This article is part of the USA Women's Eagles Final in '14 blog. All entries are written exclusively by members of the women's national team.
A great friend and strength coach, Eric Sobolewski, once told me that his personal motto and the one he gave his athletes was simple: find a way.
He probably has no idea how much that stuck with me, but it’s been an incredibly transformative mantra. Through grueling workouts, practices at six a.m., sick days, and when life really seemed to not want me to win, the idea of “finding a way” has allowed me to refocus, regroup and resurface even stronger. I learned the value of just showing up and figuring out a way to get it done, even if it was a long, far-from-perfect road.
The reality of our collaborative journey really hit me when Pete was giving his pre-jersey ceremony speech before our second match in Canada. I don’t remember the details verbatim, but he was saying something about the importance of symbols and what America stands for. He didn’t grow up in America, but he proudly stands by our flag as an American because of what it represents. Shaina Turley gave a similar jersey ceremony speech at the OTC. Standing tall in a symbol we all recognize and respect, a military uniform, she shared with us one of the most beautiful national anthem moments I’ve seen.
The entire hotel stopped to listen to our anthem. Our American symbol and all that we stand for. I’ve never been a big history buff, but I know enough to comprehend the gravity of what the red, white, and blue really means.
Back in our little pavilion in Canada, we each shared words of inspiration and support from those outside of our national team bubble. We train so hard every day and make serious sacrifices, and sometimes, within that, we lose sight of what we’re really in this for. One by one, each player shared a story of the lives they had touched: a grandmother, a young player, a 1991 World Cup winner. Even the men and women in uniform were inspired by us.
So in the 70th minute of the second match against Canada, when I could only see out of one eye, we had just gotten scored on, and the rain was pouring down, there it was again. I knew we had to find a way. For all of those who came before us and who came after us. I knew I had to get off the ground and throw my body in to that next tackle. For the people standing right next to me. For the 50 stars and 13 stripes on that flag. For all the love, joy, pain, history and grit the people of the United States of America have in their hearts.
We are honored with 80 minutes of representing our country each time we take the field. Yeah, we didn’t come out winners this time. But we live to fight another day. We live to find a way.