Getting pumped for Olympics to start? Well, you’re already missing it.
Women’s soccer kicked off Wednesday in Glasgow, Scotland’s Hampden Park. Great Britain took on New Zealand at 8 a.m. PDT, and the U.S. played France at 9. That means Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, and the rest of the gang will be more than 400 miles from the Olympic Park in London during the opening ceremonies on Friday, which is kind of a bummer.
But the U.S. players must have expected as much: this is the fourth Olympics in a row in which the U.S. women’s soccer team has begun play before the Games officially opened. The Olympic committee has determined over the past few years that the women’s soccer players must take the field before the opening ceremonies because the extra days that are needed to play all the games necessary with a sufficient amount of rest time in between matchups.
Unfortunately, this is the third year the U.S. women’s soccer team will not be able to march in the opening ceremonies. “I would love to be in the opening ceremonies,” two-time Olympian Lauren Cheney told the Los Angeles Times. “I’ve never experienced it. [But] I can’t say I’m, like, sad about missing out.”
The entire women’s soccer tournament will take place outside of the host city, with the exception of the final gold medal game in London. So to make it to Olympic Park at all, the U.S. has to beat 5 teams. But they’re off to a promising start: on Wednesday, the U.S. team beat France, who was ranked sixth in the latest FIFA rankings and has won 17 consecutive games since losing the game for third place in last summer’s World Cup. Alex Morgan scored twice in the 4-2 win, with Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd also contributing goals.
The team will certainly want to make it to London, if only to get a shot at playing in front of a bigger audience: Olympics officials said that around 37,000 fans were expected at the U.S.-France, Colombia-North Korea doubleheader Wednesday, but that 80 percent of those tickets had been handed out for free to local schools and clubs. And those fans did not even get to see both games as scheduled: North Korea’s team refused to take the field for over an hour after Olympic organizers accidentally displayed the South Korean flag on the jumbo screen instead of that of North Korea.