From the Sidelines


Dear Ms. Rapinoe,

I, along with millions of other Americans was disappointed in the showing by the Women’s Soccer team at the World Cup.  I am sure you were too, as were all of your teammates. I was certain that this team, the 2 time world champions, would not be eliminated so early, as I am sure all of you were too.  As with all things sports related, no one can predict accurately how there team will do, even though it seems like one team is so much better than the others. As has been said, “That is why you play the game”.  The American team looked so good previously, but this begs the question; WHAT WENT WRONG?

I will be honest, ma’am, I am not a soccer aficionado in any way. I am a longtime sports fan and used to play a few sports, I still golf, but I know that sometimes teams don’t gel like they should.  There are a lot of factions involved, like less talent than you think, injuries, coaching, support, and team chemistry.  I, in my very humble opinion, have noticed the one area I think the team was weak in… chemistry, so let me explain.

In order for a “team” to become a real “Team”, the members must be on the same page, for the most part.  You cannot have some members doing things one way, and others not following along.   It is up to the team leader, and from what I hear that is you, to make sure they are all headed in the same direction.  So, if I may say so, I think that you failed miserably in that area.  I am not going to get into your personal beliefs, but I think you brought way to much of that to the U.S. team.  You were very outspoken in your distaste for our country, and for a lot of its policies, and that is your right.  I have no issue with you not liking certain things, but to go on the world stage, with other teammates who did not share your opinion, and spout off,…..well, it did not help team chemistry.

One of the things I have often wondered about is if you despise the way things are done here, why have you not left?  You make around 3 million dollars a year, so money is not the issue. You seem to be a hypocrite like so many in Hollywood, who swore they were leaving, they can’t stand this anymore, we are racist and bigoted, yada, yada, yada….. but yet, here they are, and will stay, because all they do is make noise to get noticed!  I am sure there are teams that would love to have you, because you are talented, no question about that.  However, maybe you should have worked on your penalty kicks more instead of perfecting kneeling for the teams National Anthem.  Your leadership ability as a soccer player/leader, I feel, hurt the American team by being so divisive.  I may be wrong, but I do know that team leaders need to lead, personal beliefs excluded, and not cause internal issues.  It was a bad look when some team members stand for the Anthem, and others kneel; the perfect example of a team divided…..and as a team leader, that is nobody’s fault but yours!

Anyway, I hope that the next time you play, or if in the future you coach soccer, you may want to consider your considerable effect on others.  Team cohesion is the key to team sports, ask any other coach, so you may want to rethink some of your antics.

I wish you peace, and hope you find whatever it is that makes you a happier person, and wish that you would just once in a while see all the good that this country offers.  Being bitter and divisive is no way to live a life, especially when you really don’t have too!  That’s the way I see it, from the Sidelines!

Respectfully, Mike Stegall – ordinary guy