On Friday, September 20, former US Women’s National Team Player and current Chicago Red Star captain Leslie Osborne visited Milwaukee to speak to the players at FC Wisconsin Eclipse. It was a unique opportunity for the club’s players to hear from someone who has played at the highest levels in the world, and to hear about the path she took on her journey as a player.
Osborne is one of the most successful Wisconsin soccer players of all time. She played for the USA in the 2007 World Cup in China, where the team finished in third place. As a college player, Osborne was a key part of the Santa Clara University team that won the 2001 NCAA Division I National Championship, and won the Honda Award as the nation’s outstanding female college athlete in 2004. She also won the U19 World Cup, and played a role in the golden goal that won the championship.
As she made clear in her talk, Osborne’s journey to the top also included several hurdles and challenges. As a very young college player, she was invited into national team residency in 2004 with well established national team stars (including Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Christine Lilly, etc.) After a year in residency, she fell just short of making the US Olympic team for the 2004 Olympics. Resolving herself to overcome this setback and compete in the next Olympics, she worked incredibly hard to make the 2008 Olympic team - and 2 days after this great accomplishment tore her ACL and was forced to watch the Olympics from the sidelines. Her story, like that of every athlete that has played at a high level, shows the perseverance and mental toughness that are required to be successful and provide a great example for young players.
A big thanks to Leslie for coming to FC Wisconsin Eclipse and sharing her journey and thoughts! Thank you for helping the next generation see the path forward!