More than 300 spectators gathered to watch the final games of the 13th Conseil International Du Sport Militaire (CISM) Women’s Soccer World Cup on Friday at Union Stadium in Mead.
Fans braved the heat to watch the 90-minute matches, shading themselves under umbrellas and baseball caps. After a strong showing for the bronze medal match at noon, team USA lost 3-0 to South Korea.
Doyle Inman, enjoying his third time watching team USA this week, wasn’t disappointed with his country’s performance.
“For a team that just got together, I think they’re doing really well,” he said.
Equally proud were coaches Derrick Weyand and Marci Walton. Despite finishing fourth, they were happy to be working with the team.
“This team is about empowering elite women,” Weyand said.
For three-time team USA center back player and Air Force Captain Jennifer Gillette, the games were an opportunity to show pride in her country and her team.
“I felt great,” she said. “Playing with USA on your jersey, that’s as good as it gets.”
Gillette was also glad to be back in the Inland Northwest. She was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, the tournament’s host, for training at the beginning of her career as a fighter pilot.
“I love it out here,” she said.
After the bronze medal game at noon, Cameroon and France took the field in the championship game. After an early goal from Cameroon’s Confidence Buh, France scored two goals in the second half to earn first place.
Rachel Corboz, who grew up playing soccer, was pleased to help bring home gold for her country.
“We have really good team cohesion, and I think that shows on the field,” she said.
Corboz also enjoyed the opportunity to make friends from new countries.
“We’ve gotten to know quite a few teams, especially South Korea,” she said. “They’re very nice, goofy girls.”
The games offered every team an opportunity to bond, regardless of the competition. Team Ireland, which finished eighth after playing the Netherlands at 9 a.m., developed a friendship with team USA during the tournament.
“We went out and had dinner with team USA the other night,” center back Shannon Thomas said. “We’ve been having a great time.”
Ireland players enjoyed their time in Spokane.
“It’s been so unreal, everyone’s so nice and welcoming,” Thomas said.
That sentiment was shared by team USA’s coach Walton.
“Hosting it here in Spokane has been such an incredible venue,” she said. “It’s been beautiful.”
Ariana Wilkinson, Second Lieutenant at Fairchild, loved hosting the games on her home turf.
“I’ve always loved soccer,” she said. “It’s amazing to be able to do this for the community.”
Next year, the teams have the chance to medal at the 14th championships in Holland. Gillette can’t wait to do it all over again.
“Every time we get to play with this group of women, it’s awesome,” she said. “No matter the result.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.