The quest to see the Women's World Cup
Posted: Saturday July 10, 1999 03:59 PM
CNN/SI.com's Steve Almasy is on-site at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. He filed these reports during the 90-minute runup to the Women's World Cup final between the U.S. and China.
JUST OUTSIDE TUNNEL 18 (CNN/SI) -- Lori Heintz of Sebastopol, Calif., her two soccer-playing daughters and two friends took what should have been a six-hour trip on Friday to get the World Cup final.
But it turned into a 12-hour trip for the fans who have followed the team since 1991. Their minivan broke down, they had to be towed for 45 minutes, then finally ended up renting a car to get to see their heroines.
As they gawk, thousands of red balloons have been released, the Hansons are singing the National Anthem and fighter jets are flying in a saluting formation. It is a spectacle par excellence.
Meanwhile, the natives are getting restless as the president still hasn't arrived but authorities are not letting people walk through Tunnel 18. Some 400 fans here are slipping into the stadium for the game, tired of waiting.
Waiting for the president to arrive
JUST OUTSIDE TUNNEL 18 AT THE ROSE BOWL (CNN/SI) -- We're on presidential watch. That's right, President Clinton has capitulated and is attending. About 200 fans are standing around, making Secret Service agents nervous, hoping to get a glimpse of the president and curious to see whether Hillary will show up with him.
But no sign of the nation's No. 1 fan yet.
A girl steps up and asks what's going on. "It's the president," she's told. "The president of what?" she asks.
Meanwhile, an entrepreneur makes the most of the situation. "Get your ice-cold Cokes while you wait for the president," yells the vendor.
Boys express new-found interest in soccer
OUTSIDE GATE A AT THE ROSE BOWL (CNN/SI) -- Young women aren't the only fans enamoured of the U.S Women's Team.
Kyle Simmons, 11, of Atlanta, Ga., and his father, David, traveled to Pasadena to take in the World Cup. David actually worked during the 1994 Men's World Cup event.
"It's really good," says young Simmons of the women's play. "They make things interesting. You won't see the men's team going to the World Cup any time soon."
Kyle doesn't play soccer himself, but says he is interested in signing up this fall.
Tyler Shantzen, 13, of Irvine, Calif., is with Kyle and David. He says his favorite player is Mia Hamm, although he pronounces Mia as "My-a." Tyler says he plays basketball instead of soccer.
Face-painted fans, anonymous stars, ready to cheer
OUTSIDE GATE F AT THE ROSE BOWL (CNN/SI) -- One of the most famous soccer players in the world just walked by, Juergen Klinsmann, a former captain of the German National Team who scored 274 career goals, and nobody seems to recognize him. He slipped in anonymously through the VIP gate. One of the reasons he moved to the U.S. was to have such freedom, impossible in Germany.
A fan fest is taking place in a tent in the parking lot, mostly Americans but a few Chinese enjoying the bright sunshine and 91 degree temperature. A few puffy clouds linger over the San Gabriel Mountains.
It's a lot like the Fourth of July, although the hamburgers are $4, all meat burritos $4.75, and soft drinks cost $2.
Fans can test the speed of their kicks, gaugeng how well they can hit a target, or get their faces painted in the many booths that line the fan fest. One boy has a U.S. flag painted over half his face, and a girl is getting stars emblazoned on her face.
You can also buy tickets to win a Hyundai, the vehicle manufactured by one of the companies that sponsor the World Cup.
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