Three recent Center for Sport Leadership graduates Will Bates, Blaze Byrd and Marielle Rando, were part of the packed house at BC Place Sunday night to watch the U.S Women’s National Team claim their third World Cup title, defeating japan 5-2. They told CSL Daily about their experience.
Will Bates (left) with Sara and Colin Dickinson (friends from Seattle), Servando Carrasco (Will’s former teammate & Alex Morgan’s husband)
What an amazing night for women’s soccer… To accomplish such a beautiful feat in the way that they did, I was lucky to be witness. The first 16 minutes brought a level of excitement only comparable to the likes of Reggie Miller’s 8 points in 9 seconds, Ray Allen’s 3 point dagger in game 6 of the NBA playoffs, or Auburn’s run back TD versus Alabama following the missed field goal to win the game. It felt like a home game inside BC Place, and I’m sure the women playing felt that support and fed off of that.
As a girl who started playing soccer at the age of four, being at the 2015 World Cup finals in Vancouver was a dream come true. As Blaze and I arrived in Vancouver, we immediately started seeing thousands of USA fans as we approached the stadium. Being among thousands of excited American fans made me even more excited than I already was.
In the stadium there was most likely 85% American Fans and 15% Japanese fans. There was no way those women didn’t feel the energy from their supporters.
I was so impressed and overwhelmed with happiness at the number of men at the stadium wearing the names of women on the back of their jerseys. To me, this is so significant for women’s soccer and women’s sports in general.
I’m so grateful to have been able to share such an awesome experience with my classmates and cannot wait to watch more history be made with the U.S Women’s National Team- the BEST team in the world.
The greatest experience leading up to the game was the American Outlaw parade. Thousands of Americans marched six blocks to the stadium, shutting down the roads and chanting several American Outlaws chants, including the favorite, “I Believe that we will Win” chant. The streets were lined with people taking pictures and then they would join in the parade once the American Outlaw banner passed. During this parade there was red, white and blue as far as I could see behind us. There were television crews jumping on anything they could find on the side of the road to get shots of the crowd.
One we arrived at the stadium, the chants did not fade as people waited to get in the building. We started seeing a few more Japanese fans once we arrived at the stadium but they were grossly outnumbered. We were seated in Row MM, so were definitely up there but we had a great view of the pitch. We were mostly surrounded with Americans and there was a variety of ages, races and genders there to cheer on the USA women. We sat next to a couple from Austin, Texas and had a lot of fun with a group of four in front of us from Massachusetts. As the team warmed up, we all made predictions—none of which were close to correct!
I think everyone can agree that the first 16 minutes of that game were indescribable! We had a great view of all the USA goals in the first half. In fact, I captured video of the first two goals on my phone! One of the guys in front of me did as well. He also has a video of me freaking out with about 15 “OH MY GOD”s after Carli Lloyd scored her second goal in two minutes. After that first 16 minutes, there was a collective conversation going around about how we couldn’t believe this game and how we were all there witnessing it.
When the whistle final blew, the stadium erupted in USA chants and cheering. I still can’t believe I was there to witness it. We stayed to watch all the celebrations and may or may not have shed a little tear of happiness.
It is still a little unbelievable to me that I was there to see the US Women’s National Team win their third World Cup. The 1999 Women’s World Cup was such an important event in my life and something that influenced me to play soccer at a high level. We walked over 10 miles and sat in the car for 7 hours but it was all more than worth it, and it was one of the greatest experiences and days of my life.