USA vs. Portugal at the Women World Cup 2023 : A Soccer Celebration in Artesia

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New Zealand’s AUCKLAND Women World Cup —  Two famous pictures may be found at the D.E.S. Portuguese Hall in Artesia close to the bar.

about DES hall

.One shows a young Cristiano Ronaldo sprinting toward the camera while donning the red No. 17 jersey of the Portuguese national team. The other is a woman who is pumping her first after scoring in the 2018 U-20 Women World Cup while wearing a pink headband and a blue American uniform. Savannah DeMelo is that person.

The most prolific scorer in soccer history, Ronaldo has won five Ballon d’Or honors, three world player of the year accolades, a European title, and five World Cups as a starter. With the senior national team of the United States, DeMelo has made two appearances abroad.

Women World Cup

Which one do you suppose the people of Artesia are most proud of?

Roger Silveira, a coach with Artesia D.E.S. Futebol Clube, a team that competes in the National Independent Soccer Association’s third division, observed that there appeared to be greater excitement and anticipation for Savannah to succeed based on attendance and the mood at the sports bar.

Tuesday’s match between DeMelo and the United States and Portugal, which is basically an elimination match in the women’s World Cup, might put that to the test. The U.S. advances to the knockout round with a win or a draw, while Portugal is eliminated. The Americans would be eliminated from the tournament for the first time in the group stage if Portugal were to win.

Silveira noted that there has been discussion about keeping the bar open for breakfast. Kickoff is at midnight.

Women World Cup

DeMelo in Women World Cup

All of this did not seem feasible a few months ago. DeMelo, an All-American at USC, had never played for the senior national team, and Portugal had never advanced to a women’s World Cup. However, Portugal defeated Cameroon in February on Carole Costa’s late penalty kick to earn the 31st of 32 spots in this summer’s championship. DeMelo was selected for the American squad four months later, making history as the first woman to reach the roster without ever having participated in a team game in 20 years.

Her maiden appearance was as a starter against Vietnam in the Women World Cup opening.

Four years ago, it was debatable whether DeMelo, a 25-year-old midfielder from Bellflower, would still be playing soccer, much less representing his country in a World Cup. DeMelo tore her Achilles tendon during USC’s final practice of the spring 2019 semester. She claimed that the pop resembled a gunshot. Her junior season was ended, along with possibly her career.

DeMelo, though, used the setback as motivation to advance.

It only made me more eager to return, not just as the same player, but much better, she said. I suppose I did it, and I don’t think I would have truly believed you if you had told me then that I would be better than before I was harmed. In a tone of immense pride, the speaker exclaims.

DeMelo, who also holds a master’s degree in public health, graduated from USC with a nursing degree and was selected by Racing Louisville with the fourth choice in the 2022 NWSL draft. None of that was also intended to occur. Even though her father Robert instructs soccer in the United States and played soccer for 20 years in his native Portugal, he never forced any of his three daughters to participate. In fact, he did the opposite and pushed them away.

My parents really wanted me to succeed in everything, DeMelo alleged. “Soccer was my favorite sport, but my parents were very concerned that I lead a balanced life. I like playing basketball and volleyball. I wasn’t really that good.

She claimed Ronaldo was worshipped as a god in her home. At the D.E.S. hall, DeMelo’s portrait now hangs next to his.

Women World Cup

After Savannah made that decision, her father started training her and her two younger sisters, Skylar, who plays for her father at Beach FC, and Makayla, who plays for Racing Louisville’s USL W League squad.

Robert used to text me asking if he could use part of the field to train Savannah years ago, probably 10 years ago now, when I was coaching our men’s Artesia team, said Silveira, 49. He would take down the huge, heavy goal that we had built ourselves out of metal so Savannah could try to score. During one of those trainings, I recalled telling him, “For all that work, she better go to the top.” And indeed, she did.

DeMelo may have been depicted in that D.E.S. hall portrait sporting a red Portugal kit rather than an American blue one in a different set of circumstances. She was qualified to play for her father’s nation because she was a dual citizen, which would have put her on the opposing side in Tuesday game.

She said, “I’ve always had the choice. But playing for the United States has essentially always been an ambition of mine. My allegiance to the US has never wavered.

Her father’s heart will also be present on Tuesday.

DeMelo stated, “My dad is definitely rooting for the United States.” “I’m not going to even ask him.”

Furthermore, if the Americans triumph, her father might end up having unknowingly assisted in Portugal’s downfall. DeMelo doesn’t speak Portuguese well, but she has heard her parents talk in it enough at home that she can understand them. Therefore, everything spoken by the Portuguese players on Tuesday night may be used against them and will.

DeMelo declared, “I’ll listen without a doubt.”

Although it actually doesn’t matter who wins, Silveira anticipates their attendance at the D.E.S. Portuguese Hall in Artesia. The sizable Portuguese community in southeast Los Angeles County will have a player of their own to support in the knockout rounds if the United States and DeMelo succeed in Women World Cup. Portugal will have a whole team to support if they triumph.

Whatever happens, we win, Silveira declared.

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