Frisco Gives Women's Soccer Team Warm Welcome

Team plays New Zealand on Saturday

By Catherine Ross
|  Friday, Feb 10, 2012  |  Updated 6:34 PM CDT
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Fans of the US Women's National Soccer Team welcomed them to Frisco ahead of a game against New Zealand.

Catherine Ross, Frisco Reporter

Fans of the US Women's National Soccer Team welcomed them to Frisco ahead of a game against New Zealand.

A healthy number of fans headed to FC Dallas Stadium on Friday to watch the women's national soccer team's open practice.

The U.S. Women's National Team takes on New Zealand at the stadium on Saturday. And the exhibition match is headed toward a sellout.

Players said the crowd for Friday's open practice was bigger than usual.

"We did have open practices and open games 12 months ago, and it wasn't like this," forward Alex Morgan said.

Many of the younger fans skipped school for a chance to meet their idols.

"I like Abby Wambach because she plays left mid like me, and I like Hope Solo because she's a really good goalie," said Elizabeth Wheeler, of Flower Mound.

Emma Mason, 10, of Plano, said she wants to emulate her idol, Wambach.

"I want to play on the U.S. national team when I grow up," she said.

Solo and Wambach say the attention is well-deserved after their team's run to the finals of the 2011 World Cup and qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

"You see it in the NBA. You see it in the NFL. Why not in women's soccer?" Solo said.

Solo said it's time to show their young fans that not only can women play -- they can win.

"We've always had a winning team," she said. "We've played with a winning attitude, so we don't settle for anything other than gold."

Doug Quinn, president and CEO of FC Dallas, said the domestic audience for the sport is growing.

North Texas is second to areas in California in the number of girls and women playing soccer, he said.

The U.S. women's team first rose to prominence with its 1999 World Cup, when a record 90,185 fans filled the Rose Bowl in California for the final.

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