Female Soccer Stars Show Off

They captured American hearts last summer with a World Cup soccer championship and now they are taking a victory lap around America in a 12-city tour.

And Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm and Carla Overbeck from the U.S. Women's National Team visit The Early Show to talk about it.

The Toys 'R' Us Victory Tour is a series of 12 indoor soccer exhibitions featuring 19 players from the championship team that captured the World Cup title.

With four games, two wins and two losses under its belt already in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago, America's team will play in Philadelphia Saturday and follow that with a Sunday match at the New Jersey Meadowlands. CBS will air an hour-long special on the Victory Tour Sunday, Nov. 21.

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The matches in this tour have a much different look than those of this last summer - or from any traditional outdoor soccer match for that matter.

Each match is played in the traditional indoor style - six players (five field players and one goalie) playing four quarters on an artificial turf surface with hockey-style dasher boards of plexiglass around the field of play.

The U.S. Women's National Team will play every game against the World All-Star Team, featuring a collection of women from several countries, many of whom played in the 1999 World Cup.

"What we wanted to do was capture the moment," says Hamm. "There were a lot of people [who] didn't get a chance to go to the games. They watched them on TV. Through this victory tour, we were able to go to cities we weren't able to reach during the World Cup."

In the tranquility of their homes and private lives, the hoopla of the soccer world seems far away to many of the players.

"When you're at your home, you forget about what you have accomplished with a team," says Overbeck. "We go out and do these appearances. We play an indoor game, and it's just amazing how many people are so excited about the tournament."

The team is taking flak from some quarters for playing indoor games. But women enjoy the feeling of playing in such closed quarters, Foudy says.

"It's so intimate with the fans," she explains. "You're constantly having interaction with themÂ….We say, come to a game and see the difference. It's so much fun. The fans love it."

These champs are not afraid of losing the tournament, although they'd naturally prefer to win.

"We're all competitive. We love to win," says Hamm. "But [the victory tour] is more about the celebration aspect and connecting with the fans, as oposed to the level of soccer."

When the tour is over, will it be frustrating for the women to think that there are no other games on the agenda?

"Once this tour is over, we'll start to prepare for the Olympics, starting in January," Overbeck says. "Hopefully, after that, there will be a women's professional league that we can play in a couple years."

Foudy chimes in: "Or else I'm out of a job! We all need jobs, by the way. We're filling out our resumes."

Nov. 13Philadelphia, Pa.First Union Spectrum
Nov. 14East Rutherford, N.J.Continental Arena
Nov. 20Washington, D.C.MCI Center
Nov. 21Raleigh, N.C.Entertainment Sports Arena
Dec. 9Anaheim, Calif.Arrowhead Pond
Dec. 11San Jose, Calif.San Jose Arena
Dec. 12Tacoma, Wash.Tacoma Dome
Dec. 15 Portland, Ore.Rose Garden

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