Opportunity In The World of Soccer Is Not Equal

I wanted to share my opinion on the women’s World Cup win yesterday. The win was of course great but I thought the conduct by the players was disappointing. I apologize bc it’s a long story. I think we are all products of our own experiences so I wanted to share mine. I am happy for them and I support them 100 percent. But Im disappointed in the celebrations after all the goals. I want to explain why I feel that way. I grew up playing soccer in Seattle in the 70s and 80s and my opportunities with playing far surpass most. The State of Washington produced incredible women soccer players with Michelle Akers being the most incredible. She is an icon. Amazingly there were so many more. I like so many more wanted so badly to be a part of the national team as it was just starting out. I don’t think at the time we realized how small the pool was but when I was a senior in high school remember vividly when Ansan Dorance of UNC came to watch us play in North Seattle with the hope of being recognized. Most of us weren’t. I went to camps. I played on an amazing select team in Seattle with an amazing coach. I played for the Washington State select team. I was named to the Western Regional team with some well known names that I won’t drop. But then I got sick in the Spring of high school. My opportunities vanished. My scholarship offers were not enough to convince my parents I should go out of state. But that is not the story I wanted to tell. I just wanted you to know my background. I am not the least bit holding onto the past. I still played at the University of Washington which was still a club team then until it changed a few years later. I left soccer behind. It was a bit of a relief not having the pressure. I was small and the Physicality was more important than skill. I went to Law School. Then I moved to Guam to practice law....but opportunity struck again...Guam is a territory of the US but under FIFA is considered its own nation. After several years practicing law and playing soccer there in leagues, I became a member of the Guam National Women’s soccer team. You can only play for one national team and I was so proud to represent my new home. Life has a funny way of giving you a second chance on your opportunities sometimes. We went to Malaysia and Singapore and played friendlies. We tied Malaysia and beat Singapore 4-1. Then in 1997 we went to the Asian World Cup qualifiers for the 1999 World Cup. I was a captain with one of the best possible people you could ask for as a teammate, Kelly Hogan Morphy. She was a true island girl even though she was fair skinned. You see, we played our matches in this town called Panyu in China outside of Guangzhou. It was December. It was not cold except if you were from a tropical island so she wore a white stocking hat on her head. We were all cold! Our first match was Japan. Kelly was Sweeper and I was center midfield. I can name so many others that were on the field that day but I won’t. We had a bond though. We were a team. We spent so much time together and we played our best. But we lost more than 13-0. I think it was 14-0. It was a blur. Yesterday, I saw it in the eyes of the Thai players what I felt and it wasn’t defeat but a look of exasperation of wanting to be recognized for where we had come from. We weren’t stooges. They weren’t stooges. We were a developing nation. We were a part of women’s soccer and where it was heading. I wanted to hug all of those Thai players and tell them that. Our Guam team went on to lose to India 4-1 and Hong Kong 1-0 but I wouldn’t trade any of those minutes for anything. I just want the US women to understand that opportunity in this world is not equal. I can’t imagine what it took to get that Thai team together much less make it to the World Cup. I love this tournament so much. But I want some class too. I didn’t see it and I was disappointed. Now that I coach middle school girls this is what I want most for them and I want to see it at the highest level. The USA team may see it as a statement but I don’t.

My daughter's teammate Kari Wickland wrote this ,and gave me permission to submit it.