By Kelly Ward | Managing Editor

Before the U.S. women’s national team put on a scoring clinic against Japan in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final Sunday evening, the Alabama Soccer Stadium opened its doors to families and fans for the opportunity to kick the ball around on the field.

When the game started, some children kept playing, but most in attendance turned their attention to the screen to see the USWNT claim its third World Cup title and its first since 1999.

First-year head coach Wes Hart introduced the program’s new booster club, The Crimson Assist. The booster club was started to help the student-athletes on the team achieve their athletic and 
academic goals.

The event allowed Hart to promote the team, which averages less than 1,000 people at home matches.

“The biggest goal for me is No. 1 win games and I think people want to follow winners,” Hart said. “If we start winning games, I think people will latch on and then the other thing I wanted to do was try to connect with the community.”

Part of making a connection was hosting an event where people could watch a soccer game on the screen and have fun with their families. Players and coaches were in attendance and assisted participants through drills.

“It’s awesome to just have all of our fans out here because they’re huge for us and just a great support system for us to have,” senior goalkeeper Emily Rusk said. “It’s great to be able to reach out and connect with them doing events like this.”

The event closed out the holiday weekend, and Hart wasn’t sure how many 
people would show up.

“I thought it could be anywhere from five people — my family — to I don’t know a thousand people or something, but I’m really pleased with the turnout,” Hart said.

Around 150 people were in attendance and most stuck around for the game after much of the afternoon was spent running obstacles, scrimmaging, and practicing dribbling, among others.

Alabama starts its season Aug. 13 at Vanderbilt and opens at home Aug. 23 against Troy. The Crimson Tide has 10 home games this year.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports