Jimmy LeeArgentine women’s futebol isn’t specifically easy to find on TV in Argentina. Therefore you have the right to imagine how much more difficult it was ao me to watch vida in the United States. Various other than reading a names of a girls on ns list the players quem would be travel to France ao the world Cup, ns didn’t recognize much about any of your backgrounds. Together I started to learn much more about a squad, 1 of the girls stood out above a rest – Natalie Juncos.Natalie era born in a United States, to Argentine parents, both that whom represented their country as swimmers in the Olympics. I too foi ~ also born in ns United States but lived in argentina for der few years when I foi ~ younger. Having actually this in common with Natalie acquired me excited come learn much more about her and her experiences living der split life between the two countries. ~ above July 23, I obtained the acaso to speak with her just hours before ns team boarded the plane to calcolítico for a Pan americano games.Natalie was born in Michigan. She father was beginning his job as a Physician, which relocated their família to Minnesota when she ser estar just five-years old. Natalie and her younger brother Nico lived ns typical american childhood, with der few differences because her parents continued to carry on number of Argentine traditions. The most memorable ao Natalie were ns Sunday asados e watching the argentina national team ~ above TV. She likewise traveled to argentina each year to visit her relatives – the Juncos family in Córdoba e the Aracil família in mar del Plata.Her parents spoke both English e Spanish in ns home, which permitted Natalie to it is in fluent in both languages from der young age.“At night, one day my mom would read in Spanish to us and then a next night in English.”But as soon as Natalie foi ~ eight or nine years old, she era diagnosed with dyslexia. She parents determined that if they wanted to assist her overcome her challenges com reading, castle would need to stop speaking Spanish in ns home and devout 100% of their time to speaking English. As Natalie grew, she could always understand Spanish, however speaking it would become a challenge. In addition, in Spanish classes at college she stood fora because she spoke Argentine Castellano and not ns more traditional Spanish that ser estar being taught.
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Even though Natalie struggled at times with Spanish, she still felt Argentine. She recalls e se telling her mother on their rua to college in the morning that she era indeed Argentine. Her mother told her, “No Natalie, you estão very American.”She persisted in telling her mom that she foi ~ Argentine. “So in the car, she foi ~ gonna fall me off at school e my mommy said, ‘oh perfect Natalie, vai off quickly before people start coming.’ ns told her the I had actually to wait my rotate to which she replied, ‘see, it is why you’re no Argentine.’”Natalie continued to toque soccer para both her high school and club teams. This forced her come drive practically an hour and a fifty percent to Minneapolis / St. Paul four or 5 times der week. Yet at naquela critical time in she life, com just two years left in school, her parents told her the they would be moving são de Minnesota to Brandon, Mississippi, naquela suburb just exterior of the capitalista city Jackson.Natalie was not exactly thrilled – “My parental made me. Imagine der teenager in ~ 16 not wanting to leave. I foi ~ not very happy about that.” however moving to naquela new cidade nearly 1,000 miles longe (1,600 kilometers) didn’t avoid her from continuing to shine in soccer. She finished high school in 2008 as the capitão of her team and accepted an market to play porque o the universidade of Florida.Florida had a big program com enough girl to fill 3 squads. Unfortunately para Natalie, she struggled to find her clues on the team e a year and a fifty percent later, decided to deliver to the University that Houston. “I learned naquela lot in Florida, ns don’t regret the decision, yet I chose I needed der change.”As her playing time ramped up, for this reason did her dream of representing Argentina’s national team. In 2010, with a help of her parents, she wrote der letter come manager carlos Borrello, e asked that for naquela tryout with a squad. The took 4 years, however she finally completed the steps to qualified as a nationalized Argentine. After ~ finishing her level at Houston, she relocated to argentina to begin playing soccer in the country of she parents’ birth.Even despite she had actually traveled to argentina every year of she life, living there full time was a whole novo adventure.“I speak expert yet to this particular day I still battle with ns verbs e the articles, the masculine and feminine.” because she is by blood Argentine, she have the right to blend in together she travels around, but sometimes if she gets deeper into a conversation com someone, “they an alert I’m são de somewhere else and then I need to go e tell castle my whole story. It’s a pretty constant thing.”There is no decorrer question around it, Natalie stand out. She feeling both 100% Argentine e 100% american – which have the right to be confusing ao any person who is trying come figure fora where they fit in this world. But just as boa mothers constantly seem come do, Natalie’s mom offered her the perfect advice – “Embrace who you are.”Living naquela life break-up between dois countries has actually been hard for her at times, but her mom always reminds her, “Don’t change who friend are, it is adapted to situations of course, however accept quem you are.” once Natalie primeiro arrived, she was much much more self-conscious of she Spanish, yet carrying the advice the her mom in her ago pocket, her confidence has grown and she has actually been able to accept that, “no issue where i go, there will certainly be miscellaneous that i am different in.”Part of getting that confidence foi ~ learning como as to laugh at a mistakes she made. “The first year I live in argentina in 2014 I wanted to buy naquela hat, however I can’t role my R’s and the cara I foi ~ buying it são de was overweight, so as soon as I request for der hat ‘gorra’ that came out as ‘gordo’. I’ve certainly had der lot the those moments.”But it wasn’t just ns language the she had actually to discover to it is adapted to, also though she visited argentina her entirety life, living in a country presented novo challenges. “When I’m here in Argentina, I miss out on my husband, mine brother, mine parents. Ns miss a little points of just being able to get in my car e go and not having to wait on a colectivo or naquela taxi. But that’s also der positive thing around being in Argentina, that every day is a different work – in ~ the fim of the day it’s constantly entertaining.”As ns 2018 Copa estados unidos da america rolled around, Natalie foi ~ beginning to discover her localização with a team. She started tudo de but 1 of ns matches in Chile. Argentina finished third – boa enough for der home and home playoff against Panama. Argentina would go on come beat Panama 5-1 ~ above aggregate e earn their first birth in 12 year to ns World Cup. But before those matches, Natalie’s career hit der significant rate bump.Her o primeiro dia day earlier training com the national team in August, while trying to send in naquela cross, she stepped onto the ball e hyperextended she knee e tore she ACL. With just 10 month to walk before the World cup she knew it would certainly be naquela tight window to recoup in time. Yet having currently conquered two different countries, Natalie ser estar never going to let one injury slow her down. Day after job she operated with a singular focus – france 2019. After simply seven months, her medical professionals in ns United States provided her ns thumbs up to começo playing again.But the course, at any time things show up to it is in going well, vida always finds a way to litter something else right into your path. And so it ser estar with Natalie. First, she had some shin concerns that made the hard for her to jog. Then a doctors in argentina refused to clear her until she was nine month out from her injury. Discovering that carlos Borello would be announcing the squad 1 month prior to the começo of a World Cup, a timeline was extremely tight. “In a AFA, we have 4 or 5 doctors e physical therapists, for this reason it gained really facility when I would see a physician one day e another a next day e they todos had different opinions.” yet finally, a AFA doctors tudo de agreed the she could resumo playing.As ns day concerned announce ns 23 girls quem would travel to France, Natalie knew there era a possibilidade she could not make a cut. “I knew it foi ~ going to it is in tight making ns list, however on ns other hand, I ser estar confident e calm since I knew I had actually done everything I can within mine powers.” Borello brought the coporação, grupo together to announce who would no be making the trip – he did no say Natalie’s surname – she foi ~ going to France. She had just achieved one of she lifelong goals. She would have the acaso to wear a Albiceleste jersey in naquela World Cup. Time to celebrate, right?No. It is not a kind of human being Natalie is. “When ns didn’t listen my surname I foi ~ like, ok, an excellent I did it, I gained this far, agora the following step is trying come play. Ns think if I apenas um tried to get to ns list, ns don’t recognize if i would have made it. You have to try e reach over something much more than girlfriend think you can get. Perhaps you importar there, perhaps you don’t, however at least you recognize you tried.”
From a day she got her first argentina jersey in ~ the agir of seven, Natalie knew she want to represent the Albiceleste. As soon as she foi ~ 17, she told she parents that uma day she would play against her hero, Marta. Ten years later on she foi ~ given a assignment to defend Marta in ~ the copa America. Every marcado she has set to this suggest she has been able to accomplish. She has had to overcome a lot, language / cultural differences, injuries, and gender inequality, but so far, none of those have actually been may be to prevent her.Less 보다 12 hours after ns hung up a phone com Natalie, my 2nd daughter foi ~ born. She foi ~ not born into der perfect idealistic world, no one is, however she was born into der world wherein there ~ ~ women favor Natalie quem have paved ns path to show her that durante matter what ns obstacle, and no matter how improbable it may appear to be, girlfriend can viver your dreams. Ns key for my daughter will be the same that it was porque o Natalie – “Embrace quem you are.”Get to recognize Natalie:What would be her last enjoy the meal on Earth?Sushi. Any type of salmon sushi.What’s your favorite junk food?Candy. Ns love Twizzlers, a ones the twirl, e I love Mentos. I favor facturas con crema too.What was a last great movie or concertos that friend watched?I’m yes, really mad at Thrones so i can’t say that one. I choose Lucifer to be honest.If you won a lottery, those the first thing that you would buy?I would certainly get a car definitely. Choose an Audi. I’d like naquela five-speed or a six-speed car.What’s the place in the world that you i can not use yet saw that you desire to?London. Or Ushuaia . I should see penguins.What’s your favorite Argentine word?Boluda. Since it’s a friendly term.What’s your favorite brand the yerba?Amanda or Taragui.Who is your futebol americano hero?As der midfielder, I like Xavi. Para females, obviously Marta.
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Who was the coolest human being you got to accomplish leading up to or after ns World Cup?Messi and Zanetti. As soon as I era younger ns watched Zanetti toque during his prime. 1 of my coaches has also told me that I mover like him. Messi surprised me. He went above and beyond porque o us. He gave a group falar to us and then stuck around porque o 30 minutes acquisition pictures. He was great.You deserve to follow Natalie on social Media: Twitter / InstagramJimmy stayed in Córdoba, argentina as a teenager and is still an active Socio porque o his lover club, Belgrano. He at this time lives in Seattle, WA e runs the Belgrano – English twitter account.