I have an 11 year old daughter, Allie, who loves soccer. It started at the age of 4 when I began coaching her mixed team. She and her teammates would run around in little packs, sometimes kicking the ball, sometimes not, but they were out on the field as a team and loving every second of it.
Every season since then she has played. It went from mom coaching to now a professional coach in the Park City League. She practices two to three times a week and we drive her all over Utah it for games and tournaments. In her spare time she is often out there with the soccer ball practicing keeping the ball in the air and her power kicks. Her dad is often out there with her as she has long since passed the skill level of her mother. Watching the two of them together, and her out on the field, makes my heart sing.
We have been watching the watching the Women’s World Cup Soccer matches as a family, and yesterday’s game between the USA and Brazil will be a time I hope I never forget. The USA was in the lead early but the game was later tied due to a penalty kick Brazil had on goal that involved a very harsh call by the referee. The US then found themselves down a player for the rest of the game, and Brazil subsequently scored in OT to make the score 2 to 1. It was in the last minutes of overtime play that the US scored the most amazing goal I have every seen. It was to be decided in penalty kicks and the US won.
This team never gave up. They did not allow a referee’s horrible call to take away their drive to win, but rather it seemed they used the injustice of it to motivate them. They supported one another and gave it their total all to the very end. Their focus, their intensity, their sense of team was one of the most spectacular moments in women’s sports that I have every seen. We were all jumping around the living room screaming and in the middle of it all was my daughter Allie. I have no doubt for a very long time to come when she is feeling defeated and down on that soccer field, and maybe even in life, she will remember that moment. I know I will. If you really want something, never give up.