ROCKVILLE – Soccer fans came together at the Wheaton Sports Pavilion for a watch party to cheer on the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) as it took on Chile in the FIFA Women’s World Cup on June 16.
The pavilion, an indoor turf field facility located in Wheaton Regional Park, set up a blown-up big screen to show the group stage game being played in France.
Fans were allowed to bring their picnic blankets, coolers and lawn chairs and sit anywhere to watch the game. Food trucks were available for anybody who wanted to purchase food while they watched.
Children of all ages attended the watch party and ended up playing with loose soccer balls. There were also small games the children participated in as well.
Two players from the Washington Spirit, the area’s local women’s soccer team, came to watch the game, take pictures with fans and sign autographs. Goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme and forward Tiffany McCarty watched along with those in attendance as their teammate, striker Mallory Pugh, played a full 90 minutes during the group stage match. Midfielder Rose Lavelle, another Spirit player on the USWNT roster, did not play after logging in 57 minutes and scoring twice in the United States’ win over Thailand on June 11.
Organizers said in a press release that the watch party was an open house to introduce the pavilion to a new audience and residents who never visited before. The facility was an outdoor ice rink before 2013.
In the match, forward Carli Lloyd scored twice while defensive midfielder Julie Ertz added a goal as the Stars and Stripes defeated Chile 3-0 to secure their spot in the knockout round.
The USWNT will finish group play on June 20 against Sweden.