MANCHESTER, England – Abby Wambach became the first non-British woman to score a goal at Old Trafford. She and her teammates celebrated by coercing Hope Solo to get on the ground and do “the worm.”
There were other such moments unfamiliar to the venerable home of Manchester United on Tuesday, when chants of “U-S-A!” echoed for the Americans’ 1-0 win over North Korea in front of 29,522 fans – easily the largest crowd to occupy the familiar red seats for a women’s game.
“The worm at Old Trafford! Are you kidding me?” Solo said.
The victory gave the U.S. team first place in its group with three wins in three games, the first time the Americans have swept their group opponents in Olympic play. They were already assured a berth in the next round entering the game, and they’ll now move on to Newcastle for a quarterfinal match on Friday against New Zealand.
Although claiming to be a reluctant participant, Solo and captain Christie Rampone flopped to the ground after Wambach’s goal in the 25th minute. The other nine players joined hands, wriggled their arms like a giant worm and pointed to the pair of players doing the funky dance move from the 1970s and ’80s.
“Hope doesn’t get involved in the celebrations very often,” Wambach said. “And so we wanted to get her involved, and she said the worm is one of the things that she can contribute, so we kind of planned it out before the game. Thankfully, we got the goal so that we could actually display it.”
Solo could probably pick any dance she wanted, having appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” last year. Wambach said the celebration was a late birthday present for the goalkeeper, who turned 31 on Monday, but it also served to reinforce team camaraderie after Solo’s recent Twitter rant that prompted a meeting with the coach and captains.
“I think that Hope prefers the wins and the shutouts as birthday presents,” Wambach said. “But it was great to get her involved because it makes us feel what the game is about. It’s about fun. “
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