Sandy • The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is in full swing. There’s already been a couple of blowout wins — like France’s 4-0 beating of South Korea — and an upset when Italy stunned Australia 2-1. And the Utah Royals FC, who have six players from four different countries competing in the tournament, have been playing close attention.
Coach Laura Harvey, who is from England, said she is watching as many games as possible, and jokingly tried to hurry along an interview Monday so she could watch Cameroon play Canada, a matchup that features Royals midfielder Desiree Scott. Midfielder Vero Boquete was in France as a FIFA Legend, and watched a couple games in person before heading back to Utah to rejoin her club.
Also in attendance is Royals general manager Stephanie Lee, who posted on social media a ticket to the game between England and Scotland, where accountant-turned-footballer Rachel Corsie, a Royals defender, played.
While Boquete, who has played on Spain’s national team in the past, is appreciative of FIFA for helping to promote the women’s game, she had mixed feelings about being in France watching in person.
“Great and s---,” Boquete told The Salt Lake Tribune regarding what it was like being there. “I would love to be there to play the World Cup, but it’s something that doesn’t depend on me.”
Harvey, on the other hand, would like to be in France supporting not only her players, but also the game as a whole. But the National Women’s Soccer League has games to play during the tournament. That decision isn’t up to her, either.
“Just a fan of it all, really,” Harvey said. “Wish we could be there, but unfortunately we didn’t make these decisions that we play games, which I’m totally against.”
So the team as a whole is relegated to watching on television whenever they can. Amy Rodriguez and Nicole Barnhart got together at Rodriguez's apartment, cooked food and watched a recording of the tournament opener between France and South Korea, Rodriguez said last week.
For Rodriguez, who won a championship with the United States in the 2015 tournament in Canada, said it has been difficult watching this time around.
“I feel a little bit sad that I’m not a part of this one this time around,” Rodriguez said. “I think that there’s a part of me, a competitor in me, a player in me that wishes I was out there. But at the same time, I’m also a really big fan of the game and I just want to see really good football.”
Amanda Laddish said the team will most likely get together to watch certain games, particularly those that feature their teammates. She added that the entire team — coaches included — had a random drawing of the 24 countries competing in the tournament, with a prize to be won if the nation chosen wins it all.
Of those asked, Rodriguez picked South Korea, Samantha Johnson picked the U.S., Laddish picked Nigeria, Boquete picked Jamaica and Harvey picked Scotland. The U.S. has yet to play its first game, and the rest have already lost one game.
While Boquete knows she probably won’t win the pool, Harvey still has hope.
“I have faith,” Harvey said. “They’ll be alright.”
Several players are rooting for the United States, which is favored to win the World Cup, even those that are from other countries. Boquete said she is rooting for her home country Spain, but also the U.S. because she plays in the states. Harvey thinks the Americans winning could positively impact the NWSL.
“I’m not not rooting for them (England),” Harvey said, “but selfishly and for the league, if the U.S. win it I think it’s the best thing for our league.”