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D.C. Soccer: One on One With Cindy Parlow Cone

 

In American soccer, there are few people who achieved as much as Cindy Parlow Cone. As a member of the late 1990’s U.S. Women’s National, she was integral part of a squad that won two Olympic Gold Medals and of course the 1999 Women’s World Cup. As part of such an illustrious group of players she is directly responsible for the advancements that women’s game has made over the past twenty years. After her playing career, she turned to coaching serving as an Assistant Coach at the University of North Carolina under arguably one of the greatest coaches in American soccer, Anson Dorrance. She has also recently come off of a successful stint as Coach of the Portland Reign, where she led to the team to the inaugural NWSL title.

As announced earlier on the D.C. Soccer website, Cindy has recently been named to the D.C. Center for the Development and Promotion of Soccer Board of Directors. Before the announcement, I had the opportunity to speak with her about her experiences in the game, the feeling of playing in a Women’s World Cup, and her interest in the Goals for Girls program.

 

Sean Maslin: What made you decide that you wanted to join up with the Goals for Girls program? Where did you first hear about it?

Cindy Parlow Cone: I joined Goals for Girls in 2010 when my friend and former USA National Team teammate, Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak, told me about it.  I immediately called Ian Oliver, founder of Goals for Girls, and knew instantly that this is a program I wanted to take part in.  I already knew that sport and specifically soccer had the ability to transcend culture, race, gender, and socio-economic levels but I had no idea the impact a program like Goals for Girls could have.

Shortly after my initial conversation with Ian, we took a group of 11 American girls to South Africa. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world and have done outreach programs both home and abroad.  Goals for Girls is the only program I have ever been a part of where I actually watched young girls’ lives (both local and American) change before my eyes which is why I continue to be involved.

 

So much of the development of women’s soccer, both in the United States and abroad, can be directly attributed to yourself and your teammates on those U.S. Women’s National Teams in the 1990’s up until today. Having been such a major part of that 1999 squad that won the World Cup, what is it like now looking back on that event and how important it has been in developing the women’s game?

Parlow Cone: The 1999 Women’s World Cup was an amazing event and was a launch pad for many other countries to start investing in the women’s side of the game.  There are so many life lessons to be learned through soccer, and giving young girls and women the opportunity to play enriches their and their family’s lives.

 

What is it like to score a goal in the World Cup? As a player, how do you block out all of the distractions of such an event and focus on what can be a very difficult like shooting?

Parlow Cone: It was such an amazing honor to be able to represent the USA on the world stage.  And, to be able to score a couple goals in the world cup was a dream come true.

 

How did you first get into the game? Growing up in Tennessee, what was the soccer culture like?

Parlow Cone: I started playing soccer because of my brothers (two older and one younger).  I was the annoying younger sister that wanted to do EVERYTHING my older brothers were doing.  Thankfully, they were very involved in sports and specifically soccer.  Growing up in Memphis, TN there wasn’t much of a soccer culture.  There were not many girls teams in my area so we had to travel long distances to find teams that were competitive.  I was very thankful that my club team was quite good and we were competitive with the best teams in the country.

Now that you are a coach, I would imagine that you see things from a slightly different perspective. If there is one skill or one piece of advice that you could tell yourself at the age of 19 or 20, what would it be? 

Parlow Cone: If I could give advice to the 20 year old version of myself, it would be to relax, enjoy the moment, and make sure you never take yourself too seriously and maintain the ability to laugh at yourself.  I was often so focused on what I need to do to be as prepared as possible for the next training session or game that I often didn’t live in the moment and enjoy it.

 

You can follow Cindy’s experience in India as Goals for Girls will be conducting skills and leadership sessions on the Goals for Girls blog.

 

 

 

Posted in D.C. Soccer, Goals For Girls, Uncategorized.