The U.S. Women’s National Team is across the Pacific Ocean, looking to win their third consecutive FIFA World Cup. The tournament begins Thursday with a match between New Zealand and Norway. That’ll be at 3 a.m. East Coast time.

The United States’ first game is against Vietnam at 9 p.m. East Coast time on Friday.

Maybe, like me, you’re new to soccer fandom. Or maybe you’re a long-time fan of the world’s game, but have no idea how to watch matches that are being played in New Zealand and Australia. Whatever your situation is, consider this your guide for enjoying the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 from the comfort of Charm City.

How can I watch?

In the United States, you’ve got limited options for watching the World Cup. Fox has English-language media rights and will broadcast 29 games on Fox. It’ll broadcast other games on Fox Sports 1 (also referred to as FS1) and all of the games on the Fox app.

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If you’re like me and you don’t have cable, you have some options. You could use Peacock and stream the games through Telemundo, but they’ll be in Spanish. Personally, I plan to sign up for YouTube TV and use that to log in and watch the games on Fox.

No matter how you watch, pay attention to match times. Since the tournament is being hosted in Australia and New Zealand, there’s a significant time difference. Some games will be played and broadcast when it’s 3 a.m. on the East Coast.

Crystal Dunn, No. 19 of the United States, hoists the trophy with her teammates after defeating Brazil in the 2023 SheBelieves Cup match at Toyota Stadium on Feb. 22, 2023 in Frisco, Texas. (Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Where can I watch?

I’m a new soccer fan, I’ll admit that. But it didn’t take me long to learn that the best way to experience the game is with a group. Traveling to a stadium to watch a game live is great, but probably out of the question if you don’t already have tickets booked for New Zealand.

The next best thing would be to find a bar or restaurant that’s going to stream the games, so that you can at least enjoy the broadcast with a community.

The Brass Tap, 1205 W. Mt. Royal Ave. — While there aren’t any events listed yet, a manager at The Brass Tap said they’d be playing all the games that are on during their business hours, including the first U.S. match against Vietnam. They suggested checking their Facebook or Instagram as the game dates get closer.

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Frazier’s on the Avenue, 919 W. 36th St. — Juliet Ames, a local artist who does marketing for Frazier’s, said the bar would play all the games that are on during their business hours. She also said they may open early for some games, but the best way to find out is to check their Facebook or Instagram.

Guilford Hall Brewery, 1611 Guilford Ave. — Guilford Hall is hosting a watch party for the first U.S. game against Vietnam. Guilford Hall has a truly massive TV screen on their second floor, which is likely where the watch party will be. I’d suggest keeping up with their Facebook page to see if there are events for later matches.

R. House, 301 W. 29th St. — Games will be shown on the TVs at r. bar.

Megan Rapinoe of United States during the New Zealand Football Ferns official FIFA Women’s World Cup welcome ceremony at Spark Arena on July 15, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The U.S. Women’s National Team is really good, right?

Absolutely. Like, really good. The USWNT has won the Women’s World Cup four times, more than any other country. The U.S. and Germany are the only teams to win two cups in a row — and this year, the U.S. team has the chance to become the first country to win three consecutive world cups.

The team also has four Olympic gold medals, and has medaled in every single Olympics or World Cup women’s soccer tournament except for the 2016 Olympics. And while the roster has obviously changed year to year, there are some veterans from past victories on the team.

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All but one of the players on the U.S. roster (more on that below) plays in the National Women’s Soccer League. They’re considered the best of the best from around the country.

If watching the Women’s National Team gets you amped up, I suggest making the trip down to Audi Field in Washington, D.C., to watch the Washington Spirit play. They’ve got a handful of players off the team because they’ve been called up to the U.S. or other teams for the World Cup right now, but there are NWSL games after the World Cup wraps.

Who are some players to pay attention to?

OK, even if you don’t follow sports news, you undoubtedly know who forward Megan Rapinoe is. She’s a three-time Olympian and two-time World Cup champion. She’s scored 63 goals for the USWNT and appeared in 199 games for the team. She was a team co-captain from 2018-2020, and found national prominence as an activist for equal pay.

She announced she’d be retiring from professional soccer this year.

Trinity Rodman, another forward, made a strong impression before the tournament has even begun. She scored the only two goals in the USWNT’s send-off game against Wales. When she was drafted by the Washington Spirit in 2021, she was, at the time, the youngest player drafted in league history at just 18.

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Trinity Rodman, No. 5 of the United States, against Japan during the 2023 SheBelieves Cup at GEODIS Park on Feb. 19, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Lindsey Horan are the captains this World Cup, and both will be important players. You probably recognize Morgan’s name from previous World Cups or Olympic tournaments. Horan is the only player on the USWNT to not play for a U.S. team — she plays in France. Horan has scored at least one goal for the U.S. every year since 2015, which is the longest such streak by any player currently on the team.

Morgan, who is headed into her fourth World Cup with the USWNT, is in the top 10 all-time for goals, assists and multi-goal games.

And Crystal Dunn will be the defender to watch, I think. She was part of the 2019 championship team and helped her club team, the Portland Thorns, win three trophies in 2021.

The full roster can be found here. ESPN did a great write-up of the entire team, too. Other players that I’ll be paying attention to include returning defender Kelley O’Hara, midfielder Ashley Sanchez, and forwards Sophia Smith and Alyssa Thompson. And forward Lynn Williams was called the “best 15-minute player” in the tournament during the send-off game, meaning she can come into a game and turn the tide for her team.

What else should I know?

First, a brief explanation of how the World Cup works. The first games are part of the group stage, which will feature multiple games per day. Four teams are assigned to a group, and they’ll all play each other. The U.S. is in Group E with Vietnam, Portugal and the Netherlands.

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Once every team in a group has played every other team in that group, the two teams that have accumulated the most points will advance to the bracket-style knockout rounds, ultimately ending in a championship match.

This article from The Athletic explains it more in-depth.

The Baltimore Banner will not be covering the Women’s World Cup, so here are some other outlets and journalists to keep up with during the tournament: