Enthusiasm for FIFA Women's World Cup strong among Bay Area fans
Monday was the first day of the World Cup Soccer Camp on Geary in San Francisco. And the U.S. women's quest to win the World Cup is on the players' minds.
"They're the second best team in the world," said camper Owen Fillius about the number two seeded U.S. Team.
The passion the camp coaches have for the U.S. team and their sport runs deep.
14-year-old Vida Hasson says she was the leading scorer in her league at Mission High School as a freshman. She'll be glued to the TV when the U.S. women are playing.
"That there's a U.S. Women's National Team. It really pushes all the girls my age and stuff to really work hard," she said.
Fellow coach Tori Matthews plays soccer at Chico State.
"I just feel like women have broken through the glass ceiling, we're being represented so much more," said Matthews.
The excitement for the World Cup among the young people is palpable, especially among their coaches. But the big kids across the field, they are also fired up.
"If USA is playing, I'm with USA. If Mexico is playing, I'm with Mexico. When they play together, whoever wins, I win," says Angel Estrella of San Francisco.
World Cup fan Nate Huntington plays at University High School.
"It's just a great level of play, and I think another great stepping stone is FIFA. The video game has always been men's sports, but now they're including women's teams in it too," said Huntington.
Huntington will be cheering on all the U.S. players, including Alex Morgan.
"She's a fierce competitor," says Head Women's Coach Neil McGuire at U.C. Berkeley.
Morgan played her college soccer at Cal under McGuire.
"She has an innate sense that she is going to win no matter what. And I think that that's a very important trait to have at that level," said McGuire.
Another of McGuire's successful players is Nina Pedersen who now plays for the Danish National Team.
"So the young girls are watching women in sports now and that's why they want to be those stars. And it's a great move in women's soccer," she said.
And clearly, it's not just girls and women drawing inspiration from Team USA.