Thousands of soccer fans pack MAPFRE stadium for USWNT matchup

Fans showed their American pride at MAPFRE stadium, Thursday, as the U. S. Women's Soccer team played Sweden (WBNS - 10TV)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The defending World Cup champs, the U.S. women's national soccer team played in Columbus on Thursday, and fans loved every minute of it.

It marked the ninth time the team called Columbus its home.

"It means a lot," Kevin Glenn said. "I know U.S. Soccer considers [Columbus] an unofficial home turf for both men and women, but for them to take the tour through here it means a lot to us."

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Fans, like Glenn, showed up hours before the gates opened to tailgate in close to freezing temperatures and get ready for the international friendly match between the USA and Sweden.

"I think it's really exciting," Catherine Meese said. "It puts Columbus on the map."

10-year-old Charlie Burgess was also at MAPFRE Stadium early, kicking her soccer ball with her dad. For her, soccer is a lifelong love.

Samantha Johnson, like Burgess, looks up to these star women players.

"I definitely like seeing grounds being broken like feminism and women's sports," Johnson said.

Fans say it's a truth; having the national team in Columbus has a direct impact on growing the Columbus soccer brand.

"This is awesome," Tom Williams said. "With the new [Crew] stadium and everything, this is just tremendous for Columbus."

The United States defeated Sweden with a final score of 3-2.