By Fred Liggett
Names like Sauerbrunn, Morgan, Rapinoe, Mews and Lloyd have been heard a lot since the 2019 Women’s World Cup tournament began a month ago as the USA women’s soccer team attempts to repeat as World Cup champions. The players with those names took the field in Lyon, France on Sunday in the World Cup Final against Netherlands and as they did local fans in Downtown Lee’s Summit filled pubs and bars to cheer them on.
Following Tuesday’s 2-1 semi-final round win over England the interest had been growing for watch parties for Sunday’s final which started at 10 am central time. Fringe Beerworks, Llywelyn’s Pub, Third Street Social and Konrad’s were among the Downtown businesses who opened early for fans to watch the game. Chris Miller, a Llywelyn’s Pub manager, said “at least 20 people called asking if we would be open.” Konrad’s owner Julie Kemna heard the same question over and over again helping each location decide it was worth opening the doors to USA women’s soccer fans of all ages.
Dawn Johnson of Grain Valley visited Fringe as soon as they opened at 9:30 a.m. Johnson felt “super excited for the USA.” Johnson added she was one of the many fans who “watched earlier World Cup matches.” The bar area of Third Street Social had all their TVs on the game and the sound on for fans to enjoy the start to their Sunday. Gina Hartnett of Lee’s Summit was glad to be there for the championship match stating “fun to watch with your community.” Hartnett is such a big fan she watched earlier World Cup matches including last Friday’s game at Kansas City’s Power & Light District. Konrad’s had fans of all ages watching the game including a pair of former high school soccer players. Kelsey Dougherty of Lee’s Summit admitted to being a “big soccer fan” and watched earlier World Cup matches “whenever possible.” Dougherty and a friend seated next to her played high school soccer at Fort Osage HS. When asked who her favorite player on the USA team was Kelsey without hesitation said “Alex Morgan.”
To everyone’s delight in Downtown Lee’s Summit no matter where they watched the game the USA women won the final 2-0 over Netherlands giving the USA team the 2019 World Cup. Both goals came in the second half, Captain Megan Rapinoe scored on a penalty kick in the 61st minute with Rose Lavelle adding a goal in the 69th minute. USA women’s Coach Jill Ellis and her team have won back-to-back World Cups, something that hadn’t been done at the event since 2007. Local fans of all ages will remember where they were when the 2019 team raised the CUP in celebration of winning the FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup.