A free outdoor viewing of a FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 game in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is arguably the perfect way to spend a Saturday night.

Local soccer fans seemed to agree, as many gathered on JFK Promenade on Saturday, Aug. 5 for the Women’s World Cup Village SF’s Round of 16 match between the Netherlands and South Africa.

Netherlands (left) and South Africa (right) flags are displayed on a fence at Golden Gate Park as the two rival for a spot in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals August 5, 2023. (JL Odom, Bay City News)

Saturday’s Women’s World Cup Village SF event started at 4 p.m. and featured family-friendly activities such as an inflatable soccer ball to kick around and the opportunity to get in some soccer drill practice. With the event taking place in the same location as the park’s pop-up beer & wine garden, most of the crowd sat in the grass or on the yellow adirondack chairs in the fenced-off East Meadow lawn. A live band kept attendees’ energy levels up as they waited for the game to begin at 7 p.m.

…being able to see women on the screen competing and working hard to meet their goals is a really wonderful thing.

Keith Chernin, Street Soccer USA San Francisco

Speakers at the event included FOX KTVU reporter Bailey O’Carroll, Joel Riddell from SF Recreation & Parks and Street Soccer USA San Francisco program manager Keith Chernin.

‘Significant, impactful’

Says Chernin, “To have all of these people out celebrating the beautiful game — and especially with women playing it on the biggest stage there is — is super significant and impactful. I think having a lot of young girls out here being able to see women on the screen competing and working hard to meet their goals is a really wonderful thing.”

Previous Women’s World Cup Village SF events were held on July 21 at The Crossing at East Cut, where the USWNT vs. Vietnam game was featured, and on July 26 at Embarcadero Plaza for a live stream of the USWNT vs. Netherlands match.

Had the USWNT fared better score-wise against the Netherlands, they would have potentially been one of the teams in this 7 p.m. PT knockout stage match, with Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, Alyssa Naeher, Lindsey Horan and other USWNT members in-action on the jumbo screen. But the 0-0 outcome of that game, coupled with the final scores of others, resulted in the early bird-friendly start time of Sunday, Aug. 6 at 2 a.m. PT / 5 a.m. ET (game time in Australia: 9 p.m.) for the USWNT’s Round of 16 match, which will be against Sweden.

Dutch team marches into quarterfinals

The final score of the Netherlands vs. South Africa match was 2-0, meaning South Africa is now out of the Women’s World Cup and the Netherlands team advances to the quarterfinals.

And while an indoor, at-home viewing of a Round of 16 match at 2 a.m. is certainly less appealing, one could bet that those who were out there on JFK Promenade Saturday night had set their alarms absurdly early for the USWNT vs. Sweden.