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FRANKFURT, Germany — Prior to Sunday night’s World Cup championship game, the mood was light and upbeat at an informal gathering at the U.S. Consular General’s residency in Frankfurt.

Hope was definitely in the air against Japan, the other finalist.

“We can’t talk shutout before the game, because Hope says that’s bad luck,” said Susan Karnesky, U.S. goaltender Hope Solo’s aunt. “I’m hoping it’ll be 3-0, but I think we’ll win 2-1.”

Joining Karnesky and her brother Frank Shaw were other family and friends of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team. They and a small group of U.S. Marines were invited to the residency to mingle with the official U.S. presidential delegation, led by Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip D. Murphy and Chelsea Clinton.

The event was a quick and quaint affair. There were drinks, finger food and brief remarks about Sunday night’s title match between the United States and Japan.

“This is this generation’s moment,” Murphy said.

Clinton said her family is crazy about soccer and called it an honor to represent her country.

“In my family, we really believe life is a team sport,” Clinton said.

She, Murphy and Biden spoke of how the U.S. team exemplifies the finer aspects of the nation they represent. One example, according to Biden, was the 1972 passage of Title IX, an amendment to Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law essentially opened the door to greater participation in sports for young women. Biden made note of “the power of sports to change lives.”

And then the delegation resumed mingling with family and friends of the team, and with the seven young Marines who were dressed in civilian clothes. The Marines are members of the security detachment assigned to the consulate.

“We were told he was going to be here,” said Cpl. Daniel Bearden, referring to Vice President Biden. “But it’s free food. I never turned down free food.”

Bearden, 21, of Albuquerque, N.M., was heading back to his post after the gathering to don his uniform and return to his guard post.

However, three of his colleagues, Sgts. Quincy Palou, Joseph Stevens and Colleen Welsh had tickets for the game. Welsh, 25, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., had the good fortune last year of being assigned to Pretoria, South Africa, where she attended two World Cup games for the men.

“You can’t ask for a better game, U.S. versus Japan,” she said of Sunday’s title game.

Scott Sauerbrunn, whose daughter Becky started in the semifinal game against Brazil, took the opportunity to thank U.S. servicemembers.

“Tell them the people of St. Louis all support them,” the Missouri resident said. “They are our heroes.”

doughertyk@estripes.osd.mil


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