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USWNT fathers celebrate special day at World Cup match in Paris

Ten U.S. players’ fathers celebrate their special day at Parc des Princes in Paris, watching daughters play in the World Cup.

Fathers of U.S. women's national team players celebrate Father's Day at the World Cup. From left to right in the back, Ken Krieger, Mike Morgan, Jeff Heath, Andrew Dahlkemper, Mark Horan, Kody Press, Jim Rapinoe. Front row, Scott Sauerbrunn and Horace Pugh. June 16, 2019. (Alicia DelGallo/Pro Soccer USA)

PARIS — Bob Mewis remembers when his daughter was younger and won the Massachusetts state soccer final on Father’s Day. He thought that was the greatest thing in the world. 

Mewis never imagined then where he would be spending his 2019 Father’s Day.

“I thought that was fantastic. Now look at where I am. I’m at a World Cup in France,” said Mewis, father of United States women’s national team player Samantha Mewis. “It’s just kind of surreal, because she’s been playing soccer since she’s been 6 years old. So to see her playing at the highest level, it really, it’s just one of those things where you just want to pinch yourself to make sure you’re awake.”

Mewis was one of 10 players’ fathers who traveled with friends and family to watch the U.S. play Chile during its second match of the 2019 Women’s World Cup at Parc des Princes stadium Sunday.

Tobin Heath’s dad got a video from her at breakfast saying happy Father’s Day. 

Alex Morgan’s father received a Facetime call.

They both beamed with pride as they lined up for a pre-game picture with the other fathers at the stadium. 

US women’s national team dads celebrate Father’s Day in Paris. From left to right, back row, Ken Krieger, Mike Morgan, Jeff Heath, Andrew Dahlkemper, Mark Horan, Kody Press, Jim Rapinoe. Front row, Scott Sauerbrunn, Horace Pugh. (Alicia DelGallo/Pro Soccer USA)

“I mean, I think as a father we want to stand more in the background and let them shine,” Michael Morgan said. “This is amazing. What could you want more, ya know? You see your little girl grow up and attend something like this, it’s fantastic. And with family and friends that have come all this way, it’s even better.”

Morgan said he’s been exploring Paris between games. He’s done a food tour and is heading to a small commune called Chantilly on Monday. He’s also been able to spend some time with Alex, sneaking in a coffee date and a visit to the Fox broadcast studio when his daughter made an appearance. 

“I think this is my first Father’s Day at a World Cup, especially on a game day. So, we’re expecting, ya know, we’ll probably get called out on the field, everyone will say our names to stand up, ya know?” he said joking. “No, no, no. We’re on the low.”

Like Morgan, Jeffrey Heath said he likes to watch and support quietly, though he did joke that he was “waiting for Tobin to come over and make me breakfast” the morning of the match.

“Didn’t happen,” Heath said with a smirk. “There was a video. She was talking to somebody else at breakfast and held it up and said, ‘Hi dad, happy Father’s Day.'”

Mewis likes to remain out of the spotlight, too, but he became a social media star after a video circulated on Twitter of him celebrating one of his daughter’s two goals in the opening U.S. match against Thailand.

“I just can’t believe it at times,” Mewis said. “Seeing her score her first goal, there was so much tension for us watching, and every time she touched the ball we were wondering, ‘Is this a moment for her?'”

The other fathers in attendance included Ken Krieger, Andrew Dahlkemper, Mark Horan, Kody Press, Jim Rapinoe, Scott Sauerbrunn and Horace Pugh. 

Between the two U.S. games played so far, all of them have a chance to see their daughters have a World Cup moment because coach Jill Ellis made seven changes to the lineup that took down Thailand 13-0 last week. 

They all agreed it doesn’t matter who starts, though.

“Just hope everyone plays well, and no injuries,” Heath said. “It’s all about the team.”

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