United States National Team legends Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini are bringing TeamFirst Soccer Academy to the Quad Cities in March.
DAVENPORT, Iowa — Young athletes in the Quad Cities will have the opportunity to learn from three of the most iconic figures in American football history.
1999 World Cup champions Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Tisha Venturini will lead TeamFirst Soccer Academy in a two-day education camp on March 12-13 at the Saint Ambrose Dome in Davenport.
The academy partners with QC Fit Fest to host youth sessions for athletes ages 6-13 and a high school clinic for teens ages 14 and up.
You can find more information on ticket prices and a link to register here.
The trio started camp in 2010 and traveled as far as Alaska and Iraq. They use many of their experiences to teach sessions that focus on developing a mix of fundamental and intangible skills.
News 8’s Angie Sharp spoke to Lilly who shared how she, along with former teammates, wanted to leave a positive impact on young footballers around the world.
“Since we’ve had so many kids of different levels in our camps, we cover the basic skills. We provide a competitive environment, which will help these kids build confidence,” Lilly said. “Our goal is really for these kids to leave with something better, but also if they leave feeling better about themselves, that’s something we strive for.”
This is a first-class learning session with former players considered to be among the best in the history of the sport. They all know very well what it takes to achieve the ultimate goal of winning world cups, gold medals and other championships as a team.
Lilly spent 17 years on the U.S. national team and says her experiences as a teammate, along with those of Hamm and Venturini, are a big part of what is taught at the camps.
“I think there’s one common denominator that Mia, Tisha and I will all say: hard work,” Lilly said. “We all had different backgrounds that got us into the national team, but in the end we worked really hard and had fun and supported each other. All of those things really help you be better.”
Another goal of the camp is to continue to be role models for young female athletes, this time as coaches.
Lilly explained that growing up, many of her coaches were mostly male, so this opportunity can serve as a way to connect with girls who might see themselves in each instructor a bit and vice versa.
“Looking at our coaches, there were a lot of men, there’s nothing wrong, but we didn’t see each other,” Lilly said. “When we watch these young children, we are happy to be an example for them, and also to see the look in their eyes, the glint in their excitement…it brings us back.”
It’s not every day that an athlete with experience at the highest levels of professional competition comes to town, let alone the athletes who were part of a 1999 U.S. Women’s National Team.
This team sold out stadiums across the country all year before capping off a historic 5-4 penalty win over China in the 1999 World Cup Final in front of 90,125 fans on July 10 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
A combination of a clutch save from USA goalkeeper Briana Scurry and defender Brandi Chastain’s game-winning penalty changed history forever.
The United States became the first nation to host the Women’s World Cup on home soil, but this team also set milestones off the field by creating the first professional women’s soccer league and negotiating the first collective bargaining agreement.
There’s still a long way to go when it comes to equal pay, especially in American women’s soccer, but the generation of the 1999 World Cup squad left an impact. Inspire others to pursue their dreams and push for what’s right on and off the pitch.
Almost 23 years later, they’ve continued to do so in a new role, inspiring the next generation of athletes to carry on a legacy.