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Sammy Linebaugh reporting This is a long anticipated day for Utah's up and coming girls soccer players..
The U-S Women's National Team turned up on the U of U campus this afternoon for the first day of practice before Saturday's matchup against Ireland.
News Specialist Sammy Linebaugh joins us live with more on the big game.
We're talking about the top 20 women soccer players in the United States -- plucked from the national women's soccer league, or WUSA.
They'll take on the best of Ireland's national team at Rice Eccles Stadium Saturday night...and already more than 12-thousand tickets have sold for that game.
Now, you see practice here on campus today.. most players have arrived with at least one notable exception -- Mia Hamm is not here yet -- she'll be coming, we're told, on Friday.
But for hundreds of fans who came out to catch a glimpse of the team, there was plenty of top level soccer to see.
"WHAT DO YOU THINK? "WOW, I AM EXCITED THAT THEY CAME TO UTAH."
"WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR LIKE A MONTH."
Kristine Lilly, U.S. Women's National Team: "WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CROWD OUT HERE TODAY? IT'S GREAT. THIS IS MY FIRST TIME OUT HERE SO IT'S NICE TO HAVE A NICE WELCOME THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE."
Brandi Chastain, U.S. Women's National Team: "THE ONE MESSAGE I GUESS I HAVE TO GIVE TO THEM IS TO HAVE FUN, BECAUSE WHEN YOU HAVE FUN YOU'RE GONNA BE MORE CREATIVE, YOU'RE GONNA ENJOY YOURSELF AND ULTIMATELY YOU'LL GET A CHANCE TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR BEST FRIENDS, AND I'M VERY LUCKY."
Brandi Chastain there, of course, earned instant fame in 1999 during the final world cup match against china...when she put away the winning goal in an overtime shoot out.
Forgetting her shirt for a minute.
A lot of the players talked today about the change in venue of the upcoming world cup this fall -- that tournament, of course, was moved from China to the United States because of the SARS outbreak.
The team says having a home field advantage is huge--
If today's crowd for practice was any indication of the turnout for Saturday, then the team should expect a great crowd. 12-thousand tickets have already been sold.
Tickets ranging in price levels from $16 to $37 are on sale now at Ticketmaster.com by phone at 801-325-SEAT (7328), at all Ticketmaster outlets (including Fred Meyer and Graywhale CD Exchange) and at the Rice-Eccles Stadium Box Office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.