I got called into the U.S. Women’s National Team when I was a 17-year-old high school junior and my first event was the 2002 Algarve Cup in Portugal. As any teenage soccer player can imagine, my emotions were a jumbled, mixed bag of nervousness and excitement. I was being called into my very first training camp with the same team that I had watched from the stands during the 1999 Women’s World Cup just three years earlier. Fortunately, my roommate was Kelly Wilson, who was also a teenager. But it was also unfortunate, as you will see.
One morning before training, Kelly and I slept through our alarm. Teenagers need their sleep, right? We just didn’t hear it so we skipped breakfast and completely missed the team meal. We got up, got ready and went to training and we thought we were in the clear. No one said anything, so we were pretty sure that no one had noticed we weren’t at breakfast.
Right before training was going to start, Julie Foudy, who was the captain of the team at the time, brings us all into a huddle - the entire team - and starts talking in a very serious tone about how “a couple of rules have been broken recently with the team.”
I’m in the back thinking, “there’s no way she’s talking about Kelly and I missing breakfast!?” But she continues and says “there have been some people that have been late to team meals; skipping team meals… people that have done things that have broken the ethos of the team. Because of that, the team is going to get on the end line and run some full-field sprints.”
"Oh man. I’m 17. It’s my first camp. And I just caused the whole team to run sprints. Before practice!"
As I’m standing on that line my thoughts turn to, “I need to crush these sprints.” It was my fault that we’re running in the first place so I need to show everyone that I’m going to make up for it and run as hard as I can.
So [former WNT head coach] April Heinrichs, who is all the way at the other end of the field, drops her hand and we all bust out of the gates.
I’m flying! I look to the right. No one there. I look to the left and I don’t see anybody.
I thinking I’m “hair on fire” out in front of the pack. I mean, I knew I was pretty fast, but I’m torching these girls. It takes me 50-60 yards of full-out sprinting before I realize…
…there’s no one else running with me.
I look behind me and there they are, the veterans of the U.S. Women’s National Team, literally rolling on the ground in hysterical laughter. (Kelly only ran like 10 yards before she realized it, by the way).
But this was their way of sort of putting their arm around us as rookies and saying “this is how we do things on the National Team. Don’t be late.” It’s a lesson I took to heart.
So now, it’s 14 years later, and I’m down to my final few breakfast meals with the WNT. And you know what? I’ve never missed breakfast again. And I never wanted to. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.