Sept. 24, 2007
The happenings over the past few days have made our trip to China exciting,
nerve-wracking, and adventurous!
First, we (the United States) won the "Group of Death" by defeating Nigeria in a torrential downpour. The eye of Typhoon Wipha was to strike Shanghai later that evening. Fortunately, the rain during the game was the worst of the threatening storm. Yet 6,000 soccer followers attended, and our rain-soaked U.S. fans faithfully remained and cheered us on!
To win our grouping was difficult. As a team, we knew that there was plenty of news about our play. We were well aware of our need to improve if we wanted to advance in the World Cup. However, as a coach myself, I firmly believe that sometimes winning is not pretty! There are moments in a game when persistence ("hanging in there") is desperately needed. We were doing just that.
Two days later we flew to Tianjin, a city south of Beijing, where we would train and prepare for the quarterfinal game against England, who we defeated 3-0 by playing to our potential. As a unit, the quarterfinal victory gave us confidence that we are able pull our talents together to achieve a winning result.
Before Tianjin,my family departed for home. I am over thirty, yet I was sad and feeling like a five-year old "missing my mom on the first day of school!" I also was overwhelmed, realizing that they came such a great distance to support me and the U.S. team in the World Cup. My family's support and continuous affirmation have played a major role in who I am today and in my participation on the Women's National Team.
Tonight from our Shanghai hotel we anxiously watched the Brazil-Australia match that determines whom we are to play in the semi-finals. Both teams present differing challenges for us. The next few days allow the starting players, whose legs have endured miles of running, to rest. For the subs like me, it is crucial to stay fit, sharp, and always ready to give whatever is asked of us. For some, it may be minutes in a crucial game. For others it is to encourage, refresh, and believe in the team. I always say to the NIU team, "You know your role! Embrace it with all you got!"
I strongly believe in this mantra. Everyday I remind myself of it.
In two days we bus to Hangzhou, China, to settle in for the semi-final game on the 27th.
Sunday was our second free day since our arrival in China. I followed the NIU game on GameTracker (we won 3-0!), went pearl shopping, and on a mission to find Nachos - the first food I will eat upon arrival back in the U.S.A.
Meanwhile I embrace every day here and enjoy being a part of this awesome U.S. Team!
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