In the months since I last posted a blog, my primary focus has been on health. My year-plus-long battle with an Ulcerative Colitis (UC) flareup has been a time of much reflection, struggle, and realization.
To the Kansas City Soccer Community,
When the news first came out that the NWSL would be launched, people (including me) were a bit shocked that Kansas City was one of the initial eight teams. It seemed so unfamiliar to the women’s soccer scene in general. I remember thinking, “I’d probably be happy if I ended up on any of those teams, besides Kansas City.”
The performance equation is a broken one.
For those of you who read my piece from 2013, Soccer and Logic Don't Always Mix, well, below is somewhat of a version 2.0.
You see, this sport continues to plague those of us who enjoy the reliability of basic logic. In soccer/life, energy expended doesn’t always equal energy lost. Sometimes we build energy from using it. And a player’s ability doesn’t always translate to an equivalent level of success.
For those of you who know and understand Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, cool. You’re way more advanced than me. I’d like to provide us normal humans with my own evidence for the Theory of Relativity.
Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? Even if you don't, you may be one and not even realize it.
I’m about to enter my ninth season as a professional player, and last October I launched my own business, Techne Futbol. Becoming an entrepreneur has been a very interesting process for me, especially once I realized I've always been one! The truth is, as a professional athlete -- and my entire life beforehand when I was aspiring to be one -- I've always been an entrepreneur. My “business” has been my personal athletic development. Now that I've launched another, more traditional business, Idraw so many parallels between my two jobs.
On Saturday, January 21 I was surrounded by women. I wasn’t at one of the women’s marches, but instead at a soccer camp, put on by the University of Washington, that had been planned months before the marches were a “thing.” As I scrolled through photos and videos on social media showing the crowds that lined the streets of cities all over the world, I felt so incredibly proud to be a woman. But I also regretted not being present myself at one of the marches.
2016 was a busy year, and like a lot of people, I took some time to reflect around January 1. My resolutions include taking more time off to unwind and also to disconnect from reading anything on social media that leaves me with a negative feeling (yes, I get caught in that trap, too). However, I realized that instead of making a huge list of how I want to change, it’s more fun to think of how I don’t want to change. Here are some things that were part of my life in 2016 that will certainly stay with me in 2017!
I was running on the treadmill alone the other day in the gym of my apartment complex. (There was a light rain here in L.A., which is the equivalent of Armageddon; no chance of going outside to train). I was likely alone because it was Christmas Eve, and everyone else was doing something much more festive. But I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing.
Sometimes I want to strangle Heather O’Reilly. Mostly because she knows me well enough to know how to REALLY get under my skin. But also because I’ve had to witness her, throughout her illustrious 15-year USWNT career, likely be the only player in the history of the program to preface talking about every single training camp with, “If I’m invited.”
I grew up not that far from Heather in New Jersey, played at a few ODP events with her, and we overlapped two years at UNC. But I really only truly got to know her in my first year as a pro for Sky Blue FC. It’s ironic because Heather’s literally lived all my childhood goals (and her own I’m sure). And because of that, she taught me one of the most important lessons I could have possibly learned in my career and in life. She taught me that’s there’s remarkable value in the journey.
Every elite athlete certainly shares a level of heightened appreciation for the Olympics. When I watch gymnasts take a deep breath before a pass on their floor routine, I feel the release of tension as they free their minds and let their preparation take over. When I see track athletes on the starting line or swimmers on the blocks, I feel the pressure of the countless hours they’ve invested for that very moment. Tears of victory and defeat are infused with intense meaning for someone who has cried them.
Our FC Kansas City team recently started a book club. Well actually, it's more of an essay/book intro/excerpt club. An entire book was too much of a commitment (I know, stereotypical athletes).
One of our goalkeepers, Cat Parkhill, chooses the readings and leads the discussions. She's very well versed in the topics we are reading and discussing because she majored in psychology and is currently doing research.
It wasn't until I casually mentioned to my mom that I would do something when I got home that I realized the irony of my statement. Where’s home? Did I mean my parents' house in NJ? My current residence in KC? My new "home base” in LA where I'll be in the offseason?
There’s a story about a daughter who told her mother that the next time she visits, she must take her to see a local daffodil garden.
Not really knowing what the fuss was about, the mother reluctantly agreed and they set off together to see them.
For the majority of my teenage years and throughout my professional career I have been told by a number of coaches that I wasn’t “athletic.” It’s true, I will never be as fast as Heather O’Reilly over 40 yards or have the vertical jump of Meghan Klingenberg. Some of this has been determined by my DNA (hey parents, don’t feel too guilty when you read this!). But in the past couple of years, I’ve realized how detrimental this belief system has been to me as a player, and how perhaps I’m not truly as ‘athletically incompetent’ as I’ve been made to feel.
Here are 10 things that are important to keep in mind to train on your own consistently and enjoy the process!
If futbol/soccer/football/futebol is your passion, you’ve found a home. My passion, in addition to my current career as a professional player, is creating a development system for players of all levels to strive for mastery with the ball at their feet.
While the New Year always evokes feelings of a clean slate and “New Year, New Me” mottos, I want to use the first few days of January to remind myself to stay true to the values that matter to me most.
It is what it is…until someone changes the status quo.
The year 2015 taught us that we don’t have to accept the negative aspects of the otherwise beautiful game. The major news story of the year in world football was the charges and arrests of top FIFA executives. This will forever be known as the year of the crackdown on the culture of bribery and corruption within the game. It is unclear how it will affect the next two World Cup tournaments in Russia and Qatar, but the investigation, led by U.S. authorities, is a strong statement that the world of football will simply not accept criminal behavior at its helm.
Twenty years ago this holiday season, I sat on a couch in New Jersey as my grandfather asked me questions about my favorite subjects in school and other random topics. I wasn’t completely engaged in what even to my young self seemed a silly interview, and so I was slow to answer. I watched the video again and again this past Thanksgiving, the first time I had seen it since it was made, replaying the part when my grandfather asks, “If it were 20 years from now, what do you think you’d be doing? What would be your work or your life like?” I answered: “Playing soccer.”