MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 30: Alex Morgan #13 and Hope Solo #1 of the United States celebrate the 2-0 victory against Germany in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Semi-Final Match at Olympic Stadium on June 30, 2015 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **
MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 30: Alex Morgan #13 and Hope Solo #1 of the United States celebrate the 2-0 victory against Germany in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Semi-Final Match at Olympic Stadium on June 30, 2015 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD ** (Francois LaplanteFreestylePhoto, Getty Images)

Sunday is setting up nicely for Casey Ebeling and her family.

The senior-to-be at South Carroll said a Fourth of July weekend party is in the works, and her house should be filled with festivities and fun.

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Oh, and there just so happens to be a soccer game on TV that Ebeling considers super important.

"I took off of work for it ... I'm definitely going to be tuned in for the final," said Ebeling, a Times first-team all-county girls soccer player at SC who knows where she'll be Sunday night at 7 when the United States and Japan meet for the Women's World Cup championship. It's a rematch of the 2011 final, won by Japan, and the U.S. is going after a little revenge — and a third world title.

Ebeling led the Cavaliers last fall in scoring with five goals and four assists, and she's known for her powerful and accurate direct kicks. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that Ebeling makes sure she watches as much elite soccer as she can, to learn from the best while rooting for her country.

"I watched the USA-China game and the USA-Germany game, and I watched the Japan-Britain game, which was so intense," said Ebeling, referring to England's heartbreaking semifinal defeat in which the Brits lost on an own goal.

She took to Twitter a few times during the U.S. semifinal match against Germany. When Germany's Celia Sasic missed the goal on a penalty kick, Ebeling used her feed to express her amazement that a professional soccer player could shoot wide.

Her next tweet was "Put me in coach."

Soccer's appeal seems to grow every four years — the next men's World Cup is three years away — but some local soccer players and enthusiasts say it's a shame their sport needs international competition to spark interest.

"During the season when I'm playing soccer I'll hear some people say, 'Oh, you play soccer? It's stupid, it's not even that hard,'" Ebeling said. "But then when the World Cup is going on, they're the ones watching. There are definitely people that like to jump on the bandwagon."

Kylie Davis, a sophomore at Century last year, said she'll likely need to tape the championship game Sunday night and steer clear of any social media spoilers.

Davis earned Times first-team all-county honors last fall after scoring 20 goals and helping the Knights to a piece of the county championship. She's busy with summer lacrosse tournaments and practice — Davis plays for Hero's Lacrosse's 2017 team — but said soccer isn't too far from her mind.

"I've been following along as much as I can. I'm really pumped," said Davis, a U.S. supporter. "They're going to have more motivation to beat them, because they don't want Japan to two-peat."

Ebeling said Carli Lloyd's play (three goals in six matches) has been boosting Team USA on offense, which should help against Japan.

Like Ebeling, Davis said she's always impressed by the level of play when she watches the World Cup, and she hopes the feeling mutual with soccer lovers and casual fans alike.

"I feel the World Cup gets so much hype ... it's so amazing to watch them," Davis said. "If there's something going on in the U.S., everyone is getting pumped up. It's going to make them watch it, and then maybe they'll start liking soccer. It's sort of a chain reaction."

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