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Friends again? After World Cup, your rival is your WPS teammate

July 29, 2011 – 12:29 PM

By Megan Wood

Nearly two weeks after an intense World Cup tournament and a riveting US-Japan final that captured international attention, Women’s Professional Soccer has settled back into its season.

On Wednesday, the Boston Breakers and the Philadelphia Independence met at Harvard Stadium for a league match in front of over 3,000 fans. Play, in other words, was back to “normal.” But weren’t players physically and emotionally drained from the drama of the tournament? And how do you embrace as teammates players you battled so fiercely in Germany?

Like all WPS teams, the Boston Breakers’ roster boasts international players, including Aya Sameshima from Japan and Rachel Buehler of the US National Team. What did I see on Wednesday night? Buehler and and Sameshima slapped hands and chatted throughout the game. But the experience has clearly left a powerful mark on both.

FairGameNews spoke with Sameshima and Buehler about play and emotions post World Cup 2011.

 

FGN: How do you transition from the intense rivalry of the World Cup competition to being teammates again?

RB: I really don’t think it’s that much different—we play each other all the time in the league so we are used to it. We really care about each other and I’m always asking them how they’re doing and if they’re feeling okay.

AS: I think it is great playing with these women. Yes, Japan won the World Cup, but I don’t think our team plays at the level of the U.S. yet. I love to come here and learn and play with some of the best and with the Breakers I get to do that.

 

FGN: What is if like to be back on the field after the World Cup?

RB: Obviously some of us are still incredibly emotional from the rollercoaster of the tournament, but I think this gives us a good opportunity to focus on something else and kind of get over it. This gives us the structure we need so we don’t constantly dwell on the disappointment of the loss.

AS: It’s unreal. I still can’t believe we won and I am so proud. It feels great to be out here playing again with women that I really like.

 

FGN: Do you think your big win changed the way your country views women’s sports?

AS: I’m not sure the effect it’s had on women’s sports in general yet, but the soccer team is definitely attracting more attention and interest. It was a big deal and I think it will bring big change to women’s soccer in Japan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top: Aya Sameshima; bottom: Rachel Buehler

Photo: David Silverman/DSPics.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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