Driving north on Interstate 29 just over a week ago, I could sense spirits rising. I zoomed through North Dakota, keeping pace with a car that sported Minnesota plates — and a back end stuffed with a mishmash of luggage, soccer balls and red, white and blue regalia.
Another Minnesota car passed with the Stars and Stripes plastered to its window. I was not yet at the border (where my weekday wait was a mere 20 minutes; weekend travelers endured waits of up to three hours), but already it was clear that Minnesotans were flocking to the Women’s World Cup in Winnipeg, Manitoba, taking advantage of a rare occasion when that world championship was being played out just north of the border.
The competition takes place every four years. This year, 24 teams match up in six cities across Canada, culminating in a championship game July 5 in Vancouver.
For Minnesotans, early June in Winnipeg offered the best chance to see the U.S. team, from stalwart Abby Wambach to breakout star Sydney Leroux. The U.S. team played June 8 and 12 in the Manitoba city. So we went, including girls in red-white-and-blue face paint and men in spangled suits.
We asked our readers to share fan photos. Here are a select few, representing the joy that was game day.