As Americans, we are obsessed with winners, heroes, and domination. The 2015 Women's World Cup provided all of that, to the max. The U.S. Women’s National Team did not simply win the World Cup; it was emphatically victorious. Besides creating a fairytale-esque ending to the tournament, the win has strong implications in the larger scope of women's soccer development. In an analysis of the tournament, here are three aspects of the outcome that must not be ignored.
What makes soccer, the so-called beautiful game, so beautiful? Saturday’s Champions League final is the perfect occasion to ask this question.
This is an exciting year for women’s soccer, especially in the United States. While everyone awaits the Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer, it is also Year 3 of the National Women’s Soccer League.
This piece is in honor of a particular type of player. I have names and faces in mind, but more generally, it is a group defined by a certain professionalism that I believe is nearly unparalleled in any other work environment. This is my tribute to a group of women who have dedicated years of passionate work and pride to their trade, often in a world that is unable to fully reward them.
I am very excited to be co-hosting the first annual Pursuit 1v1 Soccer Tournament!
I’ve become experienced in change. I definitely don’t like it. Scratch that — I dread it. But I’ve gotten a lot of practice and have learned a thing or two. The part I dislike most are the lasts. The last time playing pickup in the off-season; the last dinner with friends; the last night sleeping in my own bed.
I’ve known what I wanted to do with my life since my third-grade teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. “A professional soccer player,” I answered confidently. I’ve never thought that I could be happy doing anything besides following that journey I began as a 9-year-old.
It’s encouraging to witness first-hand how soccer is taking off in the United States. According to a recent survey, youth soccer participation rates increased roughly 300 percent from 1974 to 2014. During my current off-season, I have conducted a number of clinics for some of these youth players. Typically, a club will invite me in for a day, and I work with boys and (mostly) girls on and off the field. Ages and ability levels vary greatly, but I am always astounded and moved by the level of enthusiasm and eagerness I see in the players.
We call it pickup, but for any of us who play regular small-sided games with a group, let’s be honest–we all know it’s much more serious than that. Good pickup soccer is an art. The proper balance must be met in order for everyone involved to enjoy themselves, get better, and want to come back. Just like in a movie, there are some typical characters in any pickup group. Some are integral to a great game, and some we could all do without. Let’s examine the cast of a typical pickup game…
Roughly 150 players from the nine National Women’s Soccer League teams currently find themselves in the off-season. Some have headed overseas on loan deals to clubs in Europe, Japan or Australia, but the vast majority stay rooted to a home base for the six months between N.W.S.L. seasons.
When you can smell the freshly cut and watered grass, you know you are close. When I sat down with my father in the first row at the Camp Nou last week before Barcelona played Paris St.-Germain in the Champions League, the sprinklers were still on, making the glorious green field slick and fast to suit the style of the home team.
You may think you understand the world, only to travel to another place, look at a toilet seat and realize that you actually know very little. True story.
It’s tough for me, as a 5-foot-10-inch woman, to fit in here. Literally. Everything is tiny, from the doorways to the spaces to sit to the plates and bowls. But I’ve come to really appreciate a lot of what I’ve learned about Japanese culture during my first visit here, as a guest player for Arsenal Ladies in the leadup to the International Women’s Club Championship.
Sometimes my life feels like a maze. I continually come to a fork in the road and I am presented with a tough decision. My entire career, I have been faced with choices, and I have sometimes felt compelled to create paths that weren’t offered.
[Originally Published on The Special Ones] Anyone who watches the U.S. National Teams with a critical eye has surely contemplated the discussion of a potential technical deficit compared to the rest of the world. On both the men’s and women’s side, the typical American team displays unparalleled passion, courage, desire to win, and most often fields fit, strong athletes. That’s a given when you see a group donning the red, white, and blue. Where does our nation stand with the ball at our feet, though? Before we can answer that question, it is valuable to delve into a deep analysis of soccer technique.
I am an idealist, perfectionist, dreamer and believer. The older I get, the more I realize this about myself. Maybe because age and experience usually jade people and it surprises me how little I have changed.
The air is warm, the people are friendly, and from Limassol, where I am staying, it’s hard to find a place where you can’t run to the Mediterranean Sea. I’m living in an apartment in a tourist area with Lianne Sanderson, Danesha Adams and Ashley Nick, all of whom also played in the National Women’s Soccer League this past season.
As I drove into Chapel Hill, N.C., on Route 15-501 recently, I was starkly reminded of how different I am now from when I would make that same drive as a student and soccer player at the University of North Carolina. Sometimes, the best way to evaluate how you’ve changed is in relation to what stays the same.
It’s hard to imagine the game was ever not a part of my life, coursing through my veins as a source of inspiration, motivation, and in so many ways as a microcosm for how I see the world.
The clock is ticking as the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada approaches next summer.
National teams are preparing, working to identify the players that will give them the best chance for success. Fans are gearing up, some booking tickets to experience the event in person. But there is something gnawing at the enthusiasm within the women’s soccer world. The World Cupvenues all have artificial turf fields.