Hope James Galanis of Universal Soccer Academy has acted a source of inspiration to you over the years. How has James Inspired you?
James gave me a complete internal makeover. We all have a great deal of strength inside of us, but not everybody is blessed with being able to see their full potential. What James was able to do was keep me on a path where I continuously saw renewed strength. This was the key in helping me become the complete me that i needed to be come. People are all faced with life changing events and can very easily not obtain all the blessings, strength and wisdom that comes with difficulties. Fortunately for me James was in my corner. Each day that I wanted to give up because I was exhausted from fighting, he knew just how little or how much to push me. Some days he merely stayed on the phone with me until I slowly and tentatively put one foot in front of the other to walk to my car, and then drive to a field. With each training session I completed I felt renewed strength and I think James knew that the one thing that would keep me going is my passion and desire to be the best. No matter how reluctant I was to go train that day, he always found a way to get me out on the field knowing eventually I’d feel that desire to be the best again.
You receive texts before all big games from James that are geared to motivating you. Any message that stands out?
James seems to know exactly what I need at different times. On the latest occasion, when I have been playing well below expectations and below my ability in the WPS and for my St. Louis Athletica team, I received a text before and after our USA team played Germany. I was a bit disturbed as to why I played well with the national team but can’t seem to make easy saves right St. Louis. He reminded me that....’Big time players make big time plays at big time moments with big time teams..." not that it is ever okay to play below one’s potential, but at the same time, I need that confidence right now, knowing that come playoffs, I will be the goalkeeper I need to be.
After the 2007 World Cup you were going through a rough period with your team. You came home and contemplated quitting the sport all together. How did your long chats with James help you not quit your dreams and refocus on your already stellar career?
When the road got bumpy I had to roll up my sleeves. I fought my fought, but James rolled my sleeves up for me. He reminded me time and time again that there will always be lots of people who can give you all the reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t, and that it was up to me to remind myself of all the reasons why I can and will. He reassured me that I had the courage to persevere, to continue following my heart even when others scoffed and wouldn’t let me get beaten down by naysayers. He knew I was up for the task, even though I didn’t know it. He wouldn’t let the odds scare me from even trying. He reminded me that I would never want to ask myself, "why didn’t I become me?"
I believe that the WC fallout was one of those things that must be done that goes beyond anyone’s understanding. Through that experience I developed the ability to go with the flow, and flow with the moment. I experience less stress and psychological turmoil. This ability obviously didn’t develop overnight, but it most definitely matured through this experience and helped to expand my perspectives and learn to find value in adversity. Life unfolds as it will; making the best of it is an acquired skill. James has this skill, i didn’t, but he most certainly guided me in learning how to live this way.
You are the best Goalkeeper in the World for some time now. How have you been able to stay at the top for so long?
To me reality is necessary. I try to critique myself honestly, and unbiasedly. I’ve come a long way in terms of my training. No longer is it merely physical. I study film, study positioning, and continue to work on my mental game. My physical game got me noticed, my overall game will keep me on top.
Is the USA Women’s National Team going to win the World Cup in 2011?
As hard as it is going to be, in my heart I believe we are bringing home the WC. If i didn’t believe that then why am I even playing? Because for me, it’s always been about being the best.
What words of wisdom do you have for young aspiring players?
“if you truly expect to realize your dreams, abandon the need for blanket approval, if conforming to everyone else’s is the #1 goal, you have sacrificed your uniqueness and therefore your excellence.” this applies to so many areas in life.
Will you visit the academy when you come and play on the east coast against Sky Blue and the Philadelphia Independence?
I cannot wait to visit the academy.