The FIFA Women’s World Cup is here! With all of the negative press surrounding the dropped lawsuit over playing on turf fields and FIFA corruption charges, I find myself looking forward to the games ahead…and looking back at the memories of my personal soccer journey.
Mia Hamm, Julie Fowdy, Briana Scurry, and Michelle Akers were my favorite players as a youngster. When the USWNT was on TV I never missed a game– and I always watched with my dad. One of my favorite memories as a player was watching the 1999 Women’s World Cup final with all of my U9 teammates and parents. There’s no question in my mind that watching that game exposed my love for the sport. As I started to get more serious about soccer I would practice skills, juggling, and shooting every single day; those women were instrumental in helping spark my drive to excel. They were workhorses and I adopted the theory that you won’t get what you want unless you work hard for it.
After I got tired using my dog as a defender, I’d head inside and write in my diary to reflect on my day. 100% convinced I was going to be a famous soccer player, I would write “I know I’m going to be a famous soccer player, so I need to practice my autograph!” As lame as that sounds, watching Mia Hamm and the fearless Michelle gave me the confidence to truly believe I could achieve anything. Although I never became the next Mia Hamm (Alex Morgan has filled that role quite nicely) I knew that soccer would provide me with many blessings in my life: a full scholarship, close friends from all over the country with various soccer backgrounds, a job I love, a tight bond with my parents, and fantastic memories to last a lifetime.
When I think about the group of women who are representing our country and the endless amount of work they’ve put into their craft, it brings me back to all those memories as a young girl just trying to figure out what my passions were and leaning on the USWNT for inspiration. Girls all over the country aspire to fill the shoes of Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, and Hope Solo. It’s just neat to think that the next crop of young dreamers are about to go on their own soccer journey after watching this year’s Women’s World Cup! #SHEBELIEVES