On Thursday, the U.S. Women’s National Team plays Mexico in a friendly at the newly minted TIAA Bank Field. It’s the third time that the U.S. women have played in Jacksonville.
On Monday, the women practiced at UNF. The No. 1 ranked team in the world will face an improving Mexico team ranked 25th in the world. Jacksonville has become one of the cities in heavy rotation for U.S. Soccer. Both the men’s team and the women’s team have made multiple visits to Jacksonville over the last decade.
“I remember the atmosphere being really great. I can’t believe it has been five years,” said center back Becky Sauerbrunn. “We’re really looking forward to it. This is beautiful weather. We’ve all been in kind of cold climates so it’s nice to be down here in Florida. We’re looking forward to a really great match against Mexico.”
The U.S. has won three matches and played to one draw this year, including a 1-0 victory over England in their last match on March 7 in Orlando to clinch the SheBelieves Cup.
“I think just good vibes all around, great weather,” said midfielder Emily Sonnett, who was not on the team five years ago when the USWNT last played in Jacksonville. “It’s really good to get back in Florida.”
In less than six months, the qualifiers start for the World Cup. It is likely that the U.S. will face Mexico at some stage of qualifying, so that added component could impact the way the teams approach Thursday’s match.
“In terms of team, building off a great She Believes tournament and playing a familiar face that we’ll probably see in CONCACAF qualifying, I think its just playing good soccer, sticking to the game plan and seeing how the girls can mesh together,” Sonnettt said.