World Cup watch party draws huge crowd, shows how soccer goes beyond the field

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The watch party was organized by the American Outlaws Fresno Chapter

FRESNO, California — America again took home the FIFA Women’s World Cup title Sunday for the second year in a row. Fans around the world tuned in to see the big win. For fans in the Central Valley, that meant catching the game at 8 a.m.

However, the early call time didn’t deter fans at all.

Strummer’s in Fresno’s Tower District was filled to the brim with fans to cheer on the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The watch party was organized by the American Outlaws Fresno Chapter, which is a national organization of soccer fans.

If you’re part of it, soccer is your life.

“It’s about coming together and supporting the game we love, supporting the team we love, supporting our nation, and just really trying to have a good time,” said AO Fresno member Ed Stewart.

Stewart said the group organizes watch parties for all U.S. soccer matches. He said there’s no rush like the one he gets when there’s a goal.

“You see that glimmer of something that might be happening on the field,” he said. “As a fan, it’s just an eruption of just joy and excitement.”

The 2019 world cup champs set a number of records this year, including most world cup wins.

Danielle Kitahara is a lifelong soccer fan, having turned from a player into a coach.

“We planned this and we set our alarms, we were so stoked to come out this morning,” Kitahara said.

She describes the sport as her home away from home, especially since the sport lead her to some of her closest friends.

“We all played since we were really little and in college together. It’s really nice to get together and all of us have that same passion,” Kitahara said.

Fun fact about the team’s co-captain Megan Rapinoe: she’s a Californian! She hails from Redding and her family is still there.

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