As demonstrated by an emphatic 5-2 victory over Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final earlier this month, the United States women’s soccer team is the best in the world. Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd, Lauren Holiday and many others are now legends of the game and heroes in American sports lore.
In today’s era of increased sport specialization, many might assume that those stars that so amazed the crowds in Canada have played only soccer their entire lives. However, the reality is quite the opposite. As a team, they played at least 14 different competitive sports while growing up before eventually focusing on the sport they have reinvigorated for the next generation of female athletes. Even more importantly, they all insist that their involvement in other sports has been an advantage rather than a detriment to their careers.
Take for example Abby Wambach, who in another lifetime may have been a basketball star after let-tering at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Rochester, New York. She says playing basketball not only helped her spatial awareness, but gave her a chance to crave soccer and avoid being burned out. Lauren Holiday, who played basketball at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, echoed her teammates’ sentiments and was quick to encourage young athletes and parents not to restrict themselves.
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