Aspiring young soccer players in Denver watched the FIFA Women’s World Cup final, cheering on the American team as they defeated Japan for the title.
The Denver Post reports that on July 5th, 52 members of the Colorado Rush soccer club watched the game from their headquarters outside of Denver, ultimately seeing the American team defeated the Japanese 5-2 in Vancouver.
Rush is one of the largest youth soccer organizations in the world with over 40,000 members from several different countries. Soccer itself is one of the world’s most played sports. According to FIFA, more than 240 million people around the world play soccer.
In Colorado, Rush soccer provides young boys and girls and opportunity to develop their soccer skills and engage in soccer tournaments such as the World Cup.
“A lot of the U.S. girls playing now were young, watching in ’99, hoping to be the next Mia Hamm, and now they’re here,” Colorado Rush director of youth girls Russell Finch said. Mia Hamm was a forward in the previous American World Cup championship team in 1999. “One of our girls could have the same story.”
The 52 girls watching the game were members of the U8 (that is, younger than 8 years old) and U14 (younger than 14) Rush soccer teams. One of them, 11-year-old defender Molly McDougal, was impressed with the American team’s drive and spirit.
“It’s unbelievably exciting to see your country win it all,” McDougal said. “They played Japan four years ago and lost [in the final], so it’s like a sweet feeling of revenge.”
Some of the girls played a scrimmage before the game with each player adorning a name of a U.S. World Cup player on her jersey.
Finch and others are hopeful that players from Rush will make it professionally someday. One of them, 21-year-old Lindsey Horan, is already showing promise. After playing for Colorado Rush from age nine to 18, Horan played professionally in France for the past three years. She spends her off seasons training in Denver, and Finch is hopeful that she will make it to the World Cup team in 2019.
“There are long lists of players who have created the Rush culture we have now, and these girls will create the culture for the next generation,” Finch said.