The following post is sponsored by Niagara Water and their #GirlUpSweeps. Empowering all girls to play hard.
I want to teach my daughter that she is enough.
Sometimes, it seems unattainable. The media outlets that Photoshop pictures, skewing bodies to unrealistic expectations. There is the voice of media saying women are less because they choose to stay home. There are jobs that are still viewed as a “man’s”.
On the other side of the coin, today there are more strong women role models than ever before. There are young women like Isis Anchalee whose passion for science and technology has opened the doors for more women to pursue STEM careers. She was stereotyped for being “too pretty” to be an engineer. She didn’t allow criticism to hold her down. Instead, she spread the word and helped us redefine “what an engineer should look like.”
My daughter is sort of a nerd, so when she came home this year and said, “I’m trying out for soccer,” it was bittersweet. She is lanky and she’s not really coordinated. Still, we encouraged her. She was dedicated and showed up to soccer try-outs day after day, in spite of her legs being sore.
She wanted to be an athlete.
Niagara Water has an incredible video that highlights how girl athletes are viewed:
We started looking for women soccer players that could serve as a role model. We were not disappointed. My daughter watched Heather O’Reilly play.
She watched O’Reilly dominate goals on the field. She saw her as a woman of grace. She saw her power. She saw her spirit and determination and the passion she has for the sport.
The more my daughter watched Heather O’Reilly, the more confident she became.
Then we looked a little deeper. O’Reilly is a strong role model for anyone.
- She scored 143 goals in high school.
- In her junior year, she led her high school to the New Jersey state high school title.
- As a senior she was named All-American and National Player of the Year.
- She was awarded Gatorade High School National Player of the Year.
- She was named by Soccer America as the top college recruit in the country.
She is also smart–a member of the National Honor Society.
She attended the University of North Carolina.
- In 2003 and 2006, she led her team to national championships.
- Her No. 20 college jersey was retired, as an honor to her talent.
She has never let anyone tell her she’s a girl and there are limits.
- She recovered from a broken fibula and the next year she made the national team roster for the Athens 2004 Olympics.
- She was the youngest, age 19, on the roster.
- It was O’Reilly that scored the game-winning gold that took them to the final, where they defeated Brazil and brought home the gold medal.
She would earn her way back to the Olympics in 2008 and 2012, bringing home two more gold medals.
Heather O’Reilly Highlights Video:
My daughter made the soccer team!
At first, she struggled to make contact with the ball. She didn’t get a lot of game time.
She didn’t give up.
When she wasn’t on the field, it was her voice you could hear booming across the field cheering for her team, encouraging each player to #GirlUp!
Before long, she was coming across the field fierce and ready to play!
She was confident and ready to get in the mix to get the ball for her team!
My daughter is strong. She is learning she is her only limit. There are so many possibilities out there for her if she believes and works hard to reach her goal.
Right now, her big dream is to score a goal for her team.
I’m okay with that.
I already know my daughter is enough.
Want to attend soccer camp this summer?
Niagara Water is offering the chance to win a scholarship to a soccer camp of your choice.
Upload an image of your girl PLAYING SOCCER to twitter and/or Instagram the hashtag #GirlUpSweeps or submit your photo directly to the contest site.
Tell Niagara Water about your daughter, your niece, your sister, your friend. Share how she PLAYs and inspires.
Visit girlupandwin.com for official sweepstakes rules.