Our third day in Doha started with a trip to the beautiful new Al Bayt Stadium built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It is a tremendous facility. The attention to every detail in providing the optimal fan and player experience is remarkable. We toured all levels of the stadium, the locker rooms and the pitch. Seeing this venue is a must for any attendee of the World Cup. We were joined on the tour by our hosts from the Qatar Embassy to the USA, staff from the US Embassy to Qatar and other dignitaries.
In the afternoon, Qatar held their event to reveal the logo for the 2021 Qatar Year of Culture with the United States. The focal point of the event was a 5 v 5 friendly match that mixed our players with the Qatar Women’s National Team Players. The event was supported by ExxonMobil, Qatar Museums, Qatar Football Association, Qatar Olympic Committee and the Qatar Foundation.
The event started with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra playing the music of renowned Qatari musician, composer, songwriter and symphonic artist Dana al Fardan. Following this introduction, leaders from Qatar, the France Ambassador to Qatar Frank Gellet, US Ambassador to Qatar Greta Holtz and via video His Excellency Ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani all expressed their sentiments regarding the revealing of the logo for the 2021 Qatar Year of Culture with the USA. It should be noted that this was the first time that women’s sports was the prominent focal point of the annual logo reveal event. Following the logo reveal the first half of the friendly match started.
At halftime, the US Air Force Central Band based in Qatar, did a fabulous job rocking the house with several songs including the Martina McBride hit, This One’s For The Girls. After the match was completed, we gave Washington Spirit jerseys to the Qatar Women’s National Team and others in attendance. Following the event, Dana al Fardan hosted dinner at her beautiful home.
Day 4 started with a tour of the Aspire Academy in Doha. Aspire is a facility with four indoor multi-purpose arena venues, an indoor track, an indoor football pitch and football skills training area, swimming and more. It is used by both kids and clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain, Barcelona and others.
Following the tour of Aspire, we toured the Aspetar Sports Medicine Hospital. There we were shown the facilities for training and rehabilitation, physical therapy, imaging, athlete assessment, surgery, dental, sports psychology and much more. One of the most interesting parts of the facility are the Altitude Rooms. In these rooms, the climate can be controlled to simulate high altitudes to enable athletes to prepare for competitions in mountains. Finally, we saw the Football Virtual Reality Center. Be on the lookout for the video of Paige Nielsen doing her thing in VR.
After lunch, we toured the National Museum of Qatar. This tour started with an interactive event where Aubrey, Tori, Paige, Sam and Dorian were asked questions about various aspects of being a female professional athlete. We then toured the Museum and learned about some of the history of Qatar.
Our final event of the day was a meeting with executives from beIN Sports and a tour of their facilities. We learned during this tour that Qatar was selected as the host of the 2030 Asian Games.
So there is your update for Days 3 and 4. As you can see, our days have been filled with unique and awesome experiences. The event revealing the logo of the 2021 Qatar Year of Culture with the USA was a great day for advancing female sports in Qatar, which is an important element of this journey to Doha. Be on the lookout for some incredible words from a seven-year-old Qatari girl that I befriended during the event.
All the best.