You had your own tough journey through soccer: would you change anything?
I don’t think I would. Youth soccer is quite complicated right now, but when I was younger it was easier. I’ve played for ten years in the same club, the head coach was the dad of one of the players. I was taught that if I worked hard I would get better and better. So I’ve been through good and bad times and injuries, but it’s all part of the journey I was on. To get to this point and to look back is quite amazing. I don’t really do so because I’m so busy working out each and everyday, I’ve never been the kind of player that could take things for granted. I had to earn every single minute I have on the field, and I wouldn’t want it any other way, because that made me who I am today and gave me so much strength. I know I can survive anything. I can pay more attention now at the end of my career. Looking back, it makes me so proud. Because I was not the only one involved, my friends and family supported me. It was not just for me, it was for them as well. I love this game so much, I’d play ‘til the day I die if I could (laughs).”
What are the next steps for women’s soccer?
You know, what happened with the National Team is so important, because it brought those issues to the people’s attention. Talking about the discrimination within the team is something new and only a few people did know about that. I’m so proud to know that individuals stepped up and that it can change a lot of things. So the next steps is to have a sustainable league. Some individuals – like the US players who went to Afghanistan to help create the WNT – will do things to improve the situation around the world but for me, the league has to focus on the sustainability. To the question whether the men should or not step up and take part to the cause, there might be a problem with the word “should”. It’s really up to them. If they believe in it, it would be a great thing to support the cause. Then, we will need to keep growing so that the girls would be able to play and do whatever they want to do without any prejudice. And then, of course, more women at the FIFA. More representatives at key roles. After that we would have reached an important step.
One more thing: people should stop comparing women’s and men’s soccer. We may never be as fast or physical as men, but there is still beauty in it and everyone can appreciate that. Women’s soccer has this unique ability to bring people together and it’s beautiful. We have a lot of fans that experienced adversity in their lives, LGBT or not, and to know that you have this game in which you can take part and have a role is really important: it makes you feel that you have somewhere where you truly belong. It’s life-changing and I can see it with the fans and with the Spirit, with how much we love and enjoy each other while playing.
In which city did you have your best soccer memory?
Honestly, I think it was last season, with the Spirit, in Washington, walking off the field exhausted, having given everything to my hometown. This is where I grew up and I love it. In every fiber of my body, I love this city, I love those players and I love this team. Being able to play in front of my friends, my parents and my family, being able to hug them… Those people helped me to be who I am today. I wouldn’t be who I am without my mom and my dad. To see them being able to come to the games it’s an amazing feeling, being back home is an amazing feeling.
What would you say to a girl who would be told that soccer is only for men?
(she laughs) I’d say it’s not true. Women’s soccer is a very important sport in America and playing at a very young age made me who I am. I learned so many things and important things in playing team sports like soccer. Things that will never leave you. So you may feel that you’re not accepted, you may feel that you’ve been stared at, but you need to try to do what you love. Playing the game itself brings so much happiness and I want others to feel this happiness.
Full Read : Halftime with Joanna Lohman