The U.S. women’s soccer team plays its final pool-play match Tuesday on the hallowed grounds of Old Trafford in Manchester, the 102-year-old home of the English Premier League’s Manchester United and perhaps the most famous and historic soccer stadium in the world.
“It’s gorgeous,” midfielder Megan Rapinoe told reporters after the U.S. team’s walk-through Monday, which included more picture-taking than anything else. “You can see why they talk of the magic inside.”
The American women will be adding to the history of the so-called “Theatre of Dreams” since no women’s Olympic team had played there before Tuesday, when the U.S. met North Korea.
“To be here is absolutely wonderful,” Coach Pia Sundhage told reporters. “You can breathe football. And we love that.”
Captain Christine Rampone and first-time Olympian Alex Morgan showed their excitement in other ways. “Old Trafford! Man U!” Rampone tweeted while Morgan bragged of buying a Manchester United jersey especially for her first visit to the stadium.
After the hourlong walk-through, the players toured the Man U locker room, which won’t be used for the Olympic tournament.
If the U.S., which has already qualified for the quarterfinals, wins there it could be back in Old Trafford for the semifinals.