The lunch may have been Italian, but all thoughts were French as the UT Tyler women’ soccer team was feted with a community send-off on Sunday.
The Patriots, who are set to travel to France, ate pizza and watched the USA women’s national soccer team on TV as fans and supporters chatted and wished the team good luck during a gathering at the Republic Icehouse in Tyler.
The team watched Team USA defeat Chile 3-0 in Paris and clinch a spot in the second round of the FIFA World Cup.
UT Tyler soccer coach Stefani Webb and her Patriots leave for Europe on June 21 to spend a week, play three international friendlies and take in a couple of World Cup matches.
Webb said the trip to Paris doubles as a learning experience for student-athletics. Some 27 soccer players and nine coaches and support staff will be going to France.
The itinerary also includes stops at some of the world’s most famous landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and Omaha Beach.
When arriving June 22, the team will have a training session that afternoon before meeting an international team on June 23. They will also have matches on June 25 and 26.
After their morning friendly on June 23, the Patriots will take a cruise along the Seine. On June 24, the group will visit the Eiffel Tower. On June 25, the group will have some free time to explore Paris. On June 26 the group will visit the Catacombs and The Louvre.
The following day, they will have a city tour and will visit the 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral and the Arc de Triomphe. After the city tour, the group will visit the Latin Quarter.
Along with visiting the City of Light, the Patriots will get to take in two World Cup matches, the eighth women’s FIFA competition.
The USA women’s national team is defending their title and will try to become a four-time champion. If the USA squad wins their Group F, the Patriots will get to watch the Americans in Paris (actually northeast of Paris in Reims) on June 24. The Americans need to defeat or tie Sweden on Thursday to clinch the top spot. The match on June 24 is at Stade Auguste Delaune. That match will be played between the runner-up of Group B (China, Germany, South Africa or Spain) and the top team in Group F (USA or Sweden).
The second Women’s World Cup match the Patriots will attend is on June 27 in Le Havre.
The team is scheduled to return to Texas on June 28.