Lorrie Fair is Reaching Out in Africa

 

Fair soccer

Former national team player Lorrie Fair works for the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project

 

By Tim Nash

Sometimes it was hard to miss. The routes they took usually avoided it — airport to hotel, hotel to training field, hotel to stadium. Still, it was there and they knew it.

When U.S. National team players travel abroad, they are protected. In some cases, depending on the country, they are escorted and given strict rules to follow. The rules are sometimes designed for the safety of the players, other times to hide the extreme poverty and substandard living conditions of the people.

Lorrie Fair saw it. A lot of it. In at least 70 different countries during her 10 years playing with the U.S. Women’s National team. She remembers the views from the bus windows, things she saw walking the streets, and conversations with players and locals. It’s hard, she says, to take what you have for granted in those situations

“The national team itself made me acutely aware that being born as a girl in the U.S., is kind of like a lottery ticket,” says Fair, now Lorrie Fair Allen. “I’m not saying that’s the case for all girls born in this country, but by and large, if you are a female born in this country you have opportunities that many don’t. You can participate in sports, education and be an equal and contributing member of your society.

“Travelling the world and all the different countries I’ve been to, I just realized soccer had provided me with so many gifts.” Continue reading

RailHawks Interested in NWSL

By Tim Nash

The Carolina RailHawks, a NASL franchise located in Cary, N.C., just outside of Raleigh, is exploring the possibility of putting a team in the NWSL.railhawks

“We are interested,” said RailHawks President Curt Johnson. “Our owner, Steve Malik and I met with (NWSL President) Jeff Plush in Chicago in June, and we have had further conversations. There is interest from both sides, and the process is on-going. We are just doing our due diligence and getting the lay of the land, understanding budgets, the relationship with US Soccer and the long-term vision.

“The process is evolving,” said Johnson. “If, and it’s a big if right now, we were going to play in 2017, I think a decision would have to be made in the next 60 days. I think we have the facilities, the support and there are a lot of top players in the area.” Continue reading

We Tend to Forget They are Just Kids

wrangler2By Tim Nash

We’ve all had them, whether we like to admit it or not, those forehead-smacking moments when you realize your mistake and get that, “I knew that” feeling. There are things we tend to forget when coaching kids, things that pop up and make you feel stupid for not remembering them.

I had a couple of those recently. Fortunately for my players, I was able admit I had been wrong, recognize the error, and change my approach. As a result, my U12 girls were able to end their season on the highest possible note.

The thing I had forgotten, the part of coaching kids that escaped me sometime in the seventh month of an eight-month season, was that the kids I was coaching were 11 and 12 years old. Seems like that would be pretty obvious, doesn’t it? In my defense, though, it is a pretty common mistake.

As coaches, we see a kid who is advanced in one particular aspect of the game. They may be very clean on the ball, able to receive it under pressure. Or maybe they can strike a ball with flawless technique, or possess an advanced ability to go one-v-one. Or maybe they have a less-tangible quality that catches the eye, like the vision to see and complete passes others can’t.

What do we instinctively want to do? We, of course, get excited, and want to make them more advanced. We start asking them to do things and think of things that we think will help. But here’s the thing, they are 11 and 12 years old. Some of what we are asking of them, they are not capable of doing or understanding.

Here’s how I came to remember that. I had two players, both advanced. The mistakes they were making with the ball were mostly all mental. Their decisions were sometimes poor or just plain bad – shooting from impossible angles or unreachable distances, taking on four players with two teammates wide open, things like that. I asked them to work on making better decisions, one of the more senseless pieces of advice I had given out.

Continue reading

Fourth of July in WNT History

lloyd

Carli Lloyd after a really good day

 

By Tim Nash

There should be a law. Or at least a mandate, something official, that says the U.S. Women’s National team has to play a game on the Fourth of July, or at least the Fourth of July weekend.

It’s the perfect occasion for a national team game. We are already feeling patriotic, we are already wearing something red, white and blue, families are planning to be together, we don’t have to go to work, we already have the fireworks, and we already plan to grill a bunch of meat and eat apple pie.

There should be a game.

Oddly enough, in the 31-year history of the U.S. Women’s national team, there have been just two games played on Independence Day. We can add five more of we include the entire the July 2 to July 5 timeframe, and there have been some great ones. Here they are in order using historical impact, drama and being just plain fun to watch as criteria. Continue reading