Sunday, October 26, 2008
Oregon – Washington (26-10-2008)
In the absence of professional sports, I decided to go and see a game of the women soccer team of the University of Oregon. At US colleges and universities ‘soccer’ is still mainly a female sports; but among women sports, it is one of the most popular. So, I took my bike and rode to Pape’ Field, in the shadow of the mighty Autzen Stadium, where the UO American Football team plays its home games (more on that in two weeks).
To my surprise, I had to pay 5 USD to get in and, even more surprising, there were some 150 spectators on the one stand. Many were related to the players, I guess – either being friends or family. But there were also quite a lot fans of ‘the Ducks’ (the nickname of the University of Oregon). As my breakfast took longer than expected, I arrived 15 minutes late, and the Ducks were 0-1 down. This seemed fair, as ‘the Huskies’ (the University of Washington or UW) were clearly the better team.
This was the first women soccer game I ever saw in a stadium, I have seen some WC games on tv, and, to be honest, I remain unimpressed. First of all, they simply miss power; in terms of speed (of ball and players). Second, their technique is quite poor. Third, their movement is limited, in terms of space and originality. I was amazed how defensive and disciplined both teams played though. It reminded me of Belgian football.
Fortunately it was great weather, and the atmosphere was friendly yet engaged, so I did enjoy the experience. There were few real chances, as most of the game went on between the two penalty boxes. The Huskies remain a tat better, but the Ducks press for the equalizer. They get it in the 72nd minute, with a great 20m shot. Unfortunately, in the 80th minute the Huskies get a free-kick just outside of the box. With a rather lame shot low in the left corner the visitors score 1-2: the winner!
Although I enjoyed the event, the weather and atmosphere did more for me than the football. I know, I’m a sexist, but as far as I’m concerned, women soccer is still miles behind the real thing.