The Sports Sisterhood: Female Athletes Share How Their Teammates Lift Them Up

There’s nothing like an embrace from your teammates -- whether you’ve just scored the game-winning point, or if you just lost the championship. These girls are your daughter’s pitch, pool, court, track, and mat sisters. Over the course of a season, they’ll shed tears of laughter and disappointment, hugs, pats on the back, high fives, catchy cheers they made up, and nicknames that only make sense to each other.

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To quote soccer legend Mia Hamm, “I’ve worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals. I will not let my teammates down, and I will not let myself down.”

Here, we rounded up a few quotes from former athletes, coaches, and moms about the amazing friendships and support that have come out of playing sports. (Warning: You’re going to want to call your old teammates after this and reminisce about the good ol’ days!)

“Teammates were and still are some of the closest friends I’ve had in my life,” says high school hockey player Katie Chung Hua, certified personal trainer and Bodybuilding.com team athlete. “Striving for the same goal, they got to know me better than most. They’ve been there boosting my self-esteem, reassuring and picking me up after loses and praising me during the wins. Teammates can be your support system in and out of sports,” Chung Hua says.

“[Encourage your daughters to] play with people who are better than [they are], learn from those competitors and coaches, be charitable to those who are not as good as you, and go out there and have fun, “says mom Nicole Sin Quee, a national champion duathlete and former high school track and field coach. “Some of my dearest friends have been women I met through competition who have trounced me in races. There’s always so much to learn from others in your sport.”

“Read about, watch, and immerse yourself with those you admire. Learn by their example and adapt it to your goals,” says former collegiate softball pitcher Brielle Cosentino Ricciardi.

“My teammates were my family in college,” says mom and former collegiate athlete Jen Sapp Mills. “They were there for me in personal highs and lows. My senior year, my dad broke his foot and couldn't come to my senior day game. My dad was always at my games since I was 5 years old so it was a big deal. This was the game where every senior was announced and walked out on the field with their parents. As soon as one of my teammate’s parents realized I was alone, they walked back and ‘adopted’ me. That was a moment that summed up how I felt my whole soccer career with different teams and their families. When my dad passed away 10 years after I hung up my cleats, I still had teammates show up at his funeral and reach out to tell me stories about him and send condolences.”

“Growing up, I played for a national club in England that was about an hour and half drive from my house and it was quite a commitment,” says Mikaela Howell, Director of Soccer Operations at Asphalt Green and a former college and international soccer player. “One of the biggest things about this experience was that it exposed me to girls of different geographical areas who came from various families and backgrounds and we were all working towards the same goal.”

Green is still in touch with some of those teammates today, including friends who moved to New York to play professional soccer. “Friendships built in the team sport environment create lasting friendships for life,” she says. “The girls and boys I coach now tend to make a strong bond with their teammates, and it’s evident how strong those bonds grow—particularly with the girls—as they move across age groups.”

So encourage your daughters to have their teammates over for dinner, invite them to birthday parties, do charity work together, and reach out to offer support when one of them is struggling in her athletic or personal life. She’ll remember and benefit from these friendships for decades to come.

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