The USWNT has arrived in New Zealand as they prepare to compete for their third consecutive Women’s World Cup title.
They aim to become the second favorite team for New Zealand fans, right after the home team, the Football Ferns. Fans welcomed the team at the airport with signs before they headed to their hotel in Auckland’s CBD.
The US has made their second visit to New Zealand in six months, after previously holding a training camp in January. During their first visit, they defeated the World Cup co-hosts in two matches series in Wellington and Auckland.
“For us, preparation for the Women’s World Cup started a while ago,” Andonovski told reporters at the airport. “We were here in January, and started our work with the community then.”
“We almost feel like now, like (we’re) home again,”
“Like I said in January, we want to become New Zealand’s second favourite team.”
The United States will be located in Auckland for the tournament, which is being co-hosted by Australia. They will play all their Group E matches in New Zealand.
Their first match is against Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22, followed by matches against the Netherlands and Portugal. The US team won 2-0 against Wales in their final warm-up match in San Jose, California.
Megan Rapinoe, who received the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards at the 2019 World Cup, did not play in the match against Wales and recently announced her retirement at the end of the National Women’s Soccer League season.
However, the coach, Andonovski, stated that Rapinoe will still be an important part of the US team during the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
“She’s a true pro, she knows what she needs to do to win these big tournaments,” he said.
“So having her here with the young ones like Sophia (Smith), Trinity (Rodman) and Alyssa (Thompson) will be very important.”