Cindy Parlow Cone’s path to the National Soccer Hall of Fame started with a decision she made as a 16-year-old – to leave Germantown High School in Memphis a year early and enroll at the University of North Carolina.
“The whole reason behind going to UNC early was to try to make the 1996 Olympic team,” Parlow Cone recalled on the eve of her induction as part of the 2018 National Soccer Hall of Fame Class. “The crazy thing to me now is why I even felt like I had a chance to make that team. I had never been a part of the National Team. In retrospect, it set my life on a whole new course.”
That course included three national championships at UNC, two national collegiate Player of the Year trophies, four All-American awards, two Olympic Gold medals, one bronze, a World Cup championship, and now a spot in the National Soccer Hall of Fame, which opens the doors to its newest permanent home in Frisco, Texas on the weekend of Oct. 20, 2018. “It’s really nice to be honored this far past your playing career,” she added. “Hopefully people have seen that I’ve tried to continue to have a positive impact on our game.”
Trying to Absorb the Moment
That decision to attend UNC 23 years ago began an 11-year National Team career starting with the 1996 Olympics, the first Games in history to include a Women’s Football Competition. “Just being a part of the Olympics was unbelievable,” said Parlow Cone, a rangy attacking midfielder throughout her more than decade-long career. “I was like a kid in a candy store. I took pictures of everything and just tried to absorb every moment. I didn’t know if it would be my last time.”
Parlow (far right) celebrates winning the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup with teammates Kristine Lilly (left) and Tisha Venturini.
Her role with the National Team went from a seldom-used sub in ’96 to a prominent role in 1999. She started all six games of the 1999 World Cup and scored twice en route to a historic world title for the U.S. WNT. “In ’99, I remember feeling like our sport had finally arrived,” said Parlow Cone, who later went on to coach the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, first as an assistant and then as head coach. “It was just so cool to see our sport and our team having such an impact, and it was amazing to see that impact continue after the World Cup in the growth of our sport and girls sports.”
Being elected to the Hall of Fame has given her a chance to reflect. Parlow Cone’s National Team career spanned 158 games, and her 75 goals ranks fifth all-time for the U.S. But when she thinks back, it’s not the goals or victories that stand out. “It just keeps coming back to the people,” she said. “So many people have impacted my life in so many ways. I made the [U.S. National] Team when I was 17, so in those really formative years I was surrounded by some great people and great leaders, really intelligent and strong women. It shaped who I am.”
Captain for Life
She points to two people in particular. “I always try to learn something from everyone I meet, and I truly think I learned something from every teammate I had. But if I had to point to a couple I really learned a lot from, one would definitely be Carla Overbeck. I call Carla my Captain for Life. I learned how to treat people, how important it was to get to know everyone and how to motivate them.
“She [Overbeck] went out of her way to come to my room when I was injured in my first camp. She talked to me for like 30 minutes, which had to be painful because I probably said two words the entire time. For the captain of the National Team to do that for me was amazing.”
The other is the player she roomed with on her first international trip. “For the trip to Brazil in January of ‘96, they roomed me with Mia Hamm,” she said. “I was like ‘Oh my God.’ I had her poster in my room back home. I didn’t know what to do. She would get a phone call, and I would be like ‘Should I leave, should I stay, what do I do?’ But she was super nice.”
What really stayed with Cindy is how Hamm handled the withering public attention. “Mia was in the spotlight all the time,” she explained. “Everyone wanted a picture with her, wanted her autograph, wanted to talk to her. Just watching how she handled all that was incredible. She is a quiet, reserved, private person not seeking the limelight, but she knew how important her role was for our team and our game.”
Hamm Guides the Way
“[Hamm] always talked about her team and always deflected praise back to her teammates. It was just a really impressive thing to watch,” added Parlow Cone, full of praise for an understated legend of the game. It had to be challenging and exhausting for someone as introverted as her. But seeing her navigate all that and how selfless she was at every turn will always stay with me.”
Parlow Cone at training with famed coach Anson Dorrance, who coached her at UNC and with the WNT.
Parlow Cone uses all she learned over her years as a youth soccer coach. She is a Director of Coaching for girls with the North Carolina Football Club, a 13,000-player club in the Triangle area of North Carolina, where she lives with her husband John and their son Steven, who turned a year old on Oct. 11 “The biggest adjustment in coaching was I had to set my competitiveness aside,” she says. “I had to meet players where they were and then help them get to where they want to be.”
And Cindy Parlow Cone, from her own journey from Germantown High to the National Team and now the Hall of Fame, knows how to get you where you want to be.Read more
FRISCO, Texas. (Oct. 14, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s National Team booked its spot at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup by rolling past Jamaica 6-0 in the semifinal of the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship. It will be the eighth consecutive World Cup appearance for the USA, which has appeared in each of the previous seven tournaments that have been contested and winning in 1991, 1999 and 2015.
The USA scored inside the first 10 minutes in its fourth consecutive game at this tournament with Tobin Heath finding the net just 100 seconds into the game. She then added another goal later in the half for her second career multi-goal game. Megan Rapinoe scored on a beautiful finish in the 15th minute to expand the lead to 2-0. Julie Ertz and Alex Morgan also tallied to hand the USA a 5-0 advantage at halftime. By the end of a dominant first half, the USA had out-shot Jamaica 15-1.
To begin the second 45, the USA made a couple of subs and continued to control the pace of the game and maintained its shooting advantage (11-2 in the second half). The only goal of the frame came via a penalty kick awarded to Morgan, who buried the shot for her 96th international score.
In the first match of the day, Canada defeated Panama 7-0, to earn its berth at the 2019 World Cup and advanced to Wednesday’s championship game vs. the USA. Panama will face Jamaica earlier that Wednesday (5 p.m. ECT; FS2) with the winner of that game claiming the third automatic berth to the 2019 World Cup. The fourth-place finisher will head into a two-game playoff vs. Argentina in November.
The USA and Canada will then clash at 8 p.m. ET for the right to be crowned Concacaf champions. The match will be broadcast on FS1 or FS2 depending on the MLB Playoffs schedule. The game will also be available on UDN.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Tobin Heath, 2nd minute: The USA scored just one minute and forty seconds into the game when a Kelley O'Hara cross from the right side was poorly cleared to the feet of Lindsey Horan. She collected, made room for her shot and fired on goal. Jamaica goalkeeper Sydney Schneider made the save with a dive to her left, but couldn't hold the ball, and Heath, who had drifted into the penalty area from the right wing was all alone to blast home the rebound with her left foot from just outside the six-yard box. USA 1, JAM 0. WATCH GOAL.
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Abby Dahlkemper), 15th minute: The USA doubled its lead after a world class long ball from Abby Dahlkemper – that she struck from inside her own defensive half – flew from the right side all the way over to the streaking Rapinoe on the left flank. Rapinoe brought the ball down in stride wonderfully on her chest and raced into the penalty area with a defender in tow before smashing a left-footed blast into the roof of the net from the corner of the six-yard box. USA 2, JAM 0. WATCH GOAL.
USA – Julie Ertz (Crystal Dunn), 21st minute: The third goal came off a brilliant cross from Dunn who ran down a pass deep in the left corner. She then sent a perfect, left-footed service to the far post where Ertz hammered home a header from close range. USA 3, JAM 0. WATCH GOAL.
USA – Tobin Heath (Lindsey Horan), 29th minute: Heath bagged her brace on a nice piece of ball possession on the left flank that pulled the Jamaica defense to that side. Heath then snuck in behind the defense in the right side of the penalty area and Horan found her with a perfectly chipped pass. Heath's finish was clinical as she struck a left-footed volley past the onrushing Schneider and into the right side of the goal. USA 4, JAM 0. WATCH GOAL.
USA – Alex Morgan (Megan Rapinoe), 33rd minute: The USA scored yet another goal off a set play to go up 5-0 as Rapinoe spun a cross on the ground into the penalty area off a free kick from outside the penalty area on the left side. Morgan lost her mark struck a first-time shot through traffic and into the net from the top of the six-yard box for her 95th career goal. USA 5, JAM 0. WATCH GOAL.
USA – Alex Morgan (penalty kick), 84th minute: Alex Morgan freed herself on the right side and ran towards the goal when a Jamaica defender grabbed her by the waist, bringing her down inside the penalty box. The referee pointed to the spot, and Morgan stepped up and sent the ball into the left side of the goal for her third brace of the tournament in the three games she’s played in so far. USA 6, JAM 0. WATCH GOAL. FINAL.
Additional Player Notes:
- Tobin Heath scored her second career brace tonight (last one was on Oct. 17, 2014, also in World Cup qualifying), and has upped her career total to 25. Heath has scored in three of the four games in this tournament, and in her last four appearances for the WNT. She did not play vs. Panama on Oct. 7. It was her seventh start this year in her 141st cap. She becomes the 23rd player in U.S. history with 25 or more goals.
- Alex Morgan scored her 22nd career brace and upped her international goal total to 96 in her 150th cap. So far, she has scored six goals in the tournament – three braces, one in each game she has played. At age 29, she sits in sole possession of seventh place on the USA's all-time goal scoring list and is third all-time in two-goal games (22), behind only Abby Wambach (37) and Mia Hamm (28). She’s scored 23 goals over her last 23 WNT matches. She leads the WNT with 16 goals in 2018.
- Captaining the USA for the second time in the tournament, Megan Rapinoe scored her 41st international goal tonight and her seventh of 2018. Like Heath, Rapinoe has also scored in three games so far in this tournament. She also did not play against Panama on Oct. 7. Rapinoe leads the USA with 12 assists on the year and now has 56 for her career and is now in sole possession of sixth place all-time for the U.S. WNT.
- Julie Ertz scored her 18th career goal tonight, her second of the tournament and fourth of the year. It was the 26-year-old’s 70th cap tonight. Ertz now has scored three goals in her last five international appearances
- Abby Dahlkemper earned her second assist of the year on a beautiful long ball to Rapinoe. It was her 27th cap tonight.
- Lindsey Horan, who has played in every game for the USA this year, earned her seventh assist of 2018 tonight.
- Crystal Dunn earned her second assist of 2018 on a perfect cross to Ertz. It was her 72nd international appearance and 12th start of 2018.
- Alyssa Naeher recorded her 19th career shutout and third of the tournament tonight.
Additional Team Notes:
- The USA is 15-0-2 in 2018, with wins against Denmark, Germany, England, Mexico (thrice), China PR (twice), Japan, Brazil, Chile (twice), Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica; and ties against Australia and France.
- The USA is unbeaten in its last 25 matches (22-0-3), and has outscored its opponents 89-17 through that stretch, scoring in all 25 games.
- The U.S. has now scored 4+ goals in six of its last seven games and in five straight.
- Six of the USA’s 24 goals in this tournament have come via headers.
- Ten different players have scored in the tournament thus far (24 total goals): Alex Morgan (6), Tobin Heath (4), Carli Lloyd (3), Megan Rapinoe (3), Rose Lavelle (2), Julie Ertz (2), Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan, Christen Press and Samantha Mewis.
- U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis’ three subs tonight were: Morgan Brian for Julie Ertz and Christen Press for Megan Rapinoe, both in the 46th, and Emily Sonnett for Rose Lavelle in the 58th.