What does it mean to be an athlete?

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.

What Soccer Taught Us In 2015

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.

20 Years of a Dream

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.”

Spreading the Roots of Women's Soccer

As we witness the sold-out-in-an-hour Victory Tour games of the U.S.W.N.T., it is an opportunity to consider how we spread the roots of women’s soccer.

Shortly after the U.S. team’s emphatic World Cup win, I walked down the path at the Berkshire Soccer Academy for Girls. It felt as if I was entering a scene from The Parent Trap, with a twist. Girls were saying goodbyes to their parents, excitedly greeting friends from last summer, and laughing while kicking soccer balls around.

3 Points to Take Away From the Women's World Cup

As Americans, we are obsessed with winners, heroes, and domination. The 2015 Women's World Cup provided all of that, to the max. The U.S. Women’s National Team did not simply win the World Cup; it was emphatically victorious. Besides creating a fairytale-esque ending to the tournament, the win has strong implications in the larger scope of women's soccer development. In an analysis of the tournament, here are three aspects of the outcome that must not be ignored.  

A Tribute to Them, to Us.

This piece is in honor of a particular type of player. I have names and faces in mind, but more generally, it is a group defined by a certain professionalism that I believe is nearly unparalleled in any other work environment. This is my tribute to a group of women who have dedicated years of passionate work and pride to their trade, often in a world that is unable to fully reward them.

Holding Soccer Drive and Devotion to a Certain Standard

It’s encouraging to witness first-hand how soccer is taking off in the United States. According to a recent survey, youth soccer participation rates increased roughly 300 percent from 1974 to 2014. During my current off-season, I have conducted a number of clinics for some of these youth players. Typically, a club will invite me in for a day, and I work with boys and (mostly) girls on and off the field. Ages and ability levels vary greatly, but I am always astounded and moved by the level of enthusiasm and eagerness I see in the players.

The Art of Pickup

We call it pickup, but for any of us who play regular small-sided games with a group, let’s be honest–we all know it’s much more serious than that. Good pickup soccer is an art. The proper balance must be met in order for everyone involved to enjoy themselves, get better, and want to come back. Just like in a movie, there are some typical characters in any pickup group. Some are integral to a great game, and some we could all do without. Let’s examine the cast of a typical pickup game…