As we bid farewell to 2014 and welcome the New Year, we raise our glasses (and water bottles) in a toast to girl athletes everywhere:
For their unapologetic competitiveness, tenacity, and the joy they have for their sport;
For the energy they put in to early morning and evening practices and the times they decline invitations so they get the rest they need to stay healthy;
For homework done in cars and buses to and from games;
For the strikes thrown and lay-ups made; for p-kicks made and face-offs taken; for spikes and sprints;
For pushing themselves, lifting their teammates, and playing with integrity and honor.
Every time…I'm a sports envoy to another country, it just reiterates how much power…this sport of soccer hasI can say quite confidently that this experience has changed my daughter's life -- and those of all the girls on the field that chilly December evening. To meet and interact, both casually and on the soccer field, with girls from another country, opened their eyes to the similarities and differences they experience as teen girls.
. It's amazing how this game can bring so many people together.
Despite language differences, they communicated perfectly in their shared "language" of soccer, where each girl knew what to do and how to play.They relished the competition and joy of the sport! Most of the girls are now connected via social media and sharing parts of their daily lives -- tweets, photos, and updates -- with their new friends across the globe. The members of the U15 team will be the first team to represent Jordan when it hosts the 2016 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup in 2016. The Jordanian team's visit was part of the US State Department's Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative and the University of Tennessee Center for Sport, Peace and Society.