Written by: Kourtney and Alexa Kirton
The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 has been an exhilarating time for all teams participating and fans who are watching. We were lucky enough to experience one of those games in Germany, USA vs. Columbia.
In early February, my dad put our names into the FIFA lottery ticket system to hopefully win tickets to the USA vs Columbia game in Sinsheim. We figured this would be an appropriate time to go back and visit friends, because we, Kourtney and Alexa, haven’t been back there since 2000, when we were little and our dad was finishing up his professional hockey career and playing in the DEL in Frankfurt. Then, a few months later, we got an email that said we had won the 4 tickets! We were thrilled! We get to see a Women’s World Cup game! Also, we get to go back the country, Germany, where we both spent the first years of lives (Alexa was even born there) and we get to stay with friends in the city, Straubing, where our dad started and played the first 6 years of his 10-year German professional hockey career, where they even retired his jersey and named him “Player of the Century”.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup game we were going to was to take place on Saturday, July 2nd, at 7 pm in Sinsheim. We had to drive about 3 hours to get there, in our little bright blue, 4-person rental car. We made our 2 posters for the USA on our car ride there, not knowing if we’d be lucky enough to get on TV with them or not. We had to come up with good words that started with the letters E S P N, in hopes of ESPN showing it, so we did. Then, as we were driving down the autobahn, all of a sudden, there it was...the biggest stadium we’ve ever seen, sitting right there on the side of the highway. The Rhein-Neckar-Arena. When we first saw the stadium we both were speechless. It was so beautiful!
Gates opened 2 hours before the game started, so we had time to walk around and buy some souvenirs. Then we went and visited with Lesle Gallimore and Amy Griffin, the UW women’s soccer coaches who were at the game too and were sitting in the USA team family section. All the families had white USA soccer t-shirts on with their players’ last names and numbers on the back, it was so cool to see the families of the players and we could sense the excitement and anticipation. When we got back to our seats the game started. We were 9 rows up on the side of the stadium right by the goal. For the first half we got to see Hope Solo up close when she made big saves and we were behind #9 Heather O’Reilly, as she nailed her shot past the Columbian goalie for the first goal of the match. At the end of the first half the score was 1-0, in favor of the USA. During the second half we got to see, up close, the goals by #15, Megan Rapinoe and #10, Carli Lloyd. Then the final whistle blew and all the USA fans celebrated! After the game, we went over to the corner where the players walked into their locker rooms. The coach and a few players were being interviewed by ESPN. So as the rest of the USA team was walking by to go into the locker room, we asked them for their autographs. We were able to get almost the whole team to sign our posters. Hope Solo was the last one to come off the field and come over. While she was signing our posters, she said she noticed Alexa’s Sounder’s jersey and said it was nice to see some “home-town fans all the way out here”. She then asked Kourtney where we were from and she told her Issaquah. Then when we asked if she knew Frenchie, Hope said “Of course I do”. So Alexa said she plays for Frenchie and Hope gave Alexa a big grin and asked Alexa to say “Hi” to Frenchie for her. That was definitely the highlight of the game for both of us!
Since that soccer game, whenever someone asks us about what our favorite part of the trip was, we always say watching the USA vs. Colombia Women’s World Cup soccer game. We will never forget that game and our wonderful experience in Germany.
For links to great photos:https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2043773611673.2111151.1164333757&l=ea24cd2dc3