The US Ladies’s Nationwide Group (USWNT) kicked off their Ladies’s World Cup with a 3-0 win over Vietnam in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday 22 July. And one of many crew’s forwards took the second to keep in mind an absent buddy.
After striker Sophia Smith had slammed dwelling her second purpose of the sport, she put her fingers to her lips and made a zipping movement throughout her mouth in honour of former Stanford Cardinal teammate Katie Meyer, whose iconic celebration it was.
Meyer had gone viral after making exactly that gesture when the faculty facet secured the 2019 NCAA School Cup with a penalty shootout win through which she was instrumental however tragically died on 1 March 2022, aged simply 22, after taking her personal life.
“The final couple days are like a father or mother’s worst nightmare and also you don’t get up from it. So it’s simply horrific,” her mom Gina Meyer told NBC News within the quick aftermath of that tragedy.
Initially from Burbank, California, Meyer was an achieved goalkeeper who made 50 appearances for Stanford Cardinal at the faculty degree and captained the facet, having beforehand impressed at the youth degree taking part in for Newbury Park Panthers, Eagles Soccer Membership and Actual So Cal between 2014 and 2018.
She had enrolled at the distinguished Stanford College in 2019 and was pursuing a level in worldwide relations with a minor in historical past, reportedly hoping to attend Stanford Legislation College after graduating.
Each Smith and USWNT defender Naomi Girma have been shut mates of Smith at college, performed alongside her for the Cardinal and the trio incessantly featured in every others’ Instagram posts, with Smith writing movingly in a single from January 2020 of her excitement at playing with Meyer: “I keep in mind counting down the times till I might get to play with you.
“Thanks for preventing with me when issues went fallacious, and for celebrating with me when issues went proper. I really like you a lot and I’m so insanely proud we got here out on high this 12 months due to what it meant to each of us.”
Talking after the Vietnam recreation, Smith informed reporters: “That was for Katie. Nai and I talked about it earlier than the sport. We have been like, ‘What can we do for Katie?’ It was fairly iconic what she did within the School Cup, and we simply need to honour her in each method.”
Girma just lately printed a private essay in The Players Tribune in honour of Meyer through which she wrote: “There are mates, after which there are true mates. Katie Meyer was a real buddy, in each sense of the phrase.”
Since Meyer’s passing, Smith and Girma have used their more and more elevated platform to increase consciousness of the significance of psychological well-being, partnering with Widespread Purpose to create a psychological well being initiative in Meyer’s reminiscence.
“With loads of players, us included, talking out on psychological well being, we see this as a chance to make clear loads of issues that are essential to us,” Girma mentioned.
“That’s been one thing that’s been at the core of this crew for therefore lengthy and for us to are available now and keep it up that legacy is one thing that’s actually essential to us.
“It’s one thing that’s actually essential to me and Soph.”
Girma has mentioned she additionally remembers Katie Meyer by carrying a wristband with the initials “KM” emblazoned in it at any time when she takes to the pitch, making certain her buddy is rarely removed from her ideas, even mid-match.