The World According to Weimer: Breakers Players Are ‘Different and Special’

Kansas City, MO - Sunday April 16, 2017: Christen Westphal, Rose Lavelle, Angela Salem during a regular season National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) match between FC Kansas City and the Boston Breakers at Childrenís Mercy Victory Field.

This is the ninth article for Empire of Soccer by the NWSL and Boston Breakers player Tiffany Weimer. The Connecticut native and former star at Penn State who has played professionally in the U.S., Canada and abroad offers an inside look at the care and feeding of a soccer player.

By TIFFANY WEIMER

Breakers logoThe recent international break gave us the opportunity to work in smaller groups and accomplish different things compared to when the whole team is here. It was good.

We also seemed to come a little closer as a team, so when the other players come back in, they’ll have a stronger core to jump back into, which is awesome. Because we have really missed Chappy. Well, I have anyway.

The idea of becoming closer throughout the season made me think about what it is that makes the 2017 Boston Breakers the 2017 Boston Breakers. Most of us didn’t know each other before this year, which isn’t the case for most teams in the National Women’s Soccer League.

We have a diverse team with players from five countries, ranging in ages from 21 to 33. Yep, we have an old lady on our team (me!). I can sit here and list reasons I think we are different and special, but I thought it might be best to get some answers from my teammates, who are obviously well-versed in being part of a team.

Here goes:

Amanda DaCosta, 27, Katonah, N.Y. “I love how the 2017 Breakers come together as a team. You can start a conversation with anyone in the locker room, and I think that is really rare to have in a group of 20 women who never really knew each other before.”

Allysha Chapman, 28, Oshawa, Canada “Most of the team is in a relationship, which means that other people can stand them for long periods of time. So, we get along because everyone is tolerable.”

Sammy Jo Prudhomme, 22, Aliso Viejo, Calif. “I would say team chemistry and personnel because it seems closer than last year’s team and I love the team.”

Rosie White, 24, Auckland, New Zealand “We are such a new group, we’ve had to come together quickly and try to gel. I think that happened fairly quickly and organically and because the team has already been through a lot of ups and downs, I think it has brought us together even more. I think we’re still developing so much individually and as a team that it makes it exciting to be a part of. We hold all the tools we need to be a great team so I think we have an exciting challenge ahead of us — to be the best team we can.”

Angela Salem, 28, Akron, Ohio “What makes this team different is that even though we come from different backgrounds we have put our differences aside because we have a common goal. We never give up in games and I think that’s a rare quality in a team and something that brings us closer because we’re all fighting for the same thing … we also have the best veterans.”

Kylie Strom, 25, Endicott, N.Y. “If I had to say it in one word I would say pride. Pride as a team, wanting to succeed as a team, being resilient and always having that belief. And pride in each person’s individual play, always wanting to get better each and every day, challenging each other and never settling.”

Julie King, 28, St. Louis, Mo. “I think Matt [Coach Matt Beard] was very calculated and thoughtful about bringing in certain players and people that would create his type of team culture and execute his style of play. This year’s team has a lot of depth and versatility. We have players who bring their own unique strengths to the team, and we have a solid range of experience as well. I think these factors have created an environment where we are challenged to compete and to get better with every training session and every game.”

Amanda Frisbie, 25, Keller, Tex. “We all came in having the attitude of wanting to turn this organization around and having a fresh start whether it be for ourselves or for the Breakers, which I think goes hand in hand. It is special because that sort of opportunity doesn’t happen often in this league. Teams don’t always make drastic changes year to year so it’s a special and rare environment.”

Christen Westphal, 23, Brecksville, Ohio “I think the Breakers are different this year because of the team chemistry. Our strong relationships off the pitch really translate to how we work as a team. We all support but push one another, which provides for a positive yet competitive environment. Simply put, we all want to be here and we want to be better than we were the day before as individuals and as team.”

Ifeoma Onumonu, 23, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. “Well, I would say what makes the Breakers special in my opinion is the fact that I don’t feel uncomfortable talking to anybody on the team. I don’t know how it is on any other team, but I feel like the team chemistry is really good and I genuinely like hanging out with everybody off the field. Plus, the rookies are really cool and funny.”

Me, 33, North Haven, Conn. Want to know what I like about this team? We hang out in the locker room early before training and long after training. Doing nothing. Just talking and listening to music. And it’s not like our locker room has a big-screen TV or Ping Pong table or anything. We just have each other. Our biggest strength is our togetherness. We don’t rely on any one person to make or break our team. We all take responsibility for the bad and take credit for the good. It’s a rare thing but something that is necessary if we want to be successful. This week, we took steps in the right direction. We have 16 games left. Anything can happen.

Quick Hits

I have about 100 boxes of Duktig Brand Trainer 2.0 in my apartment. If you’re a coach or player and are interested in purchasing one, my roommate would be thankful.

Teammates of the Week: Sammy Jo Prudhomme and Kylie Strom for staying up late over the weekend to help me pack and ship some of the soccer planners. Truly, truly, amazing. Thanks guys!

Book of the Week: I need suggestions. I like reading about musicians or comedians or athletes and also anything that helps to better my life. Go!

Motivation of the Week: I watched a ton of soccer over the international break. I like to consider myself a fairly motivated person. I think that the men’s game England vs. Scotland was one of those reminders of why we play this game and how anything can happen at any given moment. It is just such a beautiful game when nothing is predictable. Made me love the game even more.

Boston weather: The sun has arrived. And it’s so hot we have been given our tank tops for training! Now I have to spend more time in the gym! Thanks Laura!

Coffee shop of the week: Hi-Rise Bread Company in Cambridge. Thanks for taking me Rosie White! It was also entertaining watching Rosie carry an air-conditioner down the street. #foreigners

Next week I’m thinking about going through my teammates and showing all the things they do outside soccer. If you have suggestions on things you’d like to hear about the team, give me a shout! @tiffanyweimer on Twitter. Thanks!