If you’re not nervous at a World Cup, you don’t care enough to win | Hope Solo

The pressure of a major tournament can be difficult to handle – and not a lot of players have the ability to deal with that day in and day out

Before every World Cup game I played in, I felt good during the warm up. I was ready to play and wanted to play. But then we have to go to the locker room and wait for 20 minutes to come back out. That’s when the nerves start to build up. You walk out the tunnel. You line up for the national anthems. The camera is in your face. You become part of the pomp and circumstance and then the nerves start to kick in. Really kick in.

You can feel the tension and see it on the faces of the younger players. If I were Jill Ellis before the United States play their first game against Thailand on Tuesday, I would say, ‘Hey it’s OK to be nervous’. We are all nervous – from the longest-serving veteran to the youngest player. It’s important that players know that they aren’t alone when they feel these emotions for the first time. I was always nervous and told myself that if I wasn’t – if I didn’t have butterflies in my stomach and if my legs weren’t a little bit like Jello – that would mean I didn’t care. So nerves meant that I cared. To win the World Cup, you have to care. So, you have to be nervous.

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