SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For kids all around the world, watching a World Cup gives them the chance to envision and dream about themselves at the pinnacle of soccer, too. Right now with the Women’s World Cup happening in France, the U.S. Women’s National Team is inspiring girls across the country and in KELOLAND, too.
Before a practice, this Dakota Alliance Soccer Club under-15 team prepares mentally: by watching the United States Women’s National Team launch their World Cup campaign with a 13 to zero victory over Thailand. Following the match, Emerson Townsend, Kassidy Larsen, Halle Miller and Ty Zacher hit the training field ahead of the start of an important tournament.
This game means a lot to these players.
“Everything to me, it means everything to me, ’cause that’s my favorite thing in the world, I would pick that over anything,” Townsend said. “Except for family, obviously.”
“Oh my gosh, I love soccer, it’s so much fun,” Miller said. “It’s something I do when I am bored, when I am feeling sad, I just go on the field, and I just love soccer.”
“It helps me release everything, I can just go there and be comfortable,” Zacher said.
Having a chance to watch the women’s national team is instructive.
“It’s just really cool to see how I can put their work into my work on the field,” Miller said.
“It’s a good learning experience, and I like how they, they’re a good example,” Zacher said.
“We were looking for other ways that we can attack, and ways that we can improve our soccer,” Townsend said.
“For me, when I was watching them, I could really just experience it, and I learn from it, and so I can put it on the field,” Miller said.
Looking up to the stars is inspiring for these players, too.
“It gives me hope that maybe that’s something I can do some day,” Townsend said.
“I would say that it’s just inspiring to see how they can come so far,” Zacher said.
“It’s pretty inspiring, because they started from our level, and then they worked up all the way to that level,” Larsen said.
“It inspires me seeing them, and how they get so excited when they score their goals, it gets me really excited, and how the team is really close,” Miller said. “I really bond with my teammates, too, and it inspires me when I see people scoring and cheering on their teammates and working for the ball.”
Watching the national team together helps this KELOLAND team come together, too.
“You can connect to it because you’re all a team and you play together all the time,” Townsend said.
“We all bond, and it reminds me of their team, and I like how we all can talk about the same things and look at the same things,” Zacher said.
The stars over in France were once young talents themselves, honing the craft that they love on much smaller stages all over the United States like this one here in Sioux Falls where Townsend, Zacher, Miller and Larsen are practicing.
“It makes me feel like I can achieve those goals, just because I play, too,” Larsen said.
“I really just look up to them, and I watch my position, and I watch what they do,” Miller said.
“It makes me feel proud that they’re representing our country, because they represent it very well,” Townsend said.
Watching a player compete at the World Cup can motivate a player anywhere.
“It makes me feel like that would be cool to do that, but it makes me feel like I can improve more, and makes me play better,” Larsen said.
Players who are at the pinnacle of soccer right now won’t be there forever- eventually they’ll retire, and it’ll be next up from somewhere, anywhere, across the United States. It’s one of the lessons of a World Cup- dreams start and are followed everywhere.
The U.S. Women’s National Team is 3-0 so far this World Cup, scoring 18 goals total and allowing none. They next play Spain on Monday in the round of 16.