“Part of what I will do is make this journey uncomfortable for you, because the greatest teacher is adversity.”
It was my first meeting with the players after I had been hired as head coach of the United States Women’s National Team. And that is what I told them.
When I took the job, we had about a year to prepare for the 2015 World Cup – a tournament we hadn’t won since 1999.
Straight off, I said: “Where we are today isn’t good enough to win next year.”
They embraced that mindset, because elite players want to be pushed. They want to keep climbing because they live for the challenge.
A few months after that first meeting, we took the team to a tournament in Brazil where the logistics were challenging. We had a game cancelled due to weather, it was hot, pitches were underwater and we got booed by 10,000 fans.
At the end of the trip, I explained that we went down there because we had to learn to deal with every curveball that is thrown at us. There are always adversities, and the difference between winning and losing at the top level is an ability to not only deal with those adversities, but thrive in those situations.