FIFA Women’s World Cup connections to Utah

 AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND— It’s not news that Kris Severson has traveled from his home in Park City, Utah to a foreign country to work as a Venue Producer at the biggest global sporting event of the year. It is news that he’s at his first FIFA Women’s World Cup, and also that it’s his first time on the continent of Australia.

“Now I have been on every continent in the world except Antarctica,” he told TownLift.
His first match of the tournament had a sold out crowd of 18,727 fans at his Rectangular Stadium in Perth.
Severson, a former U.S. Ski Team athlete, held the same job title last summer in Qatar for the FIFA Men’s World Cup, and prior to that has worked for seven Olympic Games, both summer and winter, as well as for multiple worldwide Red Bull races. 
When off the literal and figurative field-of-play, he’s plenty busy trying to get used to dingo discussions, and looking both ways for opposite oncoming traffic before crossing the streets.
The cultural pride and presentation of any World Cup, not to mention Olympics, is the only part of the competition that isn’t a competition. Severson can appreciate that fact and simultaneously said that this tournament Down Under, thus far, hasn’t necessarily lived up to his expectation of a cultural cool-factor as much as he saw in Qatar. It’s still quite early in the event though and as such he’s keeping an open mind while enjoying the awesome Aussie environment, personally.
Professionally, this summer’s soccer is more of a well-rounded situation. He explained that he has found a high degree of knowledge-base in Australia executing large sporting events.
That could behoove the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) and the four players rostered who’s hometowns border the state of Utah:
  1. Sofia Huerta; Boise, ID, defender, 23-yrs-old, plays professionally for OL Reign in Seattle, WA
  2. Julie Ertz; Mesa AZ, midfielder, 31-yrs-old, plays professionally for Angel City FC in Los Angeles, CA
  3. Sofia Smith; Ft. Collins, CO, forward, 23-yrs-old, plays professionally for Portland Thorns FC in OR
  4. Lindsey Horan; Golden, CO, midfielder, 29-yrs-old, plays professionally for Olympique Lyonnais in France, scored the USWNT’s third goal against Vietnam on Sunday in minute 77

Between 2018 and 2020, REAL Salt Lake’s (RSL) sister team for the National Women’s Soccer League was the Royals FC. In Australia and in New Zealand, playing this month on the USWNT is Kelly O’hara. She was a Royal FC, is on her fourth World Cup Team, and is an Olympic gold medalist.

Yet another Utah connection to the 2023 FIFA  Women’s World Cup is athlete Andi Sullivan whose first CAP came in 2016 vs Switzerland at the America First Field in Sandy.

Pool play is still the name of the game however Team USA is favored to contest for it’s third consecutive tournament title. The next United States match against the Netherlands can be watched on FOX, Telemundo, and Peacock at 7 p.m. (MST) on Wednesday, July 26.

Severson gave his first-hand knowledge about last week’s first game and the forthcoming second game, “the weather was beautiful then, but a front looks to move in for a wet Wednesday game”

Someone else with first-hand knowledge of continental customs is longtime local, Park City resident Calum Clark. He’s worked for previous Olympics and is applying his ten years of global sports management at his last job with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard to his current job at the Utah Olympic Park procuring a possible bid for a 2030 0r 2034 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games. Clark was born and raised in Australia and was just there two weeks ago as he and his family often visit their extended family on a personal basis. Professionally he communicates continually with the Brisbane 2032 Summer Olympic Committee.

He told TownLift, “Australians are absolutely sports mad so this fits their passion perfectly. I’m proud of the Matildas, it was exciting to see them win against Ireland. I think it’s going to be a really successful World Cup.”

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