Dream Big - The US Women's National Soccer Team and My Daughters

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The world we live in today is one unlike any other in history for little girls like mine.

When we tell them that they can fly into outer space, that they can save lives, that they can run companies, that they can someday become President, we know that we are telling them the truth

They can dream big and know that those dreams are possible. 

Generations of women before us made sure of that.  They fought for the right to vote, they fought for nondiscrimination, they fought for things like Title IX that ensure women the chance to play on the same field as men.

Last night, another kind of hero.  Another future to dream of.  Another chance for these little girls to reach for the stars.  On the field, the United States Women's National Soccer Team.  The gold medal winners.  The players we've come to know by one name.  They are strong and beautiful and successful.  Some of them have endorsement deals and contracts that match their male counterparts.  They are athletes at the highest level.  

In the stands, thousands of girls screaming for their team.

Someday, that could be me, they thought.  

Someday, I could be standing on a field with thousands of little girls screaming my name.  Someday I could represent my nation and wear a gold medal.  Someday I could make a career out of this game that I love.  


Dream big, girls.

Though I didn't realize it until last night, we witnessed the last game that Pia Sundhage would ever coach for the USA.  She's done what she came here to do, she's taken the game to a higher level.  Led the team to incredible success.  Changed the way we think about the sport.  And she did it all with a smile.  

Now she leaves to go home to her native land, to coach the team for Sweden.  In her last on-field interview, she was asked what she would miss the most about the team.  

Her answer?

The team.

WNT's Hope Solo and Pia Sundhage. Credit Image: © Kostas Lymperopoulos/Cal Sport Media/ZUMAPRESS.com


That's when I no longer was able to contain the tears.  I glanced at my daughter, wide eyed, watching all this unfold on the field.  Her team has been together for years.  They've persevered through major injuries, through family heartache, through moving to new houses, through the loss of a mother.  

When other things in life seemed amiss sometimes, they always knew they had each other.  The team.  Even the off-season doesn't last long for them.

This team, much like the US national team did last night, is performing their swan song.  Having one last go of it.  

Next summer, many of the girls on this team will move up to the full competitive team.  Not all of them will go.  It's a subject that I've talked to many of the other parents about already.  This team, the only team they've ever known, will cease to exist as we know it today.

I have a feeling that some of the girls won't want to play without their friends on the field.  I have a feeling that some of them will drop down to rec again.  I have a feeling that some of them will go on to have amazing college careers - maybe even stand on that big field with screaming little girls someday.  

I have a feeling that some of them may never play again once the Pumas are done.

Soccer isn't just a sport.  It's a team sport.  If you're lucky, it becomes a family.

All good things must come to an end.  Coaches move on.  Kids grow up.  Skill levels diverge.  Teams can't stay together forever.  

They can do amazing things while they are together, though, as evidenced by what we saw last night. 

As Pia took her last lap around the stadium last night, the crowd cheered her all the way.  For her leadership, for her years of service, for her love of the game.  Gratitude.

If our team can walk off the field at the end of this year united, proud of all that they have accomplished, grateful for this time together, we have won.  We have all won.

What will I miss the most next year?

The team....

the team.

First published on my blog at http://debiehive.blogspot.com/2012/09/dream-big.html

Kelly DeBie ~ Blogger, Mom, Superhero