U.S. soccer champion Lori Lindsey visited students at Sts’ailes, to give them some tips on and off the field for success in soccer, and in life.
The June 17 event began with a presentation from students and staff at Sts’ailes Community School, and a message by Chief Harvey Paul. He encouraged them to always ask questions.
“Always be curious. Keep asking questions. You’ll always learn,” he said.
The students took Paul’s advice to heart. They asked Lindsey about everything from how long she could juggle a ball (her record was 1,600), to how she was selected to be on the U.S. team. They learned that she is 35 years old, is from Indiana but lives in Washington, D.C. and that her last year in the professional soccer league (2014), she probably played 50 games.
Lindsey’s career spanned 13 years in professional soccer, including on the U.S. team for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where they took second place overall.
The students listened politely as Lindsey recounted her early years in soccer and the hard work it took to make it to the professional level of women’s soccer. When asked what her most challenging game was, she shared it was the 2011 final game against Japan for the World Cup.
“It was exhausting,” she recalls. “60,000 plus fans. Exhausting emotionally and physically.”
She says the best country she ever played in was Brazil, with its citizens full of passion for the sport and their teams.
Her advice to students?
“The biggest thing is, the games you lose, you learn the most from,” she told students. “You don’t have to get down. You can take a look at the areas for improvement.”
She shared that soccer has made a difference in her life, from learning how to work in a group to developing lifelong friendships. And, after her retirement from an impressive career at the professional level, she has an established commitment to fitness that has carried on.
“I’ve learned how to create a healthy lifestyle for myself, to stay healthy and active.”
The event was co-ordinated by the U.S. consulate, to help build connections between the United States and Canada. Sts’ailes was the only Fraser Valley site chosen for this outreach program, with one more happening in Vancouver.
“We believe sports diplomacy is one of the commonalities between our nations,” explains Glenda Ainsworth, public affairs advisor with the U.S. Consulate General.
Ainsworth says sports such as soccer provide an opportunity for friendly competition between our nations, but also unites us in our common interests. And naturally, with the FIFA World Cup on now, it was an optimal time to bring someone like Lindsey into Canadian communities to help build connections.
Following the question and answer period, the students, ranging from grades 4-12, had a chance to play some soccer under Lindsey’s supervision. The MVA’s from each team were given commemorative t-shirts that Lindsey offered to autograph for lucky young fans.