Sunday's final carries extra significance for Dominique Bloodworth
The Netherlands defender married California-born Brandon last year
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"Before the tournament, we even said, 'How amazing would it be if we played the USA?’"
For Dutch defender Dominique Bloodworth, formerly known as Dominique Janssen, the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup final will be an extra special one. In 2018, she married California-born Brandon Bloodworth. Which means that during Sunday’s final, a certain family on USA's West Coast will be cheering for the Oranjeleeuwinnen instead of the USA.
"In my heart, a small percentage of me is American," Bloodworth told FIFA.com this week. She couldn’t have wished for a more special opponent in the upcoming World Cup final. She even discussed the possibility of playing the USA at this tournament with her husband Brandon before leaving for France. Since getting married in 2018, Dominique has been playing with the name ‘Bloodworth’ on her shirt for both club and country.
"In the USA, your last name and where you come from is extremely important," Bloodworth said. "That’s why it meant a lot to my family-in-law when I started using Brandon’s last name in my football career."
While she says her "football loyalty" still lies completely with her home country, husband Brandon did change sides a little bit, she admits.
"He and his entire family will be cheering for us on Sunday, yes!’ she laughs. "He is definitely still American, but he says family is the most important thing in the world, which is why he will support the Netherlands in the final."
Brandon came to France earlier in the tournament, staying in Lyon since the semi-final, cheering for Dominique during the Oranjeleeuwinnen's win over Sweden.
"I definitely feel his support when he’s here, and it’s amazing. It gives me that extra sparkle that I need to perform even better."
The sparkle Bloodworth talks about is also visible in her eyes, especially when she starts talking about the impact reaching the final of this year’s World Cup has had on women’s football as a whole back in the Netherlands.
"It really is incredible, especially since this is only our second time ever even competing at this tournament!"
A lot has changed since the Orange Lionesses first competed at the World Cup four years ago. "Back then, we couldn’t even dare to dream of being any kind of role models. Now, I truly feel young kids, especially girls, can look up to us and realise that a lot of things can happen when you believe in your dreams. A few years ago, we as the Dutch team said we wanted to win prizes. First, we won the UEFA Women’s EURO in 2017, and now we’re here in the World Cup final. It’s incredible. Now, we want nothing more than to win that gold."
And with the support from ‘Dutch-for-a-day’ husband Brandon and his family on her side, it might just become a very special Sunday for Dominique Bloodworth.