Triad girls learn soccer skills from Women’s World Cup and Olympic champions

The young girls at the clinic were shown a number of drills to enhance their play along with advice on healthy living.

Triad girls learn soccer skills from Women’s World Cup and Olympic champions
August 11
05:00 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



The names Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tisha Vinturini-Hoch are synonymous with the sport of soccer around the world and more so here in the Tar Heel state.  All three women were superstar soccer players for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during the mid -1990s.

The women partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) to hold three soccer clinics this past weekend in Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Charlotte.  The Live Fearless Soccer Clinics are a way for the soccer legends to teach the girls a few soccer skills but also to enlighten the girls on the importance of healthy living for themselves and their families.  The camp was hosted at the Twin City Soccer Club.

“With this campaign, we are going to talk about living fearlessly. Getting outside of your comfort zone is how you challenge yourself and grow as a person,” said Hamm.  “We want them to know that setbacks and mistakes are a part of life and  how you respond to those tells you who you are and what you are made of. You just have to keep trying to improve as a player and a person.”

The girls in the camp were very eager to show the legends their skills and learn a few tricks to add to their skills on the field.  Even with the hot and humid temperatures Saturday afternoon everyone was happy to be there. During the introduction of the Hamm, Lilly and Venturini-Hoch their stats and career achievements were read which many of the girls knew verbatim.

According to Hamm, the girls will be participating in some basic drills such as stop start and change of pace moves. They will then move to drills that will assist in passing, dribbling and shooting.  She said in the short time frame they have with the girls they want to try and touch on as many skills as possible.    Most importantly she said she wants the girls to have fun.

Hamm, Lilly, and Venturini-Hoch were a part of the USA Soccer Women’s National Team during the early part of the millennium that catapulted women’s soccer to heights it had never been before. With World Cup titles and Olympic Golds, the three legends are happy to see women’s soccer increasing in popularity with each passing year.

“We have been a part of the team since the beginning and each year the game has grown,” said Lilly. “Every time we win it generates a snowball effect of people following us and bringing more attention to women’s soccer. With their win last year in the World Cup, it just catapulted the attention even more for women’s soccer. I just think it continues to grow and have an impact and give these girls an opportunity.”

There were many parents on hand that were more excited to meet the soccer greats than their children were. Joanne Nall and Maria Colamarino came all the way down from Hendersonville to bring their daughters Laurin and Sophia to the camp. Nall said she remembers when Hamm, Lilly and Venturini-Hoch all played soccer at UNC-Chapel Hill and has followed their careers over the years. She said she was actually a little “star struck” to meet them and happy her daughter had the chance to do the same.

“I think with this time of the year, with the Olympics going on and everything that is happening in the world, this is an extremely impressionable event for these girls and hopefully it will motivate them and inspire them so they can see what their potential is,” said Nall. “The whole idea of live fearless and not being scared of trying new things, putting everything you have into it and to inspire those around you are great principles for the girls to learn.”

With the Olympics in full swing, the Women’s National Team is looking to take home another gold medal. The hopes are very high with them winning the World Cup last summer.

When asked about the expectations of the women’s team, Lilly added, “Well, obviously we hope they win. They won last year’s World Cup, so winning back- to-back tournaments is difficult, so they have a task in front of them.  If they play well, I think they can do it.”

Hamm, Lilly and Venturini-Hoch signed hundreds of autographs for parents and children. This is the second year they have held the camp in coordination with BCBSNC. They said they are excited to promote the Live Fearless campaign.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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