By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — More than 40,000 fans are expected at Heinz Field, when the World Champion women’s soccer team plays an exhibition game Sunday afternoon.

But local star Meghan Klingenberg showed up early at Market Square Friday, and brought the World Cup trophy with her. The line of people, mostly girls, waiting for a photograph with the trophy, extended from one end of the square to the other. To girls learning the game, the World Cup team is solid gold.

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Erin Ganetta, who plays for the Riverhounds Academy team, say the team’s win gives them confidence.

“It made me feel like women can do anything,” she said.

After posing for a photo with the trophy, she added, “I’m going to put it in a frame in my room.”

Meghan Klingenberg of Pine played every minute of every game. Patiently, she posed for picture after picture with her fans.

Joined by teammate Becky Sauerbrunn, she received a proclamation from Mayor Bill Peduto.

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“I am so excited to be back in my hometown, because we’ve sold 41,000 tickets to this game on Sunday,” she announced, to cheers from hundreds of fans.

“I’ve been talking up Pittsburgh for years to my teammates,” she added. “So I think their standard is really high. So I’ll have to give a really good tour.”

Most of the girls are older than she was, the last American women brought home the Cup.

“Did I ever believe this would happen to me?” Meghan ponders. “No, probably not. But I always hoped.”

Sixteen years later, new generation has hopes of their own.

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