U.S. women shut out noise in search of fifth gold medal


Tokyo (AP) — The US women’s national football team is in its own bubble for the Tokyo Olympics. This is not just a coronavirus limitation.

World Cup champions are good at shutting out all the external noise, including seemingly endless social media debates, television experts, and even the trash talk that accompanies being the best in the world.

“Especially players who have experienced these major tournaments will understand how to stay in the best mental headspace. Sometimes it’s segmented, focusing on one thing at a time and noise. I keep it out of ours. I like to call it a bubble, “said defender Becky Sourbrunn. “For example, fix the bubble and protect it.”

The Women’s Olympic Soccer Tournament begins on Wednesday. The United States, which is one of the world’s top teams and loves to win, will play against Sweden at Tokyo Stadium.

Americans are competing for the fifth gold medal than any other national team. They can also be the first women to win the Olympic gold medal following the World Cup title.

There is reason to believe they will do just that. The group has been undefeated for 44 games in a row, the second longest undefeated consecutive win in team history. It’s a deep team with formidable attacks: 17 players were on the World Cup team.

Christen Press has been directly involved in 37 goals in the last 37 games, scoring 16 goals and 18 assists. A shy and candid winger with purple hair, Megan Rapinoe leads the team with seven goals this year.

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naehar, who shut out nine times this year and six times, is quietly holding back.

Naeher is probably the team leader when it comes to shutting out noise. She avoided all social media during the team’s run in France two years ago, tackled crossword puzzles before the match, and relaxed before the match.

“Everything is about compartmentalization,” said Neihar, who has a soft tone.

Of course, it’s a little easier to stay focused on this tournament. Japan is in a state of emergency due to the increasing number of cases of coronavirus. As a result, participating athletes use the strict COVID-19 protocol to participate in their team or individual bubbles. And fans are not allowed.

“Going out for a walk, going out, or going out for a coffee isn’t the best setup. DF Kelly Ohera said,” It’s not available to us. ” “But after all, we’ve all been doing it for a month with the national team, so the reality of the tournament, the situation, this year’s Olympics. You just take it one step and what you can do I’ll get it done. “

The United States held a pre-tournament camp in Miyazaki before arriving in Tokyo on Friday in preparation for Sweden, the team that knocked out Americans from the 2016 Olympics in the quarterfinals.

Australia will face New Zealand in the second night at Tokyo Stadium. In tournaments held at six stadiums nationwide, 12 women’s teams will be divided into three groups.

There are two Wednesday games at Sapporo Dome. The UK will play Chile and the host country Japan will play Canada. At Miyagi Stadium, China will play Brazil and Zambia will play the Netherlands.

As a US captain, Sourbrunn is tasked with keeping her focus on her side.

“It’s a skill that everyone needs to learn, especially in these major tournaments, because it’s not easy,” Sourbrunn said of compartmentalization. “It’s stressful and noisy, so it’s really important to learn to knock it out and block it.”

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