July 5, 2015. I marked it on my calendar, and each time I scanned my summer I paused - this could happen. An American World Cup on Independence Day weekend. I quickly moved on before I could jinx it all to misery.
Suddenly it was the last day of June and we were playing Germany in the Women's World Cup semifinal. I rushed out of the office to make it to the heart and soul of my American Outlaws existence, Jack Demsey's in NYC. It's where I met our AO NYC family, it's where I've shouted "dos a cero" from the table tops (literally), and it's where I've openly cried after more than a few US heartbreaks.
Two hours later and we're celebrating with beer and chanting as our women finish an incredible match to beat Germany and move on to the World Cup final. Through the shouting and beer spraying, my boyfriend Nick and I look at each other - "are we doing this?"
Two days and a lot of peer pressure later, I hit "buy" on five browser tabs worth of transportation to get us to Vancouver. Because how can you put a price tag on America?
The rest is history. We traveled for 23 hours to watch something I've waited to see my entire life. USA 1994, South Africa, 2010, Brazil 2014...finally in Canada 2015 I watched USA lift the World Cup trophy. It's impossible to accurately describe that day, but here are a few highlights from my favorite moment in US soccer history.
2) Ain't no party like a US Soccer party. I thought nothing could beat the night-before party in Recife before USA-Germany last summer, but the Vancouver one gave it a run for its money. It was amazing running into Outlaws from all over, ending the night with an hour's worth of chants.
3) AO Family always comes through. The second we booked our flights, our AO NYC friends Phil and Vish offered to let us crash. We saved a ton of money in hotels and had some serious bonding moments over poutine and late-night beer.
4) AO Marches are always amazing, but this was next level. I knew it would be big. A World Cup final right in our backyard. But nothing prepared me for this. Everywhere you turned the streets were full of USA jerseys and chanting AO members from around the world. Sorry Vancouver traffic, but that was incredible.
5) The US women are badass. We went crazy at the first goal, and completely lost our minds by the time Carli nailed her hat trick. This is an incredible team of women, comprised of so many generations of US Soccer. They're breathtaking to watch when they've hit their rhythm, and I'm honored to have watched such a historical team hoist the World Cup trophy.
Five World Cups later and I still can't believe I watched the US win a World Cup. We all choked up watching Abby, Rapinoe, Carli, and team celebrate on stage with tears in their eyes. 24 hours in Vancouver for the moment of a lifetime? I'll take it.