Kids on the road
I'm happy to say that my National Women's Soccer League team, Sky Blue FC, is tied for first in the league with the Portland Thorns. We've had a good run lately, and six wins this season, so we're really hitting our stride as a team. Best of luck to the girls this weekend in their match with the Boston Breakers!
I'm in Toronto with the national team for a friendly game against Canada on Sunday. It's the first home game for the Canadian women's national team since the Olympics. Though some will consider it a rematch of our semifinal game in London last summer (the U.S. won 4-3 in extra time), I believe it is a great opportunity to play a quality team in a pressure situation.
It's also about getting a feel for our new coach, Tom Sermanni. He is still evaluating the team, and we're not sure what lineup will be presented. He is also trying to make us more calm and confident -- having us slow everything down first so we can pick it up when we have better command of the ball.
The game sold out in 57 minutes, so it's definitely going to be an intense environment, and it may be difficult at times to keep our emotions in check.
My 3-year-old daughter Reece is with me in Toronto. We've been on the road together since our last Sky Blue FC game against FC Kansas City on May 25. Reece travels with me a lot, and once my older daughter Rylie, a first-grader, is done with school for the year, she and my husband, Chris, will join us. In Kansas City, Reece and I shared a hotel room with Kelley O'Hara, so poor Kelley got a little sleepover for two nights.
But this trip to Toronto is a longer one, so Reece and I got our own room. Reece travels on all the same flights as the team and buses with us to the locker room; she's basically with the team during everything but training and games. We also have a nanny for the national team trips, which helps. It's my teammate Lauren Cheney's fiancé's cousin, Jade Wilson. She travels with us and Reece loves her, so there's never any crying when I have to leave for practice.
It can be tough to balance the mom duties with my soccer responsibilities, though. There are definitely times when the kids don't want me to go, which is really tough. When we were in Kansas City, I left Reece with my teammate Taylor Lytle's parents during the game. Since she wasn't as familiar with them, I knew she was a little stressed and there were some tears, but I also knew she was fine and in good hands. It's hard, but once I'm in the locker room, I just have to switch everything else off and focus on the game.
It's fun for the girls to travel with us too. They are still getting to know the Sky Blue FC players, but they've pretty much grown up around the national team. Rylie's favorite team member is Abby Wambach, since Rylie is outgoing and likes to get out of the hotel room and be active. Abby will go to the pool with her and run around the hallways. Reece's favorite player is Nicole Barnhart, who's a little quieter and likes to chill with her. They draw and do puzzles and things like that.
Despite my best efforts to hold off on getting her into competitive soccer, Rylie started playing in a recreation league a few years ago and recently started asking about the travel teams. Now she's on the Under-8 Neptune Dolphins travel team. She's doing well and loving it. She wants to be just like Abby and Alex Morgan.
For now, though, I'm still the top soccer player in my household, and I'm looking forward to this game against Canada on Sunday. I hope we will impress the crowd, stay calm and come out with a win!