Top Youth Soccer Director of Coaching Carrie Taylor: If you can see it, you can be it.
I Can’t Wait To Watch The Women’s World Cup
Carrie Taylor is the Director of Coaching for Laguna United FC and a popular columnist for SoccerToday. “If you can see it, you can be it,” says Taylor.
The inaugural Women’s World Cup was held in 1991 in China. Our USA women finished atop the podium winning 2-1 versus Norway, but when they came home, there were not throngs of young fans screaming at the airport. The USA hardly knew that there was a World Cup for women back then. I knew because at the time I was a college sophomore playing on a club soccer team at the University of Michigan. Even back then, a big university like that didn’t sponsor women’s soccer as a varsity sport.
No one really knew that US women were the best in the world in 1991. But I did, I had a poster of that national team on my wall in my dorm room. I wanted to be like Joy Fawcett, and Carla Overbeck and Linda Hamilton who marshalled the back line. Women’s soccer was not even easy to find on TV, if you could watch it at all. Women’s soccer was not a strong focus and usually female players had to train on their own. Years ago, these top female players would arrive for the big match — ready to play. Today, there are multiple camps and training sessions for the players. Wow how times have changed.
Turn the back again, this time to 1993. I got to meet Linda Hamilton, who had played on the same national team that was on my poster. She was living in Michigan, working at an indoor soccer arena and training for the next national team event on her own. She applied to coach our club team and I had the honor of playing for her. Here I was playing for someone that was on a poster I had in my room! Linda killed us as a coach, she trained us like we were training for a world cup. I learned so very much from her that year. She has no idea how much she inspired me. It was that experience that made me want to be a coach. Hands down, I had found my calling because of Linda.
The following year, the University of Michigan turned our club team into a varsity program and my dream of playing Division I college soccer came true. That season I was privileged to play for Debbie Belkin, who had also been on the 1991 team. She was on my poster too. Life was amazing, here I was 21 years old and having the honor of playing for two women who had played at the HIGHEST LEVEL OF THE GAME. Holy crap, I thought, maybe I could be like them. My soccer skills weren’t going to get me to the national team — but I thought maybe I could be a coach like them.
Fast forward now to 1999. The ‘99ers won the World Cup in Los Angeles. The Rose Bowl was filled, screaming fans lined the way to the stadiums. Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy were now more widely recognized and appreciated. Soccer fans were there in the stadium with their faces painted and wearing the jerseys of their favorite players. Players like Christen Press and Whitney Engen who are now on the 2015 national team were those little girls in the stands. They were inspired, they wanted to be like Mia, Brandi, Julie.
I have had the wonderful opportunity in my life to play for the two women I mentioned above, but I have also had the opportunity to meet Mia Hamm, work on staff at Julie Foudy’s camp, and run my own clinic where Joy Fawcett was my special guest. All of them were on that poster.
That poster that hung on my wall in college has been tattered and torn. I am not quite sure where it is today. But the women in that poster remain in my life. They don’t know it but they have been instrumental to me achieving my personal goals. In my coaching life, I have had the confidence to move to Canada by myself to pursue coaching soccer, I have had the guts to apply and get a college coaching job coaching men’s soccer and have had the determination to never give up no matter how hard the battle.
With the 2015 Women’s World Cup starting this Saturday, it is imperative that we watch.
We need to encourage not only young girls that play soccer but any young girl. They will see competitive, strong, intelligent, diverse, confident women pursuing their goals with all of their being.
If you can see it, you can be it. Let me repeat that again, if you can see it you can be it.
Thank you Linda, Debbie, Mia, Joy, Julie for inspiring me to be who I am today.
Who will Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux and Coach Jill Ellis inspire this year? I can’t wait to watch.