SportsCenter reporter Bob Holtzman has been closely following the U.S. Women’s National Team on the ground in Canada during the team’s quest to win the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. He is one of nearly a dozen ESPN reporters in Canada who have provided extensive coverage from each of the participating teams. Front Row checked in with Holtzman – who is in Montreal for the team’s semifinal match against Germany tonight – to get an idea of what the experience has been like.
What’s a typical day like for you covering the U.S. Women’s National Team during this FIFA Women’s World Cup?
The typical day covering the U.S. Women’s national day starts early. We’ve been live on SportsCenter most mornings. . . and the mornings came extra early when we were out west in Vancouver and Edmonton. The team has practice and a media session just about everyday. After that it’s generally been more live shots. There have been a number of midday breaks too, which has been a great opportunity to see some new places. Stanley Park in Vancouver has definitely been the highlight. Ottawa is sneaky scenic, too.
What are some of the ways you’re keeping up on the team?
Every time the team has allowed media to attend we’ve been there. I’ve been keeping up with the team, its news and storylines by talking with as many people as possible on and around the team. The U.S. has generally limited access to about two players per day but we ask as many questions as we can with the time we’re given. One thing I’ve learned is that head coach Jill Ellis plays it close to the vest.
What’s one of the most interesting or funny behind-the-scenes moments you’ve observed from the team?
I’m not sure I have a great behind the scenes story. What I would say is this: It seems clear watching the team practice and interact that it’s a close team. People talk about all the pressure on this team, but when I’ve watched practice I don’t see it. There are more laughs, jokes and pranks than anything else. They seem like they’re having fun.