Women's World Cup win inspires Detroit soccer players, thrills fans
Jeremy Potter was in mid-sentence Sunday describing what the USA Women's soccer team meant to him when his excitement couldn't be contained, his eyes never straying from the World Cup finals on the flat screen TV.
"Here it is," belted Potter of Detroit as Rose Lavelle scored the second goal to seal the game in the second half. The USA women won 2-0 over Netherlands.
Potter, 36, was among the capacity crowd of rabid soccer fans at the Detroit City Clubhouse on the city's east side who roared at the goal. It was excitement for a team that four years after another World Cup victory has managed to captivate a nation.
He was a little surprised by the massive turnout at the clubhouse, "but I'm excited to see it. To have everybody shoulder-to-shoulder rooting for this team ... this team's been incredible this whole tournament, their heart, how hard they play."
Like Potter, Chrissy Ferreira is a huge soccer fan and still plays. Ferreira, 32, of Newark, New Jersey, was in town for a wedding and Googled a place to watch the game. She found out about the clubhouse hosting a watch party.
"It's pretty incredible. The women have come a long way and they've really made a name for themselves, not just as a soccer team but also as women," Ferreira said. "And they're really changing the whole soccer world for women. I think it's amazing. I personally still play soccer to this day, and I've gotta cheer my girls on."
Sean Mann, who is an owner of the Detroit City Football Clubhouse, said he was pleased with the turnout and the increased interest in women's soccer.
"I think it's awesome. The women's team is selling more jerseys than the men's team," said Mann, who added that the clubhouse just opened in October. He also is one of the owners of Detroit's soccer team that uses the facility.
"We just wanted this to be a hub for soccer but also the spectator side of things as well."
Allison McWillams, 24, of Detroit and Emily Cossins, 22, of Taylor both were wearing USA soccer jerseys as they watched the game at the clubhouse bar. Both still play soccer and see how the team has inspired women all over the country.
"To perform so well and just to survive and advance and make it look so easy, it's amazing," McWilliams said. "It just puts a flame under you as a female and as an athlete to do your best and to perform on the highest platform that you have, whether it be on a global stage or just in a high school championship game. Do your best and fight for what you believe in."