Do you remember where you were when the women's national soccer team won the 1999 World Cup?
Meet Julie Foudy.
Lindsey and I went to hear Julie speak at Dartmouth last week. If you haven't heard of Julie Foudy, well then, I just don't know who you are!
Julie Foudy is of the Mia Hamm days, of the famed 1999 World Cup which I watched when Cope was a newborn and screaming her colicky head off. It was Julie and her pals that got me through that summer. Oh, I was so envious of them! They were just so great. Their team chemistry was unmatched.
One cannot speak of the golden age of women's soccer without mentioning Julie Foudy. At 16, Julie made the national team. There was no junior national team. It was her and Mia Hamm (who was 15), Michelle Akers, and Kristine Lilly, among others.
Julie played on the national team from 1987-2004, and was the captain from 1991-retirement. She graduated from Stanford and was accepted into the Stanford Medical School which she decided not to pursue. Now she's a mother to two and a part-time ESPN sports analyst. A retired midfielder (tough, a tons-of-running position), she's an activist for women and children, and a champion of Title IX.
Title IX sometimes gets a bad rap. Unfortunately, good intentions sometimes have unintended consequences, like minor sports being eliminated.
However, get this: In 1972, 300,000 girls were playing sports in high school
Now? Over 3,000,000!
Why is Julie a consistent advocate for girls and sports? So women can go to college and play sports. That's how it began, when a married couple both applied to law school in the 70's and the man got in, despite his wife being the better scholar. So. They started Title IX together.
Julie is funny, charming, and smart. She's feminine and touches her hair a lot :)
She spoke about all the benefits of sports and why her team was so successful.
These were the choices:
1. As a team, they chose to work their tail's off. Mantra: We will always outwork everyone. Mia Hamm did drills in the dark, the headlights of her car lighting the way if she missed a work-out. Michelle Akers had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and would require IV's in the locker room during half-time. She also showed up early and stayed late every.single.practice. Joy Fawcett had three children during her stint on the national team. She'd get out of the car during traffic jams and run lines! Kristine Lilly? Ran in the Boston snow all winter. Always, there was a wholesome discontent. WORK HARDER.
2. As a team, they chose to celebrate others. Remember that move the defender made 20 plays back? That move gave Julie the ball who gave it to Mia who scored. But remember that defender? Social media is often geared toward self. TEAM is not about "me," it's about "us." CELEBRATE THE WHOLE TEAM.
3. As a team, they chose to be courageous. Julie told a great story about a journalist who basically told the team they'd never sell enough tickets to play the world cup in big stadiums. Go smaller! With trembling fear they said, Watch and See. They went knocking door to door to sell tickets. And they filled the seats. Find the group who celebrates your dreams. GO BIG AND BE COURAGEOUS.
4. As a team, they chose to make a difference. They decided as a group that yes, they were competitive, yes they were out to win, but "We want to leave the game better than we found it." And boy did they. LEAVE IT BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT.
"Success isn't a matter of chance, it's a matter of choice."
And of course, how do you define success?
Julie emphasized, you don't have to be CEO, captain, popular, or a soccer player. As long as you are passionate, you can get it done.
There are so many ways to lead. It's simply caring enough, not listening to those who say, "Use a smaller stadium."
The most liberating thing is knowing we have that choice. Julie had a great coach who was never negative. Instead, he said, "This is what I need from you."
How does she do it all? Julie said pressure and time teach us about management. Decide what you care about. She said she cares about being a good mom first, athlete and activist second. "This is what I care about and this is how I'll spend my time." Forget the rest. Good advice for us all.
The sky's the limit, right?
Why does the sky have to be the limit?
Fit Tip Monday: Be like Julie Foudy. She may not be playing for the national team anymore, but...she kind of still is.
Play and run because you love it, play and run because it matters for those coming after you.
I'm going outside now, to kick the soccer ball with my girls and the boy.
Snow? What snow?
p.s. another amazing woman featured below...there's still time to win her book! don't you love women? i'm feeling the love this week.