In Portugal, With the Team, but Not on the Team

ALBUFEIRA, Portugal — “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be,” the Beatles told us in “All You Need Is Love.” It’s amazing the things that come up when your iPod is on shuffle. I was on the bus heading to our second game of the Algarve Cup, against Norway, when the above line struck me with great clarity.

Twenty of the 24 players who traveled to Portugal made the Algarve Cup roster and I was not one of those players. Disappointing, yes. But I’ve tried to find value in the place in which I’ve found myself. I firmly believe that line from the Beatles’ song.

By no means do you have to be pleased or satisfied with where you are (nor should you be at times), but it can still be where you’re “meant” to be, for various reasons.

In any given moment, all you can do is your best. For me, right now, that means remaining positive, focusing on my individual training and supporting my teammates in whatever ways I can. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy or enjoyable to sit in the stands. I was glad to watch my teammates play well and beat both Japan and Norway (2-1 and 2-0), but of course I would have preferred to be on the field, or even on the bench.

My initial instinct was to say to myself, “How can I change to be better?” But a more beneficial question is really, “How can I be a better me?”

I offer something different than any other midfielder. Instead of viewing it as a competition (difficult, considering I see everything as a competition), I must embrace what makes me unique. And I genuinely respect the qualities that each of my teammates offer.

Watching the first two games of the tournament, I loved to watch Carli Lloyd making runs forward and taking players on at the top of the box. I was inspired when Heather O’Reilly ran past her defender like the girl was standing still. I was impressed by Ali Krieger’s energy to get up and down the flank. And I was excited to see how the game changed when players like Lori Lindsey and Tobin Heath came on.

We have two days off and then play Finland Monday. It’s difficult to go to the game as a spectator, but I believe that where I am is where I’m meant to be, and I will do my best to be there, present in the moment, as the best me … nothing more and nothing less.