The rivalry has certainly lost its luster with China’s fall from the world’s elite, but the U.S. women’s soccer team and China have a chance to get reacquainted with three December match on U.S. soil.
U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that the three-time defending Olympic gold medalists will face China on Dec. 8 at Ford Field in Detroit, on Dec. 12 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and again on Dec. 15 at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. Nothing says “Fan Tribute Tour” like trekking the country for three games in a week against the same team!
Per U.S. Soccer, “the match in Houston will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on FOX Soccer. Kickoff for the match in Detroit is set for 1:30 p.m. ET, while the kickoff time in Boca Raton will be determined shortly.”
The most intriguing announcement is that the tour will end in Boca Raton, Fla. (where do we begin with the irony?). It is, of course, where magicJack played the most infamous women’s soccer season the world has ever seen. The Dec. 15 match will, in fact, be on Florida Atlantic University’s campus, just at the newly built football stadium and not the soccer stadium – err, field — where magicJack played. (For what it’s worth, that is a nice looking stadium and it seems like the fans will be on top of the action.)
That magicJack team played in the final season of Women’s Professional Soccer, an unprecedented amount of attention to WPS for all the wrong reasons. Six of the Olympic gold medal winning U.S. women played in Boca: Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone, Hope Solo, Shannon Boxx, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn.
To recount magicJack’s short but tumultuous history in a paragraph or even a short post wouldn’t do the situation justice, so I’ll direct you all to the archives.
In the end, this announcement has nothing to do with magicJack (UPDATE: Dan Borislow confirmed that, saying “the only help I gave was showing everybody that South Florida loves women’s soccer and introducing the school to a great thing.”).
It is, however, an interesting choice by U.S. Soccer to reward the city with a U.S. women’s national team game after the drama that went on down there in 2011. Believe me, plenty of ex-WPS officials are grinding their teeth (some are probably just laughing) at that move.
But the decision to give the much-neglected Southeast a game is good. The U.S. women last played in the region on Oct. 2, 2010, a 2-1 win over China (attendance was just 4,759). FAU Stadium holds 30,000 fans.
BBVA will bring the U.S. women to another one of Major League Soccer’s newest gems, while Ford Field is another interesting choice. Detroit was a once-rumored WPS expansion city that never panned out, but to think there is any connection between that and Monday’s announcement is jumping over a few Great Lakes.
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