Fresh off of today’s heartbreaking USA loss in the Women’s World Cup, I can’t help but think of the game back in 1999.
I was 14 years old and obsessed with the US’s Women’s World Cup team. Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers were the deal- their posters were on my bedroom walls and their incredible skill was the inspiration for the coaching my dear ol’ Dad tried to impart on me in my youth league soccer games.
That year, my parents took me to see part of the World Cup that was at Soldier Field in Chicago (I know- soccer AND Chicago. I was pretty much beside myself my brace-faced self). Aside from how cool it was to be at Soldier Field banging those stick-noise maker thingys together cheering on my freakin’ country, there was something so valuable about that team as an adolescent…like, wow- I can do anything if I make a choice and work hard enough at it. I could play pro soccer! I could be president! I could live in this city! I just have to pick and work my tail off!
Playing pro-soccer is not in the cards today but watching the 2011 Women’s World Cup team reminded me of my childhood dream team and how much possibility they represented both then and now. I am so grateful for women rocking it out on the international stage and I am willing to bet that there were a few more 14 year old girls who dreamed some big dreams while watching that game today.