Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Travels with My Dad, Part 4



Sunday we had the unique opportunity to see a WPS [Women’s Professional Soccer] game at UC East Bay (Hayward).  This was the championship match between San Francisco’s team (unfortunately called FC Gold Pride) and the winner of Thursday night’s game between Philly and Boston.  We were hoping for Boston to win because 2 of UP’s players have gone on to play for Boston, but unfortunately for us Philly won.

FC Gold Pride has Christine Sinclair and Tiffeny Millbrett playing for them, 2 of Dad’s soccer heroines from his early days following UP.  Those 2 were on the team when it took the National Championship in 2005.  Besides them, San Francisco has “Marta”, the one-word name player from Brazil who is titled since the Olympics “the best woman soccer player in the world”.  Half of the people in the stands had “Marta”  shirts on; I thought it was a little sad for her teammates that she is thought to be a one member team. 

FC stands for Football Club, in case you were wondering.  Football is what the rest of the world calls soccer.  It is very political and financial and I heard bits of the harsh realities of how LA lost its professional football (soccer) team last year because they went bankrupt and the players split into other teams, such as Marta coming to SF which is actually known as Gold Pride.  Don’t ask me why.  This is all more than enough politics and finances for my faithful readers, but let me just say, it’s not a simple game in the big leagues.

But, back to the important matters:  It was a gloriously perfect day.  The stands were full.  People cheered, especially the guys saying, “Popcorn!  Peanuts! Ice cold lemonade!”  People were actually passing 20 dollar bills down to the cotton candy guy, that’s how high the spirits were.  Crowds of little girls in their soccer uniforms came with their teams to see Marta do it again.

And she did.  With Tiffeny Millbrett and Christine Sinclair also in the front line making goals.  FC Gold Pride won 4-1.  It was wonderful to see soccer at this level, I must admit.  I am not a sports fan particularly and you must remember I was on this trip to keep my dad company.  But seeing the well-oiled machinery of a team that knows how to play together is really fun.  I hardly saw the goals when they happened because it was so quick and sometimes there were so many fast moves and different feet involved that I only knew it was a goal when I saw the cage net bouncing.  And heard the crowd roaring.  

This was a bonus treat for our trip.  We didn’t know the championship game was going to be in SF until we were in California and heard the other fans talking about it.  I got online for Dad’s sake and found tickets left in a good section, only 8 tickets left total.  So it was a rare treat.  It cost more than he’d ever paid for a soccer game, and he said he’d never paid that much for parking, either.  $15!  A momentous occasion.

10-09-26-12-48-08H We left there about 2PM in 97 degree heat, and headed home to Portland, driving through the night with stops for soda or gas or bathrooms.  In Redding at 7 we visited soccer team parents and then continued on.  We arrived home at 5:30 AM, sleepy and satisfied with our adventure.10-09-26-12-32-52H The trophy and tee shirts are handed out


10-09-26-09-38-38H From the stadium you can see the San Francisco Bay.

10-09-26-10-28-45H FC Gold Pride arrives, escorted by young soccer teams

10-09-26-12-30-02H  Just after the win, setting up victory stands for 2010 Champions.


10-09-26-17-12-03H 10-09-26-16-20-34H The beautiful drive home through agricultural fields and olive groves

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