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A Pennsylvanian's guide to the FIFA Women's World Cup

The World Cup is back! And following an exciting men’s tournament last fall, it’s the women’s time to shine.

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Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

July 28, 2023
Inside this edition: Hoofing it, Barbie cameo, (not so) easy money, big bologna, cheesesteak copy, and a Pennsylvanian's guide to the women's World Cup.
🏆 QUICK QUIZ: Follow the news this week? Prove it with the seven questions in this edition of The Great PA News Quiz: School funding appeal, public pensions, and a really big sandwich.
A Pennsylvania-centric trivia question.

Soccer star Ali Krieger is retiring from the sport and taking a new role at which of the following Pennsylvania colleges? (Hint: It's her alma mater.)

A. Temple University
B. Lafayette College
C. Penn State University
D. University of Pittsburgh 

(Keep scrolling for the answer, but don't miss all the good stuff in between. Like what you read? Forward this email to a friend.)

Our five favorite Pennsylvania stories of the week.

» One story worth reading: Hiking the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail is grueling. So a group of hikers celebrated making it halfway (more than 1,000 miles) with gallons of ice cream in Pennsylvania, via WITF.
» One person worth knowing: A touching scene in Barbie is making waves on social media as people reflect on its message, and it features an Oscar-winning costumer from Hanover, per Philly Voice. 

» One note worth spending: Founding Father Benjamin Franklin also used science to outwit counterfeiters. Popular Science reveals how a study identified his method of making his currency more distinct.

» One record worth eating: The world’s largest Lebanon bologna sandwich was unveiled in (where else?) Lebanon County this week. PennLive reports it's a 150-foot-long meal. And that's no baloney.

» One review worth reading: There's a Philadelphia-inspired cheesesteak restaurant in New Zealand. A Philadelphia Inquirer reporter covering the women's World Cup there tried it and has some notes.

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World Cup soccer. (Via Wikimedia Commons)
The World Cup is back! And following an exciting men’s tournament last fall, it’s the women’s time to shine.

The U.S. women’s team is on a quest to achieve a three-peat this summer. 

Here’s your Pennsylvania-centric guide to the home-state players and what you need to know to stay on top of the action.

How to Watch

Get ready for a hectic sleep schedule (if you’re looking to stay on top of all the games). The tournament is co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, who are both over 10 hours ahead of eastern time. You will find yourself staying up late or getting up bright and early to catch games.

All the World Cup games will be televised. Fox is showing 29 of the 64 games. All of the games can be streamed on Fox Sports

The Matchups

The tournament began July 20 and runs to Aug. 20. For the first time, the tournament features 32 teams competing to see who gets to raise the championship trophy. The teams are divided into eight groups (A-H)

The top two teams of each group advance to the round of 16. The bottom two teams of each group are eliminated. The final will be played on Aug. 20 at 6 a.m. E.T. 

The U.S.'s next match is against Portugal at 3 a.m. E.T. on Aug. 1.

The U.S. leads in championships with a whopping four.

Who to Watch

Pennsylvania is well represented on the sport’s biggest stage this year.

University of Pittsburgh’s women’s soccer head coach Randy Waldrum is leading the Nigeria women’s team. Incoming Pitt freshman Deborah Ajibola Abiodun, 19, is a midfielder for Nigeria. 

U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher is a Penn State alum. 

In fact, Penn State’s soccer program has four other alumni representing various countries: Rocky Rodríguez (Costa Rica), Marissa Sheva (Ireland), Olivia Smith (Canada), and Laura Freigang (Germany).

More PA Ties

Sofia Harrison, a 2021 Slippery Rock grad, was called up to the Philippines team. Harrison’s placement marks a milestone for the school’s soccer program, as she is the first SRU soccer alum to be picked for a World Cup.

Her team scored their first ever World Cup game victory and will play their next match Sunday against Norway.

“As the only Division II player to make a World Cup roster this year, she is representing our program and Slippery Rock University in such a remarkable way,” SRU head coach Jessica Giegucz said of Harrison.

"We are just beaming with pride for all the things she has accomplished so far and we are excited to see what comes next for her.”

Eagles fans may recognize Julie Ertz, the wife of former Eagle Zach Ertz. Julie is a midfielder for the U.S. Women's National Team.

Off the field, Philadelphia resident and soccer super fan Jessica Malone made the long haul to New Zealand. The journey is nothing new for her. She has been to the 1999 (U.S.) and 2019 (France) women’s World Cups. She also traveled to the 2018 men’s World Cup in Russia.

2026 Vision

You will have another reason to brush up on your soccer or find the nearest store for gear because Philadelphia is one of 16 cities hosting the 2026 World Cup. The last time the U.S. hosted the men’s soccer tournament was 1994. And in 1999 and 2003, the U.S. was home to the women's tournaments.

Tanisha Thomas, newsletter writer / reporter
Our favorite quote about Pennsylvania — or from a Pennsylvanian — this week.

"It’s weird, but the more novel experiences I have with birds, the more stories, the more places I visit, it’s like I’m creating new, hopeful memories that counteract moments of sadness."

— Christy Hyman talks about how bird watching in places like Pennsylvania helped her cope with the unexpected death of her son in 2020

Our favorite reader-submitted photo of the week.
An ambush of tiger lilies in Berks County, via Dennis L. Have a photo you'd like to share with the whole state? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
Orange flowers with black spots are seen blooming and drooping in a garden.
The answer to this week's Pennsylvania-centric trivia question.

C. Penn State University.

Krieger, who won two World Cups as a member of the U.S. women’s soccer team, attended Penn State from 2003 to 2006. And she's returning to take a seat on the university's powerful Board of Trustees after winning an alumni election (with more votes than seven other hopefuls) this year.

Thanks for reading PA Local. We'll see you back here next week. But first ... send us your feedback. What did you like? What didn't you like? 

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