Today is National Girls and Women in Sports Day. I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without sports, specifically soccer.
I can thank soccer for teaching me about teamwork, and how to work together toward a common goal; for learning how to deal with failure, and keep on forging ahead to the next challenge; for my teammates who have provided some lifelong friendships. Sports build female leaders. We need more girls in sports.
Sometimes I still see myself as the 10 year old who loved soccer more than life itself or the 18 year old record-setting All-American. Other times, the reality sets in and I remember those days of competing are well behind me. But I will always have those life lessons, those memories and the fire inside me to keep moving the ball forward for the next generation.
While I made my mark in the Kansas City soccer community as a player, now it’s my turn as a coach. This marks our 10th year of training, camps and clinics. We are dead-set on inspiring girls to be brave, strong and powerful people through skills training and mentorship. My staff and I all enjoyed success on the field and now it’s our turn to give back. To empower. To encourage girls to stay in the game by making soccer fun and impactful.
Thank you to all the parents who believe that girls belong in sports. Thank you to all the families who have supported us over the years. Thank you to all the girls who pour their hearts into their game. Thank you to all the women who came before me, who paved the way for women to succeed on and off the field. Thank you to all the people out there who are supporting girls in sports by investing time and money, buying tickets, supporting the USWNT and women across the world’s efforts for equal pay.
Thank you to my mom and dad for allowing me to wear my uniform and soccer shoes to school, for supporting me as a young girl when I played up in age on an all boys team, for giving up their weekends to travel the country watching me play. Thank you for understanding when I decided after my freshman year that college soccer wasn’t for me. Thank you for allowing me to be me, and making it known that being an athlete is something to be proud of, even as a 37 year old woman. Thank you for still coming to watch me play and not yelling at the refs.
There were tough times as a female athlete, but it was my parents, coaches and teammates who kept me going. I believe there are many parents out there who would do the same and they’ll reap the benefits when their kids are grown-ups running the world.
I will forever be thankful for the opportunities soccer has brought me. #NGWSD #LeadHerForward #athleteforlife