associated with this year’s U.S. squad.
Gainesville’s Mavis Burtz and Madison Carter don’t plan on missing a bit of the action.
“I’ve seen parts of some of the games and plan to watch on Sunday,” Burtz said. “I have fallen in love with (Abby) Wambach and the passion she plays with.”
Carter, 13, said she will watch because she is interested to see how America plays against the World.
Local establishments will have the game on and expect big crowds. Fans have numerous options when it comes to going out to watch the game, if they chose to leave the house.
Bars and restaurants will have their doors open and hoping for big crowds of fans rallying around the No. 1 ranked US women’s soccer program.
Trish Hall, the manager of Wild Wing in Gainesville, said they are planning for a crowd of more than 150 people. Hall added they plan a brunch from 10 a.m. until the afternoon kickoff, and will show the game on 40 televisions.
Irish Bred Pub at Lakeshore Mall will have the game on and is also hoping for a big crowd. They will have specials running on corn beef cabbage and chicken wings.
Mellow Mushroom will also have the game on its televisions around the restaurant and on the outdoor patio, according to manager John Bush. He said they expect a much larger crowd than a normal Sunday afternoon, adding he’ll bring his 11-year old daughter in to enjoy game atmosphere of watching it with the fans.
“She plays soccer and has been closely following the entire tournament, but especially the USA,” Bush said.
Others will watch the game, but not with the same fervor.
Heath Maddox is using his Digital Video Recorder so he does not miss a second of his beloved NASCAR, all while being able to watch the U.S. try to capture the cup.
“Other than the race, there are no other sports on and Hope Solo is a good looking woman,” Maddox said.
He picked up on some of the back stories about some of the women and wants to watch their reactions if their dreams come true.
Interest is strong, but soccer will still play second fiddle for many as other events take place on Sunday.
The World Cup is also competing for fans that are going to be watching the final round of the British Open.
When those who had no idea USA was playing, or even the Women’s World Cup has been going on for a month, were told America was playing today most said they would tune in for a little while. “I did watch one of the games while I was laid back in the dentist’s chair, but I will be watching the British Open on Sunday afternoon,” said Frank Connell.