The United States Women’s National Team opened their Women’s World Cup bank account last night in Reims with a 13-goal deposit, ending Thailand 13-0. For many American fans, the morning started in Paris, with thousands of fans heading to Reims, the site of the match, by plane, car, or bus. I undertook a private bus with 65 other Americans as we slept in a bit, got some lunch and got our game day preparations in order.
The trip to Reims began around 1:30pm, with Jenny Taft from Fox seeing us off from our hotel. The trip took about 2 hours, with a lot of traffic delaying our exit from Paris, but we were on the road to Reims after that. Reims is in the region best known for champagne, so fans were excited at the prospect of trying out some of France’s finest bubbly.
We arrived in Reims around 4:00pm, parking right in front of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims. The pregame event hosted by the American Outlaws for all American fans was at a restaurant in the plaza that had the Notre-Dame as the most beautiful of backdrops. There, the plaza became a sea of red, white, and blue, American fans arriving by the dozens to enjoy some lunch, try some local beer, wine, and champagne, and prepare for the match. Despite reports that it would be a rainy evening, only a little rain fell a few hours before kickoff, clearing up just in time for fans to march through the city to the stadium.
The march ignited the crowd, with locals stopping what they were doing to applaud and chant with us. This is where the excitement was building just until we got to the entrance to the Stade Auguste-Delaune. We got inside and got to our seats, which were pretty nice.The match went as no one expected it would. Of course, we knew we would win, and probably win by a nice scoreline, but no one expected 13 goals to hit the back of the net. It was simply unbelievable.
After the match, the 18,591 fans, maybe 80% of whom were American mixed in with some French fans and a few boisterous Thai supporters, were happy and still in disbelief at what they saw. For some, it was off to a bar to celebrate. For me, it was back to the bus to return to Paris. We arrived around 2:00am, and the main motivation at that point was to get some rest. A long day in the books, but it was certainly a night to remember.