I’ve played for many teams in my soccer career and won some significant championships, but it seems I’m still searching for my home. My first season as a pro was with Sky Blue, where we rose from a tumultuous beginning (and last place) to win the inaugural championship of Women’s Professional Soccer in 2009. During that season and the next, despite many ups and downs, I had wonderful teammates, and gained the experience necessary to become a member of the U.S. women’s national team pool.
Once my Sky Blue contract was up, I chose to join the Western N.Y. Flash expansion franchise. Our team was stacked last year, as they say, and propelled by the unstoppable twosome of Marta and Christine Sinclair. We rode the top of the standings all season, all the way to winning the league championship.
With two W.P.S. championships under my belt, and after spending some time reflecting on my first three seasons, I decided that despite this success, I needed a change, for personal development. I started to consider options in Europe. I was searching for an environment in which I felt more needed than I had in the past, and where I could get more 90-minute games, which are definitely at a premium in W.P.S. with so few teams and so many quality players. I explored, but didn’t feel incredibly enthused to move across the world at this point in my life. Additionally, the league was in crisis, and my work with helping to make sure it was in business for 2012 made me realize that my participation is important, especially in these early years when stability is a priority.
The five-team league narrowed my choices. I have only positive feedback to share about the environment in Western N.Y. It is a quality team with a dedicated organization and great training environment. Still, sometime change can be good.
I spoke to James Galanis, coach of the Atlanta Beat and left the conversation feeling really inspired, in a different way than I had in the recent past. Coach Galanis talked to me about an environment where if I show up every day, work hard, and bring the tools I have to offer to the best of my ability, I will be an important part of the team. I was sold. I’ve never been afraid of challenges or fighting for my spot, but it’s nice to know that I can simply be the “best me,” and have faith the rest will fall into place. I am excited about the prospect of having a new “home,” and a coach to help me reach my potential
In a couple months, I will embark on a new adventure. I am extremely excited to play for Coach Galanis and with the group of players the Atlanta Beat has assembled. It surprises me sometimes how after all these years, all the challenges I’ve faced, and all the times I’ve “failed” as well as succeeded, that I can get this excited about a new situation and a new chance to play the game I love. It’s something really special to me — to enter a situation with the experience of a veteran but the enthusiasm of a young (or younger!) player.