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.
“From this platform as a superstar athlete, Cindy has coached, mentored, and advocated…. Cindy’s involvement in the lives of young athletes has reached beyond the 50 states. Since 2007, she has been a sports envoy for the U.S. State Department, focusing on sport transcending culture and language; leadership education; AIDS prevention; and coaching education.... Having cited post-concussion syndrome when she retired as a player, Cindy is working to make the game safer for the next generations. Since 2008, in concert with the Sports Legacy Institute, Cindy has helped lead an awareness campaign on the dangers of heading the ball, seeking to delay the practice until players are in high school. In this and so many steps of her life, Cindy has walked the talk of youth development and social responsibility.”Since 2010, Cindy has been involved with Goals for Girls, an international initiative that helps disadvantaged girls across the globe by providing access to health and education programs taught through the game of soccer. Because of Cindy’s role as a spokesperson for Dragonwing, we take special pride in this award. It’s an honor to be affiliated with such a tremendous advocate and mentor for the power of sports to improve the lives of girls.
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.
Senior night will be for me. It’s my last year in the CA jersey. Whaat.Despite twinges of nervousness after not playing for 10 months -- "I had no idea how good or bad I would be getting back into it" -- her overwhelming feeling was how much she loves the sport and the competition. Emma has high hopes for the team's season. "I think our team is pretty stacked, and I personally believe a state championship is in our future." Isn't that how every season should start? Subscribe to Emma's blog so you can follow along.
There have been many articles and efforts to improve safety on the soccer field for women and girls. As an update to our posts of six years ago, I provide new information on prevention and training alternatives from Cindy Parlow Cone and Excelle.com
Our original articles are here:
and new information can be found here:
Check out these excellent video on the what Cindy Parlow Cone's experience learning to head the ball at 18 -and still being a World Cup Champ and Olympian!
Happy birthday to Cindy Parlow Cone, three-time NCAA Women's Soccer Champion and founding member of the Women's United Soccer Association, former head coach for Portland Thorns FC and in her first year as coach in her first year as head coach of the Portland Thorns, led the Thorns to the NWSL Championship. Parlow was a member of the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic, and 1999 and 2003 Women's World Cup, teams. Parlow Cone played professionally for the Atlanta Beat for three years and was the Coaching Director of 13-18 year-old girls' programs at the Triangle United soccer league. Cindy is a co-founder of Goals for Girls. Birthday --May 8th.
But the most powerful aspect of the Women's World Cup -- the part that brings a lump to my throat -- is the inspiration, hope, and role models that the players provide to millions of girls worldwide. Their commitment, perseverance, and love of the game says it all: "DREAM BIG. WORK HARD. COMPETE FIERCELY. PLAY JOYFULLY. YOU CAN DO IT!"In addition to all the amazing soccer play (how about England's go-ahead goal versus Norway?!), there have been some perceptive and thought-provoking stories about the significance and value of the Women's World Cup. Here are a few that I've particularly enjoyed: "Why the Women's World Cup Needs You to Watch," by Peter Macia in Vogue magazine The numbers of viewers, on TV and online, are vitally important, Macia argues, to sponsors, to players, to women's sports in general, and to girls watching and playing around the world. (There's that inspiration again!) "What Women's Sports Can Learn from the Colombian Women's Team," by Kate Fagan on ESPNW Given the audiences in stadiums and watching the games on screens of all kinds, there are signs of legitimacy for international women's soccer, writes Fagan. But "the final mile marker will be when everyday fans…feel comfortable offering criticism, second-guessing the coach and the choices, and putting the play itself under a microscope…. These are the conversations that fuel men's sports.
Imagine being knowledgeable enough about women's sports and knowing enough about a women's team to think you know better than the coach or a player in the game's closing minutes. Imagine knowing who else could have been the coach and which players the team might have signed. Then imagine being confident enough to actually admit you're into women's sports.""8 Reasons We Love the Women's World Cup," by SoccerGrlProbs for ESPNW World-class talent, worldwide impact, super fans and more.
To the Editor of The New York Times: In focusing on body size and muscularity of the women playing at Wimbledon, Dan Rotherberg perpetuates the standard that female athletes need not only excel at their sport but also meet a societal standard for beauty while doing so. (“Tennis’s Top Women Balance Body Image with Ambition,” July 10) Would the Times run a story about NFL linebackers balancing their body image with their athletic ambitions? By running the article, the Times gives credence to a double standard, one that female athletes of all ages battle regularly. Simply because some women athletes or coaches make training decisions based on body size does not make it newsworthy. The US Women’s National Team’s World Cup victory inspired millions of girls worldwide. Like the women playing at Wimbledon, these athletes are role models for young girls. We owe it to young fans of every sport to highlight the discipline, commitment, hard work, and athleticism of female athletes and not the size of their forearms or thighs.Regardless of whether my letter is published, I will continue to speak up for women and girl athletes, for their right to be taken seriously and to play fiercely. The focus on body image -- some call it "body shaming" -- is an unfair and unwanted burden on women and girls. To female athletes of all ages: When a reporter (from your school paper to the New York Times) asks a question about your appearance, change the conversation. Turn the questions around to what is important -- the high level of your play, the discipline and hard work you devote to your game, and the recognition you and your team have earned. Don't be limited by reporters who are perpetuating a limiting and oppressive paradigm for women. Join us and millions of others in a movement to empower girls and women by what they have accomplished and what they can achieve, not by how they look.
To sports girls everywhere: Be strong. Develop your body and mind to play your game to the best of your ability. Strive to be your best self. Have fun and be proud to PLAY LIKE A GIRL!