U.S. Women's National Team practices at Stanford before sendoff game in San Jose

The US Women’s National Team is gearing up for the FIFA World Cup and this Sunday they’ll play a send-off game in San Jose

The World Cup games begin on July 21 and will be played in Australia and New Zealand. This team is favored to win it all, but first they’ll play here in San Jose where they have thousands of fans.  

"There’s nothing like Stanford. It’s so beautiful and it’s so nice to be close to San Jose too. I’ve loved our time in the Bay so far," said Naomi Girma, a member of the US Women’s National Team.  

Girma grew up in San Jose and is one of five players on the US Women’s National Team that played soccer for Stanford University. On Wednesday, the team held practice at Stanford as they prep for the World Cup send-off game Sunday afternoon at PayPal Park. Other Stanford alum include Alana Cook, Sophia Smith, Kelly O’hara and Andi Sullivan.   

"Yeah I think it just gives me immense gratitude for my time here because I know that the program and the school really prepared me to the next level and the next level after that," said Andi Sullivan, a member of the US Women’s National Team. 

Soccer fans in San Jose’s San Pedro Square talked about the sport and the impact the games will have. 

"At least local fans will have a good place to go to. It is super close for us. I like going there. I like going there for the Earthquakes and everything, so it should be fun," said  Charles Luna, of San Jose.  

"I am watching the Women’s World Cup. I’ll be watching that, not casually. I’ll probably get up at whatever time I need to get up to watch some of those games," said Anthony Zambataro, of San Jose.   

"I think it’s beautiful because at least girls can get a chance to play soccer," said 8-year-old Olivia Barrantes, of San Jose. 

The 23-player squad is led by head coach Vlatko Andonovski and is heavily favored to win its 3rd World Cup. 

"They understand the challenge that we have in front of us. They embrace them and love them. They don’t look at it and say, oh what are we going to do now? They say, no it’s time to shine," Andonovski said.  

Sunday’s send-off game starts at 1 p.m. in San Jose at PayPal Park, and they could be the first team, men or women's, to win three consecutive World Cups. 


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