W-H alum Sam Mewis made the US women’s national team’s roster for the upcoming Women’s World Cup.
Named to the U.S. women’s national team’s roster for the upcoming Women’s World Cup in France, Sam Mewis often reminisces about her days playing soccer at Whitman-Hanson Regional High.
“I remember winning South sectionals and the joy of winning and how fun it was to do something that had never been done before,” said the Hanson native. “I still look at pictures from that game and I just remember how goofy we were and how much fun it was.
“Once on the bus we had this stupid trophy, we like taped a squirrel to it, and it was … a really weird thing and one time we left it in a restaurant after a game and Mr. [David] Floeck like stopped the bus and went back to go get it,” she added. “Those are the things that kept it so fun for us.”
For the 26-year-old Mewis, who was indulged in traveling with youth national soccer teams back in her teens, such times strengthened her passion for the game.
“I think that had the program not been so much fun, and had I not had such good friends on the team, I might have started to get stressed about soccer and maybe approach the game with a little more gravity,” Mewis said. “What Whitman-Hanson varsity soccer taught me was the best thing about it was I get to be outside playing with my friends, laughing, enjoying it. I should be my best self when I’m playing. I should enjoy it. I should want to laugh and smile when I’m playing. My memories there were so ridiculous, like in the locker room hall singing and dancing and we would throw glitter around.”
Mewis said her time playing at W-H has carried her to where she is now.
“I could have started to approach the game differently as I got older but because of the way the program handled me and handled the team, I was able to keep enjoying it and keep playing soccer with a smile on my face,” Mewis said
“I’m always able to bring that sense of freedom I had playing there with me, and I think that’s really when I play my best.”
She’s also injected that feeling of joy and freedom into her teammates.
“Now before national team games, I’m dancing and singing in the locker room and trying to make other people laugh and make sure everyone’s loose because I know that that’s what works for me,” said Mewis, who first made the U.S. U-17 women’s national soccer team in 2008.
But Mewis said her days at Whitman-Hanson most importantly helped instill a sense of confidence — that she can accomplish virtually anything she sets out to do.
“Coach Floeck and coach [Tom] Zamagni are two people who have told me I would get here from the beginning,” she said. “I think that is quite rare, to have people who have never doubted you. I really just feel like the people from Whitman and Hanson just always thought that I would make it. They’re not the people who doubted me, they’re the people who have been on my team the whole time.”
After all, making USWNT’s Women’s World Cup roster has been Mewis’ dream since watching the U.S. win the cup in1999.
“I kind of slowly made steps toward it,” she said. “Making youth national teams was an important step and then committing to play soccer at UCLA was another step. I had all these small steps along the way. I knew really early on that this was what I wanted to do and kind of just took the steps to get there.”
As she prepares for her first Women’s World Cup, Mewis, who scored twice in a U.S. friendly win over South Africa on May 12, said she would be content helping her team in any way she can.
“Whether that’s playing a role coming off of the bench and hopefully bringing the team some energy or just being the best teammate I can be, I really just want to make sure that I’m in a position where I’m healthy and available for selection and ready to help the team if they need me,” Mewis said. “I’m really just focusing on playing the role I’m given and trying to contribute positively to the team environment so we can succeed.”
The Women’s World Cup begins Friday, June 7. Team USA’s first game is Tuesday, June 11 against Thailand.
“Making the roster – to date – I think is probably my biggest accomplishment,” Mewis said. “I feel like this journey – the past couple of weeks – I have reflected a lot on really where it all started.
“I think that sharing the accomplishment with all of the people who have made it possible is probably what is so special,” she added. “I think that kind of reflection and appreciation from where I’ve come from and all the people who have helped me get here has been huge and really what has made this so monumental for me.”