1999 World Cup champ cheering on US with troops in Middle East


QATAR (WFLA) – “We all enjoyed the game and the excitement of the game.”

The preceding quote may be relatively tame in relation to the 13 goals scored by the U.S. national team against Thailand on Tuesday but those words came through a text message from a country in the Middle East.

The sender is traveling for the games. Her name is Danielle Fotopoulos and she is a member of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup team.

8 On Your Side’s Gabrielle Shirley interviewed her before she left the United States for the Middle East on June 9. 

“I will be going around to all of the different bases in the Middle East,” Fotopoulos told her. “I am going to Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Djibouti, and I am going to be with the troops during the games. I am going to be able to chat with them and encourage them and play with them, do clinics for the families.”

The photos Fotopoulos sent us are from a military base in Qatar. 

She told us why she decided to embark on this adventure.

“I have always wanted to travel in that area, and what is better than getting to do that and encourage our troops while the World Cup is going on? Me and three of my teammates will be doing that,” she said. 

Fotopoulos is traveling with Natasha Kai, Kylie Bivens, and Thori Staples. She has played with them and played against them over her lengthy soccer career.

She currently lives in Pasco County with her husband and their four children. She is the head women’s soccer coach at Eckerd College and you may have noticed she is representing her school by wearing a black shirt with the team mascot, “Tritons,” written on it.  

The U.S. will play Chile in their next match. You can watch that game on Sunday at noon.

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