GLASGOW, Scotland- The U.S. women's soccer team won't have to wait much longer to defend their 2008 gold medal.
Although the London Olympics opening ceremony isn't until Friday, the U.S. team opens group play against France at noon ET Wednesday in Glasgow.
It's the first of two games in Scotland for the women, who then will travel to Manchester to play North Korea. Organizers here are expecting a crowd upwards of 30,000, which would be the largest audience to ever watch a women's soccer game in Scotland. Hampden Park's stadium capacity is 52,000.
American defender Christie Rampone will be playing in her ancestral homeland, home of her great-grandfather.
"It feels great," she told reporters. "I've had such an amazing welcome here in Scotland. They really have taken me under their wing as one of their own, and it's been great having my great-grandfather play here for ten years and kind of getting a little bit more of the history."
Fans of the U.S. team featuring Hope Solo and Alex Morgan were pumped to help kick off the Games. Sisters Hannah and Lauren Northridge of Nottingham rode seven hours on a train from England and were dressed in striped U.S. jerseys to see the team take on France. The pair fell in love with the U.S. team during the 2011 World Cup.
Says Hannah: "We're just fans of good football, and the U.S. play the best. It's hard to deny that."
Among the U.S. contingent were two brothers and their wives from Arizona, who flew to London and rode the train to catch the first match. They've had plans to see the first U.S. women's group match for two years and bought tickets as soon as they became available.
"We love it," says Dan Scott of San Tan Valley. "When we saw it was in Scotland we were very excited. No disappointment for us that it's here and not in London."