Soccer….Family Style


Bomb Pops, Party of Five! #FIFAWWC #USA #USWNT #1N1T
June 12, 2015, 4:58 pm
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Three Bomb Pops for Game Day
June 12, 2015, 2:42 pm
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These three…that’s what it’s all about. Happy World Cup game day everyone!



My Story Behind Growing Pains
March 12, 2015, 10:20 pm
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Oh…that awkward moment the internet tries to claim you’re a shameless self promoter and you realize you haven’t updated your blog since August. But that’s the thing. When I heard Noah Davis was working on a story about people who’d struggled with American Outlaws, I didn’t race to talk to him. Truth is, I discovered at MLS All Star game (my last post) that we are finally expecting our third child this April. This is not the time in my life that I need to create havoc for my family. But it’s been bothering me that I stopped writing about the game I love.

What’s not in the article is that when I announced my pregnancy to my friends via Facebook, someone took the time to create two Twitter accounts to harass me and announced my pregnancy on Twitter before I wanted it to be public. The account talked about my family in unfriendly ways, and at the game in Hartford last fall, and the breach of privacy left me feeling vulnerable. I got the account blocked, but the invasion of my privacy stuck with me and I didn’t want to write any more. It was only made worse when an Outlaw friend of mine private messaged me that the chapter leader (edit: I believe Drew is now ex president) of AO Knoxville was bragging that he’d been behind the harassing Twitter accounts. I sent AO national this information, but their response was that the account had already been suspended by Twitter (at my request). Here was yet another opportunity for AO to reiterate their own harassment policy and back it up with consequences, and they neglected to step up.

So I just stopped posting. I stopped promoting my book. I was exhausted from the pregnancy, so I told myself it was because I didn’t have time, but in my heart, it made me sick that a group I loved and helped grow for so many years had blackened my love of the game. My experiences at the hands of American Outlaws made me not want to talk about soccer…and that’s wrong. It was wrong of me to only talk about it via private message to national leadership. When Noah Davis contacted me and said the article was practically written, but requested a comment, I thought this was a way I could live with myself again. He assured me his message was not to tear AO down, but to talk about the issues that were weakening this growing organization in the hopes that the subsequent dialog would build a better soccer culture.

Flash forward to today. I read the first sentence and closed the window. The couple lines I envisioned in paragraph six was transformed into the reality that I was headlining the article. This is not what I needed at 35/40 weeks pregnant. It took several hours for me to work up the nerve to read it, bolstered by the quotes sent by friends reminding me why I spoke out in the first place….there were plenty of people who shared experiences off the record, but if people were going to harass me on the internet over a pregnancy announcement, I should at least put my voice to good use.

It’s not perfect. There are inaccuracies. But the overall message is on target. Love me or hate me… there’s no room for harassment in sports. Women, all women, should be comfortable being a part of AO. Davis spoke to me and I shared my real experiences. If that upsets you, I don’t know what to say. If your experiences are positive, I’m so happy for you. AO is so vastly different from coast to coast, and my great experiences have outweighed my bad experiences, but they don’t cancel the bad stuff out. How can we have #UniteandStrengthen as our battle cry and not want to do better at all chapters?

The one critical point I want to make is that my family is still AO active. What I said about leaving AO was regarding stepping down as a chapter leader. I didn’t feel like I could be a part of leadership when I didn’t feel like AO Nat’s had my back. I want a strong supporter culture for US Soccer, and there’s no arguing that AO has a place in that culture. We can do better, and I hope the discussion that follows this article is less about denial and more about what the best American Outlaws and the best US Soccer supporter culture looks like.



Pregaming for Netherlands vs Argentina – Family Style
July 9, 2014, 2:18 pm
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My kids have been pretty low key after chasing around Brazil for three weeks. The three of us haven’t aspired to much other than unpacking, catching up with laundry and friends, and of course, watching soccer. My son, having found fame via his goal celebration, has been telling me he wants to become a YouTuber and make videos for the internet (yes, he’s still six). Well son, consider the gauntlet thrown. My friend, Elizabeth Vantre, posted this trailer for today’s semifinal that’s pretty freaking awesome. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10204110052052439



Day Off in Pipa
June 18, 2014, 3:43 pm
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We had a day off of travel in Pipa after the US match, and decided to spend the day hanging out with friends. We slept in then walked into town for lunch, having already missed breakfast at our apartment. After sandwiches and coffee, we milled around as Doug and the kids went off in search of an ATM that worked and I wrote. We took a swim in the ocean before rejoining the gang at Tribus Cafe for Brazil vs Mexico.

The game ended in a frustrating tie, after so many scoring chances without result, but the crowd was anything but impartial. People were packed into every conceivable corner, standing or sitting on the floor to squish in. We drank Bohemia pilsners and enjoyed the atmosphere created by singing and cheering Brazilian fans combined with people jamming the streets outside, lighting off fireworks either in celebration or frustration. Brazilians are said to have the attitude that “everything will work out.” They certainly seemed calm after leaving what Americans considered important points on the table. It’s refreshing, after the incessant hand wringing of American soccer fans. Up next: Manaus!



Ghana – The Third Time’s the Charm – The End of Suffering for US Soccer vs Ghana
June 17, 2014, 3:03 pm
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world cup fever

We beat Ghana, my son’s goal celebration went worldwide.

Last night was the perfect end to an eight year suffering. Leading up to this game, I was remembering getting eliminated by Ghana in Germany and South Africa. In Germany, I remember our daughter happily dancing around Kaela, Monty, and the rest of my soccer family as we bitterly drank our beers at a biergarten overlooking a river in Nuremburg. I was so disappointed in South Africa, knowing that we could have gone so much further in the tournament if not for a few errors in coaching the Ghana game. Now we have the coach I want, the team I want, and yes, the group I want.

We got to the stadium and found our place in the stands, so happy to have my family and our best travel buddies with us. When we scored in the first minute, I looked at Doug and screamed “this is going to be the longest 89 minutes of my life” making reference to what he screamed to me in the US vs Portugal game in 2002. No one can say it was a beautiful game, but last night, my children became real soccer fans. They no longer distract themselves for 90 minutes. Aviva was glued to the action, screaming at the referee, directing the players, and around the 75th minute grabbing me, screamed, “This is SO intense!” Raphael is only six, and he was exhausted from traveling, but he perked up when Ghana scored, and was engaged enough by the time the US went up again he is now “that kid in the goal celebration being broadcast non-stop and world-wide.”

It was deeply emotional for many of us who’ve suffered though getting sent home by Ghana twice in a row. The vindication was palpable and to share it immediately with so many of our lifelong soccer friends was amazing. But even better was having my children with me. I talked to Doug on the way home about comparing last night’s match to the US vs Portugal game in 2002. It may not have been a “shock the world” win, but watching my children fall more deeply in love with the World Cup will make this game rank pretty high in my list of best games ever. They’ve enjoyed going to games in the States, but last night, they got to experience the World Cup in person for the first time as players. I will never forget watching their transition to ultra fans.

UPDATE: I had no idea what was happening back in the States as we celebrated in Brazil. This YouTube video has clips of the Brooks goal celebration from around the USA. At 2:19, you can see my son celebrating on the big screen in Rio. Many lifelong USMNT fans were minted on that day.



We Are Going to Brazil (Right NOW!)
June 17, 2014, 10:14 am
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I can believe I’m finally sitting on a plane on my way to Brazil. We’ve been planning this trip for so many years, but in the rush to finish “Passionate Soccer Love” and get it published and into the world, I lost track of time and suddenly, the World Cup is here with all the emotion it brings with it. This will be my sixth men’s World Cup traveling with my husband, the third with our daughter (if you count her “obstructed view” seat in Korea) and my son’s first World Cup.

                Many people have asked how we can take kids to the World Cup either because of the expense, safety concerns, or just the hassle of traveling with children multiplied by the World Cup. The thing is, having a three and a half year old with us in Germany made that trip so much more than if we’d gone by ourselves. Seeing her wonderment at a foreign country was an experience I’ll never forget, even if she’s forgotten many of the trip details.

                So here we go…with our 11 year old and 6 year old to the world’s greatest sporting event. Wish us luck. 




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