Aug. 1, 2008
Yesterday was a day off and it rained most of the day. Instead of going to see the eastern-most point of the Great Wall, we took a shopping excursion in the afternoon into downtown Qinhuangdao. Not everyone went, which was probably a good thing because we had one security guy for every person! Some of them were in uniform and some were in plain clothes but you definitely feel very safe. I think we were the first team to venture out in the city because there were lots of stares and shoppers wanting pictures and autographs. We wandered through a market and into some department stores, but I don't think there were too many purchases made. Lindsay Tarpley (wife of UCLA assistant coach B.J. Snow) and Lori Chalupny are professional shoppers, and when they told me to wait until Shanghai I promptly tucked away my wallet.
We had two training sessions today. This morning we went out to the field and did some technical work and played 9v9. At the end of practice, the players had some free time to work on something they specifically wanted to focus on so I did some finishing with the forwards. The afternoon session was spent in the weight room with fitness coach Helena Anderrson. The players have a strength training regimen they have been following since January and work hard to maintain their high fitness level.
All the teams are now in the hotel, and it is a little strange to be in such close quarters with the opponent. Norway and Japan are on the floors directly above and below the U.S. team so when you head downstairs you are all jammed in the little elevator and inevitably sizing up your competition...and without a doubt Norway has some height on their team! The Italian men's team LOVE the karaoke machine downstairs and will belt out ballads and random techno songs we've never heard of...however, not to be outdone, the U.S will counter with "Summer of 69" and "Brown Eyed Girl." All in all international relations are in full swing!