VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The U.S. women's soccer team had an abrupt greeting when it arrived here this week for the start of the Olympic qualifying tournament. The first was snow and significantly colder than normal weather for Vancouver (it is much colder here now than it ever was during the 2010 Winter Olympics). The second was a fatal shooting in the restaurant of its hotel.
The players said they were all upstairs in their rooms when the shooting occurred Tuesday evening around 8:45 p.m. in the hotel restaurant.
"All of us were a bit scared," goalkeeper Hope Solo said Wednesday afternoon. "We all travel all around the world; big cities, small cities. It's a normal thing that crime happens. We were aware of the situation. It was scary for us, but it was handled incredibly well by the hotel staff and the police officers."
"It was a little scary at first," forward Alex Morgan said. "I've never been so close to a shooting even though we were upstairs. Everyone was taken care of really well by our general manager. We were calling down and guest services were very nice to us and telling us not to come down. The situation was handled really well.
"I don't think this affects us at all. Even though it was in our hotel, we didn't witness it, so I don't think that's going to be a problem. We were definitely a little shaken up the first moments when we heard about it."
Asked about whether the incident affected her, Solo replied: "Every experience in life affects you personally. You start to question what life is all about. You start to think about your loved ones. That's pretty normal. We know we're in a very safe place, both in Canada and up in Vancouver, and keep in mind, I live in Seattle, which is just a couple hours down south. I feel safe. The team has no second thoughts about being here or performing well in the tournament."
The eight-team tournament begins Thursday at BC Place Stadium, with the top two teams advancing to the Olympics. The United States plays its first game Friday night against the Dominican Republic.
With snow on the ground and temperatures in the 20s, midfielder Megan Rapinoe said she hopes the new retractable roof remains closed.