Racing to the side parking lot to my mom’s car one day after school, I could barely get the words out: “Soccer tryouts are next week and my best friend and I want to play!” Being only 3.5 years old, I had no idea that I would fall in love with this amazing and beautiful game of soccer, but I knew I was excited.
When I was growing up, I idolized Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm. Reading their books, buying their shoes and pretending to make their amazing plays in my front yard, I was in love with the game. After the World Cup in 1999, my Nike sports bra collection was on full force (and still is to this day).
Now, the new stars of the U.S. women’s national team have made history and won yet another World Cup Championship this past summer in Canada. U.S. soccer is in the spotlight and every American player has something to prove, whether it is in a domestic or foreign league.
There are countless events, inspirations, people and dreams that have motivated me to start this blog. Whether it was young girls that I coached who were starting to narrow down their dreams, coaches that pushed me to my limits or family that was always cheering me on, so many people have influenced not only my character, personality and attitude on the pitch, but also my life outside of soccer.
So many situations and events have helped me learn, fail, succeed and become a better person. Now, it’s time I pass my knowledge and experiences onto others who need hope that their dream of professional soccer can be a reality, are curious about living in another country or simply want to listen to a young woman’s journey of finding herself while striving to achieve her wild and crazy dreams.
Although the National Women’s Soccer League is popular, many American players are looking to play abroad. New cultures, languages, people, atmospheres and food are awaiting them in countries around the world, like Germany, Sweden, England, France or Spain. Combined with my 5-year experience of playing in Europe, this blog will feature many interviews with other professional soccer players in Europe. Hopefully through these interviews, a descriptive picture is painted for those of you looking to expand your careers and play in the best leagues in the world.
A huge part of playing in Europe is staying connected with yourself and growing to or past your potential. It is extremely hard sometimes, especially when playing in a city by yourself, to adjust to the culture, be accepted by teammates and find your daily rhythm. One way to overcome these challenges is to stay HAPPY – Having Acceptance, Positivity and Perseverance for Yourself. Accepting where you are is not where you are going to be; staying positive regardless of what comes your way and persevering despite struggle are great things to stay happy. It took awhile for me to figure this out, but I finally got it.
This blog comes at a great time in my life, where I am mentally and spiritually ready to spread the word of hard work, success and joy. It’s for the young boy or girl who doubts their future at the professional level. It’s for athletes competing overseas who want to connect and share stories about playing in a foreign culture. It’s for parents who are struggling to let their daughters or sons go and live in a completely different culture and city. It’s for coaches, managers and agents who need a deeper look into their players’ lives to better understand triumphs and struggles of foreign players. It’s for anyone who needs some tips or tricks with their fitness training or nutrition. It’s for the girls who want to look as good as they tackle, as fast as they run or as strong as the weights they lift.
What are your goals? Where do you want to be in 1 year? Where do you want to be 3 years?