Since Valentine’s Day just past, I thought I would talk about love. Love for the game of soccer.
I loved playing soccer. I may not be playing it much, or at all anymore, but I do love it for what it gave me.
I love the way it made me feel out on the field,
I love that it kept me in great shape,
I love that it gave me great friendships
and I love that it brought my family together.
Yes I love the game however the impact it had on me
was greater than just the game.
When I stepped out on that soccer field I felt at home.
Soccer game me the ability to express myself.
As a young girl, I didn’t know how to express my feelings so I let my feelings out when I played.
I released any pains, happiness, frustrations or problems I was feeling,
I let them out on the field. After games I would feel refreshed and drained. Soccer was my confidence and self esteem builder and am so grateful to have played the game for so long.
Not only did the soccer field make me feel at home but it also offered me a place to stay fit and healthy.
Fitness was the backbone of my career.
It was the one thing I could control.
I didn’t always love the work that I had to put in
but I loved how I felt after putting in the work.
I felt strong and fit.
It helped me be able to do so much more on the field and gave me confidence off the field as well. I was able to have a 23-year career on the National team partly due to my fitness level and hard work.
Soccer also introduced me to so many great people. I may have stopped playing the game with these people but the friendships remain.
We may not see each other as often as we used to which is a bummer
but we stay in touch and when I see these woman, like Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Carla Overbeck, Brandi Chastain, Tisha (Venturini) Hoch, Kate Markgraf, and Abby Wambach just to name a few, it is just like old times. We laugh a lot and share stories about our kids and try to figure out how we got so old…
One of the things I loved about playing was that it brought my family together. When I knew my family was going to be in the crowd the day of a game, it made me smile and made me want to make them proud.
My brother was my role model growing up so I knew I wanted him to see me do well. My dad never missed a World Cup or an Olympics, and I always looked for him in the crowd and he would give me a shout out to let me know he was there if I couldn’t see him.
My mom was the one who took me to all of my games and practices as a young player so I wanted to show her that it paid off when she saw me play at the highest level. Then of course having the support of my husband was the final piece. He became my biggest fan and believer in me.
My oldest daughter saw me play a couple years, not sure if she will remember, but I played for her and to let her see that she can do anything she wants.
You see the game of soccer is bigger than just a game. I love soccer but I love that it gave me so much in return.
I guess when you love something so much it pays dividends in return.