Tweeters set a record as the USA Womens Soccer team, which was ranked number one by FIFA, suffered an agonizing defeat Sunday at the hands of a most worthy opponent, the Japanese Women's Soccer Team.
Ecstatic fans, including celebreties and President Obama broke the 2010 record of 6,939 tweets per second, with 7,196 as Japan's team set their own record in the unpredicted and surprising conclusion of the game. The two vied for the coveted Women's World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany.
This was Japan's first time winning the WWC, but that didn't make the defeat any sweeter for the US team who lost in a savage shootout, untying the final score, making it 3-2.
Parking spaces filled in downtown Roanoke, VA as fans and heretofore soccer non-enthusiasts were suddenly glued to the televisions in the restaurants lining the Downtown Market. The Market piped the broadcast outside too, so fans on foot and outside diners could hear the game.
The two teams successfully held each other off until the US made the first goal. After that, the faces of both teams grew a visibly more serious and clearly showed more determination, as the spectators grew louder and cheered continuously throughout the rest of the game.
No doubt, ulcers and coronaries were born when arteries clogged after they dilated and compressed now in rapid succession among the fans, who had initially trusted that the US would continue their path to victory.
Cheers and groans erupted as the anxious crowd watched goals made as the opposing player threw herself in front of the ball a second after it sped by her, and the goalie rammed herself in it's path - a millisecond after it arrived safely in the goal.
The women on both the US and Japan's team were well trained and well prepped for the event, and that's no easy feat. It takes years of practice, years of highly competitive soccer camp applications and acceptance, and years of waiting and hoping to make the cut. And then, there's no guarantee you'll score or even win the game, as was the case for the US today.
Lori Lindsey, No. 16, is a Midfielder from Indianapolis on the US team. Matter of fact, she's worked on and in that position a long time before getting the chance to play . Lori's the 4th oldest woman on the US team, and holds a Sociology Degree she earned in 2002 from the University of Virginia.
Lori's affectionately known now as "Lightening" to her teammates, and for good reason.
I had the pleasure of interviewing her in 1999 when she was an upandcoming Cavalier on the University of Virginia's Women's Soccer Team, and was a Midfielder even way back then.
Her coach, April Heinrichs, another familiar name to the US Women's Soccer Team and Ron Rabb, Heinrichs' Assistant Coach coined her "strong and powerful." Many of her teammates had their eyes focused on at least one Olympic game and a chance to win the cup, they shared.
Lori was a talented and tenacious athlete even then, and also loved basketball. I had no trouble tracking the 5'5" powerhouse during a pick-up game. In that season, when she was only a Freshman, she started every game, logged 1,577 minutes and 16 points, which included the team's only goal against neighbor, James Madison University.
She said she loved sports, but realized in middle school she was best suited to play soccer and she set her sights on the UVA Women's Team.
During my interview, her team mates held high praise for April Heinrichs, Soccer Hall of Famer and their coach at that time.
Heinrichs graduated from UNC, ironically UVA's toughest and most arch rival on the Soccer field. She went on to secure the World Cup in 1991, the very first FIFA cup. In 1996 she became UVA Women's Soccer Head Coach and led them to four NCAA Tourneys. In 2003 the USA team took the Bronze under her leadership at the World Cup, and the Silver in the 2004 Summer Olympics.
In 1999, while Lindsey was carving her spot on the soccer field at UVA, the world watched, half of them laughing and half chastising as an exuberant Brandy Chastain made the US' winning goal against China at the Rose Bowl, then threw off her jersey to expose her sports bra. And perhaps got more press and attention for the Women's World Cup than it had ever enjoyed in all it's history.
The US team also has a second UVA graduate, 26 year old Becky Sauerbrunn.
Great game, USA. You made a heartfelt and valiant effort.
And congratulations, Japan. Well deserved.