U.S. coach Jill Ellis gave her players the day off Thursday, the team’s first full day in Paris.
When the team arrived in France last week for the Women’s World Cup, it went directly to Reims, about 85 miles outside Paris, where it played its opening game Tuesday. The Americans traveled to the capital Wednesday afternoon and were scheduled to train Thursday, but Ellis canceled the session.
Midfielder Samantha Mewis said it hasn’t been hard to find ways to fill the down time.
“A lot of us read or watch shows,” she said. “But it is pretty busy, the team environment. We have a lot of meetings and meals. So we’re just like eating and resting and having coffee.”
Many players spent time Wednesday with family or teammates. Mewis did both, making sure to stay close to midfielder Lindsey Horan, who speaks French after playing four seasons for Paris Saint-Germainand has become the team’s official translator and tour guide.
“She’s definitely guiding us around,” Mewis said. “She gives us little French tips when we have questions. My parents and I followed behind her and her parents last night, like 10 feet away, when we went to dinner because I had no idea where to go. So we were just like little ducklings following behind.”
Horan is one of three players on the U.S. roster who played at PSG, although she was with the club longer than either Tobin Heath or Allie Long.
Morgan Brian, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe all played previously at Lyon and are hoping they’ll get to have a homecoming later in the tournament. Lyon is the site of the tournament semifinals and final.
She’s been called the most famous dog in soccer, but right now Rose Lavelle’s 6-year-old English bulldog Wilma Jean Wrinkles is lonely since her best friend is away for five weeks playing in the Women’s World Cup.
But that doesn’t mean the two aren’t communicating.
“I actually have this little pet cam, it’s an app,” Lavelle said. “And I just go on it and I can shoot out treats to Wilma any time I want. I get on that a lot.”
The Twitter page of Lavelle, who has two World Cup goals, features pictures of her dog. She did pause when asked if she was planning to Facetime with Wilma, however.
“She sleeps a lot,” Lavelle said. “I don’t want to interrupt her sleeping.”
Carli Lloyd’s goal in stoppage time, which capped the U.S. team’s 13-0 win over Thailand, seemed an unnecessary bit of embarrassment for the Thais and their goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying. (And also raises the question of why did Argentina referee Laura Fortunato call for added time anyway.)
But while Lloyd has been widely criticized for publicly pouring it on, her private moment with Charoenying after the game has gotten much less attention. When the final whistle sounded Lloyd, a two-time world player of the year, approached Charoenying, put her arm around the keeper and offered support.
Lloyd told the New York Times she praised Charoenying and encouraged her to hold her head high and keep fighting in her team’s next two games. Charoenying tweeted her thanks to Lloyd in broken English.
“Thanks so much, Lloyd,” she wrote. “Your words that you told me make me strong. Keep going for this tournament and so on. Firstly, I felt dispointment in worst situation but this is the biggest experience in mylife.”
That other football
With the Philadelphia Eagles’ mandatory minicamp ending, tight end Zach Ertz was scheduled to leave Friday for Paris to watch his wife Julie roam the midfield for the U.S. in its second Women’s World Cup game Sunday against Chile. He’ll be the second NFL receiver in France to cheer on a family member, following the San Francisco 49ers’ Jordan Matthews.
Matthews is married to Jamaican forward Cheyna Matthews, whose team plays Italy in its second game Friday. Matthews previously played alongside Ertz in Philadelphia.