Manitoba

Soccer fans from around the world arrive in Winnipeg to catch FIFA action

There's an energy of soccer fandom in the air as Winnipeg prepares to host a series of FIFA Women's World Cup events this week.

One team of 11 year old girls travelled from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to watch Team USA

Soccer fans kick it up in Winnipeg for FIFA Women's World Cup. 1:47

Soccer fans from around the world are making their way to Winnipeg to watch the FIFA Women's World Cup.  

One team of 11-year-old girls travelled from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to see their U.S. team take on Australia Monday night. Berit Hefti, 11, says she's looking forward to seeing the U.S. women's team in action.

"It's important to have someone to look up to if you want to do that when you're older," said Hefti who could barely contain her excitement.

"It's like a life time experience. Maybe like meeting some of the players, like Hope Solo. She's my favourite."

Hefti's soccer team the Dakota Alliances arrived in Winnipeg Sunday to play a few games before they go to Monday's game. A scrimmage was set up between her team and Winnipeg's Bonivital Soccer Club where the girls spent most of Sunday afternoon.

Hefti's coach, Dale Weiler says his players are at an impressionable age and many of them look up to professional soccer players. He said combining their own games in Winnipeg with a FIFA game, was the perfect match.

"The ability for them to come up and watch them, like 100 yards away essentially is going to be impactful for them in the future," Weiler said.

But it's not just the Alliance's who are in Winnipeg. Thousands of American fans who are part of a group called "American Outlaws" are also in the city. They are considered the largest, unofficial supporters of the U.S. Men's and Women's soccer team. 

"We're ecstatic. This is the beginning of the women's world cup run to hopefully the final in Vancouver," said American Outlaws spokesperson Daniel Wiersema.

​"We have two matches here. We've got hundreds and thousands of fans coming in here, we're really looking to explore Winnipeg and were really looking to show Winnipeg what American soccer fandem is all about." Wiersema said.

As FIFA fever continues to pick up in Winnipeg, Bars and restaurants will have extended hours until 3 a.m.

Soccer fans are still soaking in Canada's 1-0 victory over China in Saturday's FIFA Women's World Cup kick-off. 

The first game at Investors Group Field will be Sweden v.s. Nigeria at 3 p.m.
The U.S. will take on Australia at 6:30 p.m. 

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