Olympics no longer a given for US soccer women



VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — It’s no longer a ho-hum deal when the U.S. women’s soccer team is trying to qualify for something.

The Americans were always shoe-ins for the World Cup and the Olympics — until a stunning loss to Mexico forced them to a take a backdoor route to get to last year’s World Cup.

The U.S. team is in Vancouver for a tournament that will send two teams to the London Olympics this summer. The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world, open group play against the Dominican Republic on Friday.

Forward Abby Wambach says the Mexico upset has the team motivated not to let up.

Coach Pia Sundhage opened a team meeting Thursday by quoting the movie “The Help,” telling her players: “You’re kind. You’re smart. You’re important.”