Celebrating Women & Girls In Sports

Lessons Learned From Soccer Superstar, Julie Foudy

Julie Foudy played on dominant soccer teams in her career, winning World Cup trophies and an Olympic gold medal while representing the United States. However, in an interview with GoodSport, the Stanford alum said that the times she didn’t come out on top are the ones that helped define her.

“One of the greatest gifts I received through sports was failure. I discovered that failure is not that bad. You stumble, get back up and everything is going to be fine. You extract the lesson, learn from it, and move on.”

Foudy finished her sterling career with 274 caps (games for the national team) and served as the team’s captain from 2000–2004. She was immortalized in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2015. Foudy is also an advocate for women in sports. She served as the president of The Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King. She also co-founded the The Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy, which focuses on developing leadership skills in teenage girls.

A mother of two herself, Foudy spends a lot of time on soccer fields and stresses the importance of keeping the players happy.

“There is so much pressure for young kids to perform. If you can get a coach for them who makes it fun and positive and a good experience, kids are going to stay in sports and that’s what we want to see.”

Foudy sees a sports world filled with helicopter parents who hover over their kids during sporting events. Foudy advises parents to give their young athletes a little space to develop.

“Encourage and open the door for them, but let them run through it. We want so badly for our kids to be successful that we end up putting so much pressure on them. Parents should step back and let their kids find the joy in what they are doing.”

A big part of achieving that joy, Foudy says, is giving kids the opportunity to try different sports.

“I will always advocate playing multiple sports. When kids specialize in one sport they run the risk of injury and burnout. If kids are playing the same sport over and over it can be mentally draining and they can get bored and end up quitting.”

That is gold medal advice from an Olympian and amazing role model. For all sports parents out there, we highly recommend Julie Foudy’s book, Choose to Matter.

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