It’s been a little while since I wrote a column, but it’s good to be back to update you on what’s been going on here in London and with Arsenal.
I’ve now been here for 13 months and playing for this club never gets old. I drive into the training ground every day with a lot of pride and it is a huge honor to be here. Some days are a little colder and rainier than I would like, but at the end of the day I am really, really enjoying it. We have a big couple of months ahead of us so it’s about staying focused and getting results.
Last weekend we reached the quarterfinals of the Women’s FA Cup after a 1-0 win over Millwall Lionesses. They’ve gone a year unbeaten in FA Women’s Super League 2, so they are not used to losing, and need to give credit it’s due- they held us to one goal and kept it a tight match. But as we all know in football, sometimes it is about just moving on in a competition, and we have done that.
I’ve had one go at the FA Cup since being here and it was very disappointing to be knocked out at the quarterfinal stage last year. We play Charlton Athletic in the quarterfinals in a few weeks, so we will be eager to progress and keep our positive momentum going.
It’s all about advancing and getting to the final at Wembley would be a huge honor for me – I have pretty good luck at Wembley after winning the Olympics there in 2012, so I will do everything I can to get another go at it!
It was also exciting to get Kim Little back last week! Kim returned to the team after a long time out with injury (ACL). Kim is world class and is really going to help us over the next few months. She is a total professional, is diligent, and works extremely hard, so I was really pleased for her to get back on the field.
As you will know, our new coach Joe Montemurro, who joined us from Melbourne City, is now in charge and I have really loved my experience of working with him so far. Two things he does really well are he gives the team structure and clarity, a clear understanding of how to play and our roles and responsibilities. He has got some rules, but not in a bad or restrictive way. Rules allow everyone on the field to agree on a style template. Secondly, Joe brings an enthusiasm and joy and that’s what the game is all about. It is evident that Joe loves the game of football and he allows his team to share in that passion. So there is a really good feeling amongst the group, and we want to keep the positive vibes going into this upcoming international break.
Joe was also very understanding when I stressed how important it was for me to be back in the US a couple of weeks ago for the US Soccer Presidential Election in Orlando. I was part of the Athlete Council alongside some of my former teammates on the USWNT and I don’t think anyone could have imagined having a Presidential Election like the one we had with eight candidates, which can be seen as a huge positive.
The fact that the candidates were willing to put themselves out there and devote so much energy, focus and thoughtful conversation together, was inspiring and it says a lot about their passion for the game we all love.
Being part of the Athlete Council, we found ourselves in a really important position and we felt that it was absolutely critical to stay together and stay unified for this election. Going forward the athlete voice is absolutely crucial and we think that US Soccer will be better suited if former athletes are involved in the conversation. It was a very thorough process and one that was taken seriously.
Carlos Cordeiro is the person that was chosen to bring together the different parties and bring the best out of US Soccer, which has done a lot of great things, but also has incredible potential for much more. We are looking forward to the growth and opportunity for the sport and for all players, and will be closely watching the leadership going forward.
The election didn’t stop me playing that same weekend as I took a red eye flight on Saturday evening and joined up with my Arsenal teammates before our match on Sunday against Yeovil. We had an injury less than 30 minutes in, so I was called upon to go on. It was a little unexpected, but as always I was ready and willing to help the team in any way I could.
Speak to you all soon. We’ve got some big games coming up, so I’ll have plenty to fill you in on!