100 International Games. I can’t completely put into words what this career milestone means to me, but I will do my best to express some of my feelings and a small piece of me in this post. These photos from last night might give you a better idea. I think it’s important for everyone to see that we are all human at the end of the day, and it makes me feel good sharing because I don’t do it often enough with you all.
As I sat on my flight this morning, I reminisced about last night’s monumental game and the positive two-week-USWNT camp all together. I couldn’t help but think about the path I’ve taken the past couple of years in order to get back to this place. I have experienced the ultimate rollercoaster ride as an athlete and have been rewarded with true appreciation for every opportunity, whether it be good, bad or indifferent. I’m here living for ALL of it!
It is the biggest and best honor to represent my country on the highest stage. Not many people see the amount of work it takes — emotionally, mentally and physically to be able to perform at the highest level consistently…at the level that my teammates and I do on the daily. It’s difficult to understand or grasp the idea unless you’ve been through it. That is why this moment is extra special.
For me, it has never been about the number of appearances or caps along the way. It’s about helping the team succeed; it’s about competing at the highest level; challenging myself to be better everyday in order to reach my full potential, all while chasing my dreams and building lifelong friendships with like-minded, strong and powerful badass women!
The past two years were seriously the toughest years of my life thus far and I’m not going to lie, I was really affected emotionally and mentally. I can admit I was not always in a good way. Yet somehow that experience and small kick in the ass has also been the most rewarding of my life because of where I am now. If you know me well, you know that I rarely project my feelings if they’re negative and I’ve learned through this process that its okay to not always feel perfectly fine. It’s okay to not be okay and that’s okay.
My character was tested to the max and luckily the good human came out on top. (Pun intended-haha, jokes) Experiencing struggles and getting knocked down to the floor is when I really learned my strength and resiliency. I’ll never forget the days I would struggle to just keep it together or want to seriously hang up the boots while constantly questioning my value and quality as a player. It really can wreck your mentality. I’ll never forget the multiple tough conversations with my partner Ashlyn, and some of my best friends who I confide in: Liz, Syd, Pinoe and HAO talking about my future playing “options.” I’m so grateful I listened hard to their advice because it obviously worked out for the best and they were most times spot on.
During my time away from the USWNT, I chose to put my mind and skills to other interests I have been wanting to do for a long time, but never really had the time to pursue. I started a company, hosted my first seven football camps, got my coaching license, and enjoyed spending quality time with my partner and new puppy, which we don’t get all together too often.
Every day seemed to be putting me back on track and slowly became more enjoyable. But I never lost sight of what I truly wanted, which was playing football where I belonged. So I started to use the struggle as fuel to help propel me to a new level of playing the sport that I love so much. I woke up early every day to train and stay fit to not only prepare for our club preseason, but also in hopes for that one phone call I’d been yearning for…
And at the end of March 2019, that call finally came! YOU GUYS!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! I’m going to my third World Cup…wait…whet? Yep, you read that correctly. It’s really happening and I’m so f*cking pumped. Somehow this World Cup has more meaning to me than the previous two.
I realize my story is just one of many on this team and in women’s soccer. No one of us is more important or better than the other! We all have value as athletes and humans and I’m proud to be part of USWNT’s inspirational legacy.
Anyway, I’m living in a much healthier space than I was two years ago and I wouldn’t be standing so tall today, nor would I still be strapping on my Nike boots without the continuous love and support from my Family, my brother and true hero, Kyle, my best friends from home (you know who you are), my business partner Cynthia, my incredible teammates, my coaches, my loyal Supporters, my puppy (Logan, duh), and most importantly, my fiancé, Ashlyn…I love you and thank you for being my rock and consistently showing up for me every single day. Sharing every day with you is an absolute dream come true.
I have learned that no matter what, no one has the ability to ever tell you your value. Always believe in your value and how good you are at your craft because at the end of the day, you will be impossible to ignore. I don’t say this often enough, but I’m really proud of myself and proud to represent our country…now let’s go bring that trophy home!