Wonder Women: Lindsey Horan feeding off USWNT World Cup final snub as she continues to evolve
WOMEN'S
Jenny Hojnacki
2 Yrs Ago
Lindsey Horan has long dreamed of being the best soccer player in the world. Her career put herself on that path, but the U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder lost sight of that goal in her mind and she is now using a personal disappointment to regroup and refocus her mind on her ultimate dream.
Horan was a key member of the U.S. Women’s National Team last summer when it won its second consecutive World Cup. She appeared in six of the team’s seven matches, including four starts, and scored a pair of goals and added two assists on top of that. Horan’s crowning achievement was providing the assist on Alex Morgan’s game-winning goal in the semifinal against England.
It was Horan’s first World Cup and she celebrated the victory with the rest of her teammates as enthusiastically as anyone. She knows that winning on the world’s biggest stage is a team effort that requires a certain amount of individual sacrifice, but Horan also left with one glaring personal disappointment when it was over: she didn’t appear in the World Cup Final and now-retired USWNT head coach Jill Ellis never told her why.
“The World Cup was so huge for me,” Horan said in a video at The Players’ Tribune. “I played in big games, I had big moments, but I didn’t feel like I had enough. Individually I wasn’t as happy with myself and I wanted to be playing in the World Cup Final and I wanted to be playing more. So, what do I need to do to better myself to make that happen the next go around?”
“The World Cup is kind of the very top of football and that’s what everyone plays for and everyone wants to be a part of that tournament.”
Horan turns 26 on May 26 and she still has a lot of time to become the best player in the world. Her career is certainly on the right track. She passed on a full scholarship to the University of North Carolina in 2012 to move to France and play for Paris Saint-Germain. Not many American women get that chance and she pounced on it, realizing that her dream was to play professional soccer.
The move certainly paid off. She was a dynamite goal scorer at PSG with 54 goals in only 76 games and she drew the attention of Ellis and the USWNT. After her first few call-ups, Horan sat down with her coach and learned that she would have better prospects if she came home to play in the NWSL. With that in mind, Horan signed with the Portland Thorns in 2016 and has since become a key member of the midfield for both club and country.
She isn’t the best player in the world though, at least not yet, but maturity has allowed her to tweak that goal into one that is more focused on personal development than aiming for some imaginary status.
“I just have this huge dream that I want to be the best player in the world and I had that inside of me for my whole youth career,” Horan said. “It’s kind of strange. During my career it’s evolved into I want to be the best Lindsey I can be, the best player I can be, and I kind of stayed away from saying I want to be the best player in the world and I don’t know why.”
Watching the World Cup Final from the bench wasn’t at all what Horan wanted and now she is using that experience as the motivation to become the best out there. Horan knows she has the talent to get to that point and it is only a matter of admitting to herself that she can get better and then having the drive to work for it.
“So I think now it’s more evolved to I do want to be the best player in the world and that’s not a crazy dream to have and I can do it,” Horan said. “It kind of gives me goosebumps right now because that is a dream of mine. It’s always been there and I maybe had self doubt at a point and I stopped saying it. I feel very confident in saying it now and I’m going to make that dream come true.”
Horan has played excellent soccer since the World Cup ended. She scored a hat trick in Olympic Qualifying against Panama and had six goals in that tournament overall. She also scored in the final SheBelieves Cup match against Japan, bringing her 2020 goal total to a career-high seven.
Though being the best player in the world isn’t her sole motivation anymore, Horan is building toward that target, and it isn’t a stretch to already consider her one of the best midfielders in the world.
As disappointing as not playing in the 2019 World Cup final was for Horan, it has helped fuel her recent surge, and the way has played since that World Cup makes it a safe bet she will be on the field the next time the USWNT is on the field playing for a major trophy.
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