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Women’s soccer assistant Bowers shares World Cup fan experience
Assistant women's soccer coach Kristie Bowers '07 enjoyed the thrill of a lifetime this summer, traveling to......
August 22, 2011Tweet
Assistant women’s soccer coach Kristie Bowers ‘07 enjoyed the thrill of a lifetime this summer, traveling to Germany to watch the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The former elite collegiate goalkeeper and first-year assistant for the Bearcats shared her impressions and feelings about the trip, the soccer games and the pride surrounding the Americans’ incredible run to the finals.
How did you make the decision to travel to Germany for the World Cup?
The trip was initiated by a coaching friend who has relatives over in Germany and was about 3 years worth of planning on her part. I only joined in about a year and half ago. Her mom, who lives in Southwest part of Germany, did most of the organizing and logistical planning.
How challenging was the language barrier?
My friend’s mom spoke conversational German and knew the “in’s and out’s” of where the best places to stay were. I did my best to learn as much conversational German as I could while I was over there, but obviously in three weeks my German was not nearly as far along as I had hoped. However, everyone that I encountered was super helpful and spoke as much English as they could. I never really ran into any issues with a language barrier. Especially at the games ... those that I sat near were eager to speak with me and to educate me on chants that were popular in German futbol.
How many games did you watch?
We bought the Frankfurt venue package which gave us all games at Frankfurt except the final. We then added a few teams we wanted to see more than once. The itinerary was pretty extensive. We started outside Frankfurt where my friend’s mom lived and then traveled to the opening ceremonies in Berlin to see Germany vs. Canada. Then to Wolfsburg for Mexico vs. England. Back to Frankfurt for Germany vs. Nigeria. Then out to Sinshein to see the Columbia vs. USA game. Our last first round game was the Equatorial Guinea vs. Brazil. From there we caught two semifinal matches - one in Munich and one in Frankfurt. So I got to watch seven games in all.
Can you describe the atmosphere surrounding the matches?
It was a dream of mine to be a part of an atmosphere like this. Being there as a fan of the game is such an amazing experience when its the sport that you have been passionate about all your life is in the world’s stage and the hearts of an entire country. The news of the games was everywhere and most conversations on the streets of the cities was centered around the games. At the U.S. Columbia game, I sat next to a girl and her family and they spoke only limited English. The girl was intrigued by our chants and excitement so she moved over to sit next to me and I gave her a little USA flag and she joined in on our chants.
As an American women’s soccer player and coach, how do you describe the accomplishments of the U.S. team?
I think the U.S. team accomplished a great deal this summer. In a crazy World Cup in which most of the powerhouse teams underachieved, the U.S. powered through the ups and downs, painting a real picture of the American story. It wasn’t a smooth road, but as a fan of the game, it was a road that encouraged others to join and celebrate their victories. I think it was hard for those who aren’t fans, not to root for the U.S. given their battle and resilience.
You grew up in the Rochester area, as did U.S. star Abby Wambach. Any special thoughts on her career and her performance in Germany?
I thought Abby did an excellent job leading the U.S. squad. She really set a stellar example of team leadership as well as passion for the love of playing the game and for scoring. As a Rochester native and someone who grew up playing at the same time she did, it was great to see her excel. I have always been a fan of her resilience especially after coming back from her injury a few years ago but her display of what it means to be a team player and an impact player was one that will be remembered by most fans. In a World Cup in which many of the “dominant” goal scores struggled to lead their teams, Abby embraced the challenge and helped to carry the team through the late stages.
What was your favorite match?
It’s definitely a tie for my favorite match; my pride in the U.S.and the inspiration that they played with during the Brazil match was truly an unbelievable experience. However the inspiring movement of an entire country behind a team (Germany) in the Germany vs. Canada opening match was unlike any event I’ve ever been apart of. I think the excitement of being a fan for that game was more than I could have ever imagined. I was awestruck for most of the match listening to the crowd cheer, chant and become moved by each play in the match.
What did you share with your BU players about your experience?
The trip reinvigorated my passion for the game and for being a student of the game. I think that in our culture it is very difficult to watch our game at the highest level especially being played by women. However, I think that more than ever my passion and I hope our players’ passion, for being fans and supporters of the women’s game was reinvented. Our players were very actively discussing the games with each other and still compare ideas that we instruct tactically with patterns they saw in the games.
What do you see as the after-effect of these games, both personally and for the sport of women’s soccer?
I hope that our country does embrace the women’s game more fully after such an eventful World Cup experience. We have had many issues keeping the Women’s Professional Soccer League going in the US. My hope is that more people will be willing to go watch the players they saw on TV in stadiums across the country. I think that the Olympics next summer will also help to continue to fuel the support for the sport and the Women’s game. Personally, I’m definitely making plans to attend the next World Cup in 2015 in Canada. I think it’s an event that every fan of the game should make the effort to attend. I thoroughly enjoyed traveling through Canada when I played in the Northern USL division and will be happy to travel up for few matches in both Toronto and Ottawa.