The United States Women's National Soccer Team practices in Tampa this week at USF. Team USA also takes on France in a pair of summer friendlies (exhibition matches) starting Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.
The United States is working for their next shot to win their World Cup next summer in Canada. Qualifying matches begin in October.
Superstar goalkeeper Hope Solo cannot wait for the opportunity.
"I still wear this crest with pride, with honor,” Solo says. “It is the team that I enjoy playing with the most. It is the team that I have so much passion for and it's why next summer in the World Cup, it's gonna mean the world to us to play four our country and to hopefully bring home that World Cup."
Team USA came close in 2011, losing to Japan in the World Cup final on penalty kicks. Former Florida star and the world's all-time leading scorer, Abby Wambach, says there is no greater motivation than losing that match.
"We had a taste of it,” Wambach says. "We had a taste of what it could feel like. I'm proud to be on this team, whether we've won or lost. Moving forward, that is the ultimate goal is to stand on that top podium. It doesn't matter how we do it. It doesn't have to be pretty even. I know that the expectations here are that - to win the World Cup next summer."
Most women play for teams in the National Women's Soccer League, now about halfway through its second season. This time together in Tampa is critical for newly-named Team USA head coach Jill Ellis to simply get everyone on the same page. "These players are here, the veterans are here because everyday they've had to prove themselves, and it's just part of honestly this group's DNA. They're naturally competitive. They want to be successful and so they're willing to put in the steps it requires to achieve that."
The next step happens Saturday night at Ray Jay when Team USA takes on France.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?