1. Credit Pele for her skills. My mom never played soccer, but she would take me out to the field with drills from Pele’s soccer videos and try to show me how to kick the ball with proper technique. I was showing up an hour early to play with the older team, or to just dribble around or juggle. I was sitting on the sidelines while my sister was playing with the ball at my feet trying to do what they were doing. Growing up in the United States, you think playing soccer just means organized practice. We go, we play soccer, and then when Coach says that practice is over, we all go home. But in different countries, they just pick up a soccer ball and they play, and they don’t stop playing until they have to do something else.
2. She’s obsessive about target practice. You can ask anyone that I’ve ever played with or talked to, I’m an obsessive shooter. I go out and shoot all the time. I used to take 200 shots every single day — it’s something that I started with my mom. In the Pele videos I would watch, he used to line up 10 balls and shoot them in a row — so I did that exercise all the way through college. Thankfully, I always had help getting those balls back; I’d come out with my sisters and my mom and my dad and they would always help me shag balls. I can only remember a handful of times when they didn’t — and let me tell you, you spend probably an hour and a half to do it, and 65 minutes is spent shagging the balls. Just like everything else in life, it’s better to do it with company.
3. Her body “looks like soccer.” I’m 100 percent a byproduct of my sport. I always tell my teammates that I only have muscles where they get to play. I have butt muscles, thigh muscles, and then my upper body is super skinny — except for in my shoulders, which you need for a little bit of strength to hold other players off the ball. So I think I’ve developed muscles 100 percent from just shooting the ball and running. Every single thing about my body looks like soccer.