It may have been the thought of a 24-hour, all-sports cable TV network that set the lady screaming as the TV screen showed Washington's newest sports, the Washington Diplomats, kicking the ball around.

Or perhaps she was doing what soccer fans do the world over: riot.

Washingtonians, forced to hobble over to Baltimore to see baseball, to make do with only football, hockey, basketball, with tennis touraments and golf galas to while away a sporting day, have fallen at the feet of Johan Cruff.

They are discovering what European and South American fans have known for years. Soccer is a lot of kicks.

There is still time to see what drives so many people to tear up the bleachers. There are six home games left this season at RFK stadium, plus Soccer Bowl '80, the NASL's championship game scheduled for Sept. 21.

If you get together 20 or more of your friends and make a party of it, the Diplomats will give you special group rates and guarantee that you will be seated together. And, if you book $300 worth of tickets for 50 people, the Diplomats will provide you with complimentary chartered bus transportation to and from the game, from anywhere in the Washington area.

The regular price on reserved box seats in the mezzanine is $8 for adults, $5 for children under 18; other reserved seating is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Add a hamper of food, and you have an affordable birthday party for junior and his or her friends.

For groups of 20 to 199, they knock $1 off the ticket price; for groups of from 200 to 499, $1.25, and if you or your child has between 500 to 1,000 close friends, they reduce the ticket price by $1.50.

This Wednesday the Diplomats play the Tampa Bay Rowdies at 8 p.m.; Sunday, July 27, the Rochester Lancers at 2:30 p.m.; Wednesday, July 30, the Tulsa Roughnecks at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 2, the Toronto Blizzard at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 24, Minnesota Kicks at 2:30 p.m.; and Sept. 21, it's Soccer Bowl '80, with tickets specially priced at $10 and $15.

Tickets can be obtained at 1801 K St. NW, the Pentagon Ticket Service, the Capital Centre and Capital Centre outlets in area Hecht stores.

To get to RFK stadium from Virginia, take I-395 (Shirley Highway) north to the stadium lot (it's $1.50 to park); from Maryland, take the Beltway to Baltimore Washington Parkway south to I-295 South. Exit onto East Capitol Street and drive one mile. From Washington, follow Independence Avenue east to 22nd St. NE and the stadium parking lot.