Ladies with Balls

Team USA's scrappy soccer starlets kick it at Reliant Stadium

This is the little soccer team that could: The fresh-faced players on the U.S. Women's National Team, once considered underdogs, have become synonymous with winning big. In their last world competition, the ladies held on by their fingertips to steal the Olympic gold from a feisty Brazilian team. But sadly, the team that could is slowly turning into a bunch of, well, elder stateswomen -- in sporting terms, anyway. These were gals who showed little girls everywhere that it's okay to sweat and play hard. Superstar Mia Hamm, who competed toe-to-toe against Michael Jordan in several sports for a series of Gatorade commercials, was more than a pretty face -- she was an athlete, on par with the big boys. So it's no surprise that soccer is one of the fastest-growing recreational sports, especially among young girls.

The familiar -- if not household -- names in women's soccer, namely Hamm, Joy Fawcett and Julie Foudy, are stepping down. Saturday offers perhaps your final chance to see the ladies compete together. They'll take on Team Ireland in Reliant Stadium as part of their seventh stop in U.S. Soccer's Fan Celebration Tour. The match should be more exhibition than gritty competition, but with these tough ladies, it's sure to please. 7 p.m. Saturday, October 23. One Reliant Park. For information, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.ussoccer.com. $17 to $100. -- Melissa Richter

Campaign Running

The ironic thing is, President Bush is a pretty good jogger. He just sucks at everything else. At least that's what the folks at Run Against Bush say, so they're getting together to sweat out their frustration this weekend with a group run in Memorial Park. The Houston chapter of the national organization, which claims some 13,000 members in all 50 states, has been meeting regularly for JABs (Jogs Against Bush) throughout the year. This weekend, all local Bush haters and/or Kerry lovers are welcome; there's no set distance, and walking against Bush is just fine too, as long as it pisses off all the Republicans going the other way. 9 a.m. Saturday, October 23. Meet at the benches in front of the tennis courts on Memorial Loop. For information, call 281-468-6745 or visit www.runagainstbush.org. Free; Run Against Bush membership is $25. -- Julia Ramey

 
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