Even before the United States women’s soccer team defeated England 2-1 on Tuesday in the Women’s World Cup semifinals, Janet Rayfield felt confident about how she’d spend her Sunday.
“When we win,” Rayfield said, “I’ll be at the final.”
The Illinois soccer coach, who arrived in France on June 27 in time to watch the U.S. defeat the host country in the quarterfinals in Paris before traveling to Lyon for Tuesday’s match against England, has spent most of this week playing the role of tourist.
“The history here is amazing,” she said. “I’ve been in and around Lyon seeing the sights here.”
Rayfield will get a view at potential history on Sunday. Jill Ellis, the first coach at Illinois when the program started in 1997, will try to become the first coach to lead the U.S. to back-to-back World Cup titles. Rayfield expects a raucous environment, much like the quarterfinals against France.
“The start of the game gave me chills,” Rayfield said. “It was one of the best atmospheres I have experienced in any sporting event ever.”