Locals hold Women's World Cup viewing parties

FRESNO, Calif.

"I love soccer and I wanted to see the U.S. beat France," said 12-year-old Taylor Cazares.

For local standout Cal Odyssey players like Elise Krieghoff of Buchanan high school, the Women's World Cup is more than just a tournament. It's an opportunity.

"I feel that maybe if I put in a lot of hard work and I was really motivated, I could be there," said Krieghoff. "Maybe that could be me in a few years."

Fresno State recruit Samantha Brechmann of Clovis North agrees.

"It makes me want to work harder every day at practice," said Brechmann, "and push through. Like this could happen to me."

The high school girls aren't alone. The Women's World Cup has taught has some of the youngest soccer players around, some valuable lessons in the game, and in life.

"It's going to take hard work and I'll need to play as hard as I can always," said nine-year-old Emily Berg. "And keep practicing."

Cal Odyssey club director Jeremy Shultz says the publicity created by the tournament has inspired many of his players to dream big.

"The girls' game continues to flourish," said Schultz. "The inspiration of the World Cup always rejuvenates that hope inside them as young players."

And with the U.S. advancing to Sunday's final, it's a safe bet these girls won't be watching that game alone.

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