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"We Are the Champions"

July 21, 2019

Thanks to the rock band, Queen, we all know the words to, “We are the Champions” Today, the US Women’s Soccer National Team can literally own those lyrics.  On Sunday June 7th  in Lyon, France the US Women’s Soccer Team defeated the Netherlands Team 2-0 in the final match of the Women’s World Cup. Congratulations, to everyone involved in this historic victory.  What an amazing accomplishment!  It is world changer, who’s’ impact will reverberate for generations with unknown collateral outcomes   Yes, there are people who would be dismissive and critical of the excesses of organized and commercialized sports for good reason.  On the other hand, I personally feel that there is much to champion, regarding this unique event and lessons that we might do well to learn from it.

For perspective, here is a bit of the basic information about the Women’s World Cup and the United States Women’s National Soccer Team

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup was the eighth edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup, the quadrennial international football championship contested by 24 women's national teams representing member associations of FIFA. It took place between 7 June and 7 July 2019, with 52 matches staged in nine cities in France, which was awarded the right to host the event in March 2015.

The United States women's national soccer team represents the United States in international women's soccer. The team is the most successful in international women's soccer, winning four Women's World Cup titles, four Olympic gold medals and eight CONCACAF Gold Cups. They have metaled in every World Cup and Olympic tournament in women's soccer history from 1991 to 2015, before being knocked out in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The team is governed by United States Soccer Federation and competes in CONCACAF.

Soccer, much less women’s soccer is by no mean everyone’s cup of tea in the United States. However, this information on the United States Women’s Soccer Team should cause even the least sports-oriented individual to take pause to evaluate the team’s monumental achievements and  ongoing success. Remember, “success breeds success” and I don’t know anyone who would not like to experience more success.  Do you?

 

1. Leadership and team works are the Keys to Success

 The team’s coach, Jillian Anne Ellis, is an English-American football coach. She coaches the United States women's national soccer team and is the development director of the United States Soccer Federation, overseeing the national youth team’s development program. In 2015 and 2019, the United States Women's National Soccer Team won the World Cup Championship under her leadership making her the second coach winning a world cup back to back.

The team’s captains are: Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Alex Morgan.  Each of the talented women athletes is a tour de force themselves. Collectively they have proven to be unstoppable on and off the soccer field.  Rapinoe won the Women’s World Cup’s Golden Boot trophy, Lloyd Morgan was named Women’s Athlete of the Year at the ESEY Awards recently in New York.

Jillian Ellis and the team captains are the foundation for the team’s victorious campaign.   Twenty more, women’s soccer “Incredibles” comprised the team’s rooster and each added their unique priceless contributions.

 

2. Criticism is the Constant Companion of Success

No matter how much success one may experience, there will always be the voice of criticism clamoring for attention and support.

The Women’s United States National Soccer Team has had its share of critics and then some, despite their success

The Coach- Jill Ellis

Comments by Hope Solo previous goal keeper of USWMT, “Jill is not the leader I wish her to be” Solo said. “She relies heavily on her assistant coaches. She cracks under the pressure quite a bit. But often that doesn’t matter because the quality of the players on the U.S. team is superb. It doesn’t matter who is coaching us because we will find a way to win. The United States knows how to find a way to win despite who the coach is.”  

The team members  

 The U.S. national team drew criticism for its goal celebrations in France. Particularly, the repeated celebrations after every goal   in a 13-0 rout of Thailand, which some said were unsportsmanlike.

Alex Morgan was criticized for pretending to sip tea after scoring the go-ahead goal in Tuesday night's semifinal victory over England.

It seems that OD (opinion dysfunction) is an epidemic these days.  Everyone has an opinion, most are critical, and few recognize the obvious facts.

 

3.Our best efforts will not necessarily bring quick success.

Even though the Americans were the odds-on favorite to win the tournament, the score at the end of the first half of the final match, proved that it wasn’t a sure thing.The Netherlands’ squad kept the US from scoring in the first half.The Netherlands's goalkeeper rejected kick after kick.The first half suggested clearly that this game was not in the bag and that it was anybody’s to win. This was not the first time the US team faced a challenge, but this was the final and winning would cement their names in sport’s history.Team USA was in the pressure cooker. The Netherlands's victory would be unbelievable. They would become the David that defeated Goliath. What was said in the locker rooms at halftime? It is doubtful we will ever know. So, let’s imagine. Maybe it could have been something like this. The next 45 minutes will determine your destiny, you can realize all of you dreams, if you can preserve and find a way to score. They persevered and found a way. It was not quick or easy. It required their best skills and emotional fortitude.

 

As indicated above, I believe that there are several significant lessons to take way from the example of these “Champions”.  Here are three that might be valuable.

 

1. If we hope to see our goals and dreams come true, we need to work with a team of proven leaders and dedicated team members who are willing to do whatever it takes. 

 

2.   No one is ever going to be everyone’s favorite.  Successful people seem to attract much more   criticism that less successful people. If you are facing unbelievable criticism, you must be doing something right.   Your best response to criticism is your success.

 

3. Persevere and find a way.  Success seldom visits;the weak hearted, quick quitting, excuse makers.  There is no such thing as an overnight success.  If you have a goal, hold on to it.  Invest everything you can towards your goal and believe you will achieve it.  Never abandon your goal.  “If at first you don’t succeed; try, try again.”   

 

 

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