NEW JERSEY - Christie Pearce Rampone, a New Jersey native and the most decorated American soccer player of all time, has a new book out to help parents raise kids during this crazy time.
Pearce Rampone is a two-time Women's World Cup champion, three-time Olympic gold medalist and former captain of the U.S. Women's National Soccer team for eight years. She also had a successful pro career retiring from the NWSL in 2017 when she was playing for New Jersey's Sky Blue FC.
She's also a mother of two young daughters.
Pearce-Rampone teamed up with Dr. Kristine Keane, a neuropsychologist to write a book called "Be All In: Raising Kids for Success in Sports and Life".
This book could not have come out at a better time because as school starts up again, some youth sports leagues are not, or they're just practicing. While other districts might have a full sports schedule.
When I spoke with Christie and Dr. Keane, they shared some of their advice, starting with Christie's own parents.
“(My parents) just allowed me to be me," said Pearce Rampone. "And it wasn't until I got asked and invited into the national team, is where I started to feel those pressures and more the mental side-- keep doing -- you are a great athlete and a player, but now you have to bring more to the game. And that's when that mental pressure started. And that's what we've come to talk about in the book, how do you get past those situations?”
"I think that's what is so surprising and interesting about Christie, that she didn't play on elite teams and she wasn't pressured to train," said Dr. Keane. "And she wasn't looking for that 10,000 hours of training during her childhood.
Pearce Rampone says the message of the book is also “to give back to these kids in this book and tell parents, it’s okay to take a break.”
“We talk about some of the mistakes parents make. We have a chapter called ‘The Car Ride Home’, where we talk about the parent's reaction to the game, to the playing time, to the disappointments.
Dr. Kean says she first met Christie at one of their daughter’s games.
“I was so surprised she's not yelling on the sidelines. She's not yelling about the ref. She's not complaining about her daughter’s playing time. That's the kind of stuff parents get very stressed about. And when they come off the field, what they're not realizing is their child is still in a fight or flight mode. So they're not functioning from their rational mind.”
Both women say parental pressure to become a professional athlete can only derail your child's development. Youth sports is also meant to lead to better grades, leadership qualities and socialization.
Abby Wombach, a soccer star in her own right, wrote the forward. “Be Aall In: Raising Kids for Success in Sports and Life” is available everywhere books are sold.