This article originally appeared on the Greenwich Sentinel; head to the paper's website to read the article in full.
For the nearly 500 girls in the Greenwich area who are passionate about soccer, Saturday was a very special day.
United States Women’s National Team standout Megan Rapinoe, who took home the gold during this past summer’s FIFA World Cup tournament, took her clinic to the turf at Sacred Heart Greenwich, inspiring young athletes and teaching them about soccer, determination and life.
“It’s an incredible honor to have such an amazing athlete and role model visit our school,” said Taylor O’Meara, one of the two captains of the Sacred Heart Greenwich soccer team. “Amelia [Sheehan] and I have both been fans of the USWNT and of Megan Rapinoe for as long as we can remember, so when our coach told us she would be on Sacred Heart’s campus, we found it really hard to believe him until I got to see Megan with my own eyes.”
“We were just so incredibly excited for her to come,” added O’Meara. “I think that the Rapinoe Soccer Clinic was really well done; Amelia and I got to help out the staff and watch all the young players really enjoy themselves while developing their skills.”
And Rapinoe was all in for the clinic, as she was highly involved in teaching several aspects of the sport. In addition, she took questions from young athletes and was very relatable to all in attendance.
“The kids had some great questions for her,” said Sacred Heart Greenwich varsity soccer coach Stuart Smith. “They learned as much just from speaking to her as she they did watch her perform skills. One of the girls asked if she felt pressure when she went and took penalty kicks and it was interesting to hear her say no. She said that stepping into the game is far more pressure for her. Megan said that she sees a penalty kick as an opportunity to win a game for her team and that it’s less pressure because it’s an unopposed kick.
“Kids see that moment as a nerve-racking experience, where she views it the other way,” Smith added. “It was great for the kids to ask her questions like that or other ones that they always wanted to. She also spoke about growing up and that she wasn’t always the strongest person on the team.”
Sacred Heart Greenwich athletic director Elizabeth Dennison said that it’s always great when people get the chance to meet elite athletes in person because it becomes obvious that they are just another person, just like everybody else.
Continue reading this article on the Greenwich Sentinel website.