Janet Rayfield managed one day to push it on the Autobahn during her 24-day tour as an advance scout for the U.S. women's soccer team in the World Cup.

CHAMPAIGN -- Janet Rayfield managed one day to push it on the Autobahn during her 24-day tour as an advance scout for the U.S. women's soccer team in the World Cup.

The Illinois women's soccer coach had her Volkswagen rental doing 180 kilometers per hour.

That's 110 mph.

But the keepsake memories came from helping the U.S. finish second in the tournament, watching the European fans enjoy the women's game and the hope for a carryover from the exciting finish by the American squad.

"It was an opportunity to contribute to the U.S. team and its success,'' Rayfield said Wednesday. "Every time you're involved in the sport at a higher level, every game I watched I learned something different.''

Rayfield previously worked with the U.S. team in 1995 World Cup in Sweden. This month, she served as an advance scout providing detailed reports on potential elimination-round opponents. Her information assisted coach Pia Sundhage in game planning. Rayfield built the scouting report for Brazil.

Instead of faxing hand-written notes to the coaching staff like she did in 1995, Rayfield built PowerPoint presentations with animation, pictures and video. While the coaching staff could also watch video, Rayfield essentially boiled down each match into a quick presentation that allowed the coaches to maximize their time in preparing for the upcoming opponent.

"The technological changes between 1995 and 2011 were unbelievable, but the job itself hasn't changed that much,'' she said.

Rayfield scouted eight games in 14 days throughout Germany, then spent the rest of the time watching the U.S. prepare during the elimination rounds. By the championship game, Rayfield decided to get a different vantage point. She wanted to be a fan in the bleachers.

"It's fun to be a fan, especially in that environment,'' she said. "Fans in Europe have grown up with the sport. American fans who don't watch the sport that often don't appreciate the nuances.''

Now Rayfield hopes for a carryover to help grow the game, from Women's Professional Soccer, this country's top league, to college attendance and perhaps more grass roots interest.

"I think it will help us this fall,'' Rayfield said.

John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com.