Two-time Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy in Rockford

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From some of the past articles I’ve written, regular readers of this column know I’m not a soccer fan. I even took a lot of heat from several of you during the World Cup last year about some of the opinions I expressed about the sport.

I want you to know I really haven’t changed my mind, but I do realize many of our readers enjoy the sport. For those fans, I think they’ll find it very exciting that Julie Foudy will be visiting Rockford Saturday, May 5. From 11 to 11:30 a.m., Foudy will be at the Illinois Youth Soccer Association Headquarters Tent at Sportscore 1. She will be signing autographs and talking with fans.

I know you diehard soccer fans already know who she is, but for the casual fan or for those of you like myself, let me tell you who she is. Foudy is a 17-year member of the USA Women’s Soccer Team. For 13 of those years, she was the captain. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2004). She has two World Cup championships on her résumé (1991, 1999). Most recently, she was elected to the 2007 class for the Soccer Hall of Fame. She truly is an icon in the world of women’s soccer.

She is in town to promote her leadership academy, July 15-20 at the McDonald’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill. According to a press release, “The goal of the academy is for each student to embrace leadership concepts, nurture and maintain her self-confidence and believe in her ability…every moment of every day.”

Foudy said, “I am excited to work with the IYSA in promoting this academy to young women throughout the area, and encourage those who might not have access to a program like this to apply for scholarships.”

The academy is designed for young women ages 12-18. To learn more about the academy and scholarship opportunities, talk with Foudy this weekend or visit her Web site at

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

from the May 2-8, 2007, issue

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