A while ago, we got equipment from a U16 team called Merced United. They had collected equipment and didn’t know where they wanted to donate it. Then SULA came across their desk and a really awesome thing happened.
Here are some pictures of a couples teams in Haiti who benefited from the warm hearts of that same U16 team in Merced, CA. It’s a wonder how influential kids can be, how a simple cleat drive can touch people they didn’t even know. SULA is so happy to be “in” Haiti and hope that Merced United can see this and forever know that the equipment they donated is being put to great use!!
Merci Merced United!
SULA is SO proud to announce their most recent partnership with Tracy Soccer League.
Life is funny and sometimes it puts you in a situation you are very surprised about. One day, I was at an appearance for the Bay Area Breeze (I just walked around a tournament, but appearance sounds so much better). I was there promoting a clinic and met a really cool family. Let me explain a little more about why things happen that sometimes shock me…this family wasn’t even there for the tournament I was supposed to be working.
As we started talking, Kimberly Lucero told me that she and her business partners just took over a recreational program in Tracy, CA. Wow. What a great adventure for her! So, in return I bragged a little bit about how awesome SULA is. Flash forward to this past week. Her new league, the Tracy Soccer League and SULA Soccer Training are partnering up to make this league something special! And all because she decided to go to that park, on that day!
Amazed and excited. SULA can’t wait to get started and to watch this league grow.
Thank you to the Lucero family for wanting some sunshine that warm summer day and to Kimberly for taking the time out to tell me about her adventure. Now, we are in this together!!!
So, soccer is weird. Sometimes we are really happy about very little accomplishments to the common eye. For instance, this man who plays basketball always told me that it was more fun to watch basketball because there’s this huge ball, huge people, a small net, and a million points. In soccer, we have one HUGE net, and we get very excited about one little ol’ goal (his words not mine). When you read this, bare in mind that us soccer players don’t get to score a ton, so we take pride in the little things.
Onto the game against Australia. Now, before I tell you the score, if I even will, let me tell you that I’ve played with this team for over three years and I haven’t seen them play this well in a very long time. Discipline. That is one of the demons in any professional athlete wanting to get better. Don’t eat Taco Bell. Don’t eat donuts. Don’t eat all the best worst food in the world. How? Discipline. And just for the record, I eat all of those things. We had SO MUCH discipline. And that is a struggle for all teams playing in a new system with new teammates. You want to default to doing what feels comfortable instead of what the “team plan” is. I fall accustom to this often. Especially when I am forced to not run when it feels like I should. Discipline. I need more of that.
The team looked amazing. Did I mention that Australia is No. 8 in the world right now and it wasn’t a blow out! They scored all of their goals within the first 30 minutes. Then we got disciplined. And they didn’t score again. It’s amazing what an underdog (and I only say underdog because Haiti isn’t even in the top 50 teams), it’s amazing what we can do if we stay disciplined. I am always amazed by my team. The strength. The will to continue. The pure ability for our forward, Manoucheka Pierre Louis to do a bicycle kick mid-game! I almost forgot about that. Again. Amazed.
So, unfortunately, I had to leave them again, BUT they get to go home when they haven’t in a very long time. Families are missed, their home cooked meals are missed, and of course, being able to speak their own language ALL the time is sorely missed.
Even though I can’t wait to play with my sisters again, it’s great that they are going home to see their OTHER loved ones. I am so proud to have had the opportunity to play with my team tonight. M’ap sonje ekip mwen!
Have you ever caught yourself asking “why me?” Why am I not taller? Why can’t I run faster? Why is it that my sister got the long hair? Obviously, I’ve asked a few “why’s” in my day. But do you ever notice that we only question life when it isn’t going our way? Well, today I discovered an answer to a “why” that I hadn’t even asked because it must not have made the “why” cut; possibly because it was too positive.
Let me explain. I met two men today who kind of made me realize the impact of me being here can make. These men and I share a very important common goal: help the Women’s Haiti National Team get the respect they deserve. They are amazing. They are strong. I wish everyone in the world knew this. How could I do something to make that happen? This too has crossed my mind along with the endless list of “why’s” over the past few years being a part of this team. The incredible part of today was that I figured out why I am here in Lafayette, IN right now. I was meant to meet these men. I was meant to meet people who are so passionate about helping that they couldn’t keep from coming here to see the team.
One of the men I was fortunate to meet is named Peterson Jerome, the other is Jean Pierre (no, I did not make a typo, Peterson has a last name as a first name and a first name as a last name…). Peterson came to America from Haiti when he was 17, went to school, then became a professional soccer player here. Wow. Right? Not only would that be tough because of uprooting yourself in every sense of the word, but because I hear English isn’t the easiest language to just pick up at 17 years old. But he prevailed. And now, today, he reminded me of a feelings I recently wrote about..lucky and blessed. I know this next phrase is really cliche and used way too much, but I really was at the right place at the right time. A very HUGE answer to a “why am I here” that I haven’t even asked yet. No doubt, I was meant to meet him. Possibly my new hero.
Now he is here in the states and is making a difference each and everyday. Here is his website http://www.haitiyouth.org/petersonjeromebio.htm. Please go see what this man is doing for youth today!
Today is gone and tomorrow we play Australia. I am extremely excited to put on Haiti colors and play next to my sisters, my family.
I can’t wait!
Yesterday was my first day with the team. Boy have I missed them. They all came to pick us up for training. Every time I see them again after being away, it’s like a scene straight out of a movie. There’s a whole lot of laughing, smiling and unnecessarily long jogging sequences that end in warm embraces where I’m usually lifted off the ground a couple times. If you don’t have an image yet, just watch the last scene of “Love Actually” where everyone is meeting their loved ones in an airport. I never feel as welcome as when I’m welcomed by my Haiti girls.
Today was a long day of travel. Yes, folks, I am traveling yet again. I left this afternoon to head to play with the Haiti National team in Indiana. We will play Australia on September 13, 2012. I am beyond excited to see my team tomorrow. I have missed them and wasn’t expecting to see them for quite some time.
As you can imagine, this has been quite the turn around for me. I got back from Europe on the 27th and just moved into a new apartment yesterday. So, life has been busy busy busy these past two weeks leading up to coming here. But isn’t that what makes the life of a woman’s pro athlete worth while? One second we could be moving into a new apartment, and in an instant you could be in Indiana at 2am writing a blog to all of your adoring fans. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love this sport and the experiences it brings to my life.
I wasn’t sure if I would make it here today. I didn’t get much information about this trip until a couple days ago. I also was very uneasy about leaving so soon after coming back from a pretty taxing trip. I’ve actually been complaining about that fact. “I just got back….I just moved into a new place…My back hurts from picking up way heavier than me furniture….” and so on and so forth. But when I sit back, here in the bathroom (because my roommate is sleeping), and think about what I am about to do tomorrow, I can’t help but feel like this is all a dream. I can’t help but kick myself for how ungrateful I can be sometimes. Do you ever just sit back and count all the good in your life? I know I count the bad all too much.
Well, today I am counting the good. I am here, in Indiana, where I will meet a team that has always changed my life. I get to play soccer with Haiti’s finest tomorrow. I get to play soccer, period. Excited? No. Ecstatic! Complaining? No more. Now I will wake up, and, as Alena’s dad always says, “Seize the day!!!”
Lucky. Blessed. Those are words I’ve used constantly over the course of my recent blogs as I gave the account of the Breeze trip to Europe. I still believe this. I’ve been lucky and blessed. So much that I’ve forgotten to keep up with the ins and outs of friends and family back home. I’ve forgotten to check the news, to ask how people are doing, to be present in my absence.
Something devastating was happening as my team and I were experiencing feeling so lucky and blessed. If you haven’t heard about Hurricane Isaac, please stop reading this and go google it or turn on the news. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been preoccupied by feeling lucky and blessed and haven’t heard a word about it until you finally opened your computer to do something other than talk about how lucky and blessed you felt. I hope and pray those friends and family members I know and all others in harms way of this hurricane find shelter and hope.
I don’t want to seem like I’m making any of this incredibly unfortunate news about me and my lack of knowledge about it, but I am seeing a huge lesson here in my life. Soccer is a beautiful sport. It has given me a platform to do things most people would love to do, but will never get the chance to. It’s a game that has allowed me to transcend over language barriers, run past economical differences, and skirt most of life’s natural demands of a 9 to 5 job. But no matter how amazing and impactful this game has been for me, it still just remains a game. An avenue. A tool. Don’t get me wrong, I still whole heartedely believe this game is magical in so many different ways, but I’ve seen that it can also cloud my view of looking past those 90minutes to see other people. How can I not see that I can be present in my dreams while workin my tail off to make some else’s come true?
Speaking of dreams, a girl joined this team for this trip who wants to be a writer. I believe with every fiber that she can be. I’m telling you, she’s got the makings of one of those writers that makes books you can’t put down. Soccer brought us together, but what I do with that bond is my choice. Another girl came into my life via the Breeze who is so passionately driven to a soccer program that helps homeless people get an opportunity to travel to a World Cup game. Will she go to these games? Maybe, maybe not. But she would work until she was blue in the face to get just one person off the streets and on their way to Brazil. I met a girl who’s so stinkin’ good at the game of soccer, but has a hidden passion for art. I believe that with how driven she’s had to be in soccer over the course of her life to have gotten to this high of a level, she has the tenacity to do anything she wants to in the field of art. The Breeze welcomed back an original Breezie Baby who has committed herself to moving back across the country to California because her heart is telling her to, and she’s listening. Tell me the last time your heart said something you need to do that intimidated you and you pretended like you didn’t hear it. I just did that five minutes ago. But she’s actually listening to hers. She’s taking, not just a jump, but a huge leap of faith and following her gut. Admirable doesn’t even begin to explain this action.
So, to those girls with hearts bigger than the empire state building, and to all my other teammates past and present who have impacted my life, I promise you this: if there is ANYTHING I can do to help you achieve those dreams, I will. Not just because they’re so much more tangible than you could ever imagine, but because I’ve just read article after article about families suffering from a natural disaster and know that we don’t have any time to not chase our dreams, especially the ones outside of the pitch. We don’t have any promise that we can do it “when we get older” or “when we’re done playing.” I’ve used soccer as my motivator and dream for so long that I’ve forgotten that I can be motivating the people around me with theirs while I chase mine.
Breezies, we are so lucky and blessed to have been taught such huge life lessons through soccer. We’ve been taught how to persevere, how to take care of our bodies, how to get along with a group of other strong willed, intense people. We’ve learned to meet and gel with new people, to respect authority, to work hard at a skill for hours on end until we get it right. Those lessons are invaluable and we were given them at what cost? I’ve learned I need to use them for the good of more than just my soccer career. If you’ve heard any of how Alena and I started SULA, you would agree that we’ve been lucky and blessed through the whole process as well.
If you’re reading this, and there’s something you have been putting on the back burner, but you know in your heart you can achieve it, do it. Today, in a hour, right now! Why not? I have a few things I am going to start today. Changing my life is one of them, anyone want to join me?
I was sitting there in front of the Manchester United Stadium. Yeah, not sure I ever thought I’dbe saying that. But I am. Most of this trip has been surreal and I’ve mentioned that throughout all of these here blogs. Most of this trip has been a success, and I mentioned that as well. As of now, I can’t stop thinking how these blogs must sound like a bunch of bragging on my part about how amazing my life is right now. If that has seemed to be the case, my apologies, but I just can’t seem to help it.
With that said, welcome to another blog about these awesome adventures. We just toured around the Manchester United stadium. At the beginning of the tour, you can buy an audio pack where some of the most influential big names in ManU history take you through a pre-tour audio tour of the museum and talk about the history of it all. I joked with Alena that one day, maybe in 20 years or so, people will be listening to an audio tour with her voice on it talking about the history and start of the Bay Area Breeze. After hearing the history of ManU, I may have undershot that date by a century or so. Either way, being at the stadium was more than inspirational in regards to this new adventure the Breeze is undertaking.
So, maybe these blogs sound like bragging, but in reality, I’m in shock and awe everyday by how lucky and blessed I am to be a part of an organization that would provide a venue to experience even half of what I have these past weeks. I am continuously humbled by the little things of being over here. Things like hearing 9 year old boys talk about soccer as if they’ve played it for decades, or listening to them rattle off stats and facts about professional soccer players like American boys can do about NFL and NBA players. It’s humbling to see a team like Liverpool so mad after losing a friendly because they wear their team logo with such pride they can’t bare to lose, not even if there’s nothin but a simple win against some American team on the line. It’s shocked me that we’ve had such great support, not only from friends and loved ones at home, but from locals who respect the game enough to be happy for our success here so far. Each day, I’ve felt blessed here. And to quote one of my new favorite athletes of all time and a new American hero in track and field, Carmelita Jeter, “I’m just so happy to be here.”
To quote one of my all time favorite YouTube videos, “Is this real life?” There has been so many
surreal things happening around me, I just can’t keep up. I will do my best to recap the amazing evening.
Today was a day that a player wants so badly in his or her career. We were about to play in Europe, against one of the most widely known clubs, under the lights. WOW, right?? There have been a lot of moments in my career that have made me sit back and wonder why I was so lucky to be experiencing the moment I am in. Today, warming up in a huge stadium, next to some of the most talented girls I’ve ever played with was one of those moments. I felt the win before we even touched the ball.
For a team or for a coach, there can be a number of different problems. We are lucky enough to have the problem that we have SO MANY talented players, we wish all can play at the same time. Our line up at any moment is almost too good to be true. And don’t ever look past our bench. Quantity and depth aren’t even necessary because we have that thing coaches only dream of; quality.
Oh yes, the score! We won, we shut them out at 2-0. I thought our first goal was going to be one of those goals where you try something tricky and it doesn’t work out. But have no fear, Aly Wagner and Sophie Reiser are here. There was a foul and instead of waiting for their whole team to file back into place, Aly took a quick re-start and sent a beautiful cross over to the far side, Jennifer Ruiz dropped a ball back to Sophie and she RIPPED a shot. 1-0, Bay Area Breeze! Not too long after that, Jenny Jeffers sent the ball that players dream about each night. It floated with the perfect texture right over their back line right into Jennifer Ruiz’s run. With one touch and the outside of her foot, she places the ball right over a frozen keeper. Definitely one of the best goals scored this trip!
The bus ride home was full of energy and we are exhausted, but just so happy to be here!