Olympian Julie Foudy’s Best Sports Memory Is First Grade Recess

Julie Foudy, former captain of the US Women’s National Team, two-time FIFA World Champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist, remembers when she was young.

Julie Foudy

| 3 min read

Julie Foudy/MOJO

My favorite memory as a kid is when I first got into soccer in first grade. I would’ve been 6. A boy named Eric used to bring his red rubber ball to school and every recess, Eric would come get me and we would go play. And it would be me and all these boys. 

I remember asking my mom, “Mom, I’ve got to play soccer, I’ve got to play soccer!” She said I was too young — you couldn’t sign you up until you were 7. So I had to wait a whole year, just playing with our rubber ball at recess.

I was the only girl out there, but I just remember it almost like a movie, the scene with the wind in your hair and you’re running and there’s this joy to just being out there and playing with no intent or purpose besides just fun.

That’s really how my entire career unfolded. There were just a lot of really fun, great memories and a ton of laughter. And of course, a lot of success as well, but intertwined with this idea that it was just so much fun. It was joy and passion combined. We shouldn’t underestimate those moments. 

This picture is me in my “Green Machine” uniform. Our team was called — true story — the Mission Viejo Soccerettes. We were green. This is the team I played on my entire youth career, from 7 to 17. For 10 years, the exact same team, pretty much. 

We had our own cheer: “Nobody messes with the Green Machine…” And at the beginning of my national team career, whenever we would come up to a green team, I would start the cheer. And everyone would be like, “Foudy, stop it.” But by the end, about 10 years in, I got them all to do it. So I taught every green team across America my cheer and they adopted it. And I’m pretty proud of that.

Every star athlete was young once. In this MOJO series, When We Were Young, our favorite athletes share what they remember most about the 10-year-window of youth sports.

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