This summer’s World Cup grabbed the attention of people from all over the world, but no group of people probably latched onto the World Cup more emotionally than the England supporters.
When England made their run through the group and bracket stages of the World Cup, numerous clips were posted on social media of pubs or mass crowds in England celebrating the goals and victories. As England kept winning, the phrase, "It’s coming home" developed, which rallied the England fans even more and created crazier celebrations.
The United States did not have that atmosphere since its team failed to qualify for the World Cup, but one of Kentucky women’s soccer’s own was in England this summer to experience the chaos in her home country.
“There was a lot of positive energy at home, like everyone was happy, no on has gotten behind England the way they did this summer,” Hollie Olding said. “Everyone was in the pubs watching, the streets were packed.”
Olding, a sophomore midfield from London, England, was mostly at an England Soccer Camp at the team’s national headquarters during the country’s run to the semifinals.
Olding, as well as England fans all over the world, was having the highlight of her summer while England advanced to the semifinals, but after that, it was a different story.
“When we lost, the whole mood was just like really sad and no one spoke to each other,” Olding said. “I think the whole country felt the hit, not just the men. Before when England would get knocked out, you’re like, ‘It’s fine,’ but when I was at that camp, we all definitely felt it.”
Olding tried to avoid thinking about the loss, but that was difficult to do thanks to her teammates at Kentucky.
In the team’s group chat, they talked a lot about the World Cup while it was going on, and after England’s semifinal loss, they made sure Olding knew the result of the game.
“The joke was ‘it’s coming home,’ and we genuinely did think that time it was coming home, I did,” Olding said. “So in the group chat, when we lost, everyone was like, ‘ahahaha, it’s not coming home’ and I’m like, ‘guys, you should be supporting England, I’m on your team.’”
In the following days after the loss to Croatia, the country of England had a hard time coping with the elimination from the tournament, but in the back of their minds, they had a feeling of pride for what their country was able to accomplish.
“When we all woke up the next morning when I was at camp, everyone was kind of sad and the mood wasn’t very nice, but the country was so proud that we actually got out of our group stage because we normally don’t do that,” Olding said.
One thing that will always be remembered from England’s run through the World Cup is the way the country united to support the team. Everyone saw the celebrations on social media, but Olding was there in person to feel the energy and support that was generated from the team’s success.
Olding said she believes that that same type of feeling can be recreated in Lexington; people just have to believe the same way people in England believed that it's coming home.
“You could be anywhere in any environment, it could be here [in Lexington], as long as the energy is good here, we’re going to train well, if the energy is good, we are going to play well,” Olding said. “Wherever you are, I think if the energy and the mindset is positive, whatever you do, it’s going to be good.”