Sydney Leroux tells the story of an open practice when a young girl just ran up to her and said you look like me, I want to be like you. The moment, which Leroux talks about during a segment on espnW’s What Makes Us series, was a revelation for Leroux. One of the stars of the United States Women’s National team, the newly crowned World Cup Champions in soccer, the former UCLA Bruin is a mixed race superstar in a sport — women’s soccer — that is still predominantly white in Western countries.
The day that little girl ran up to her, Leroux says, it was the first time she realized it was important who she is. That her identity was important, that it mattered. Not as far as soccer, but as a person, what she represents — as evidenced in the admiring eyes of that little girl. “She was this half-black little girl,” Leroux recounts. “It just opened my eyes with the fact that who I was … mattered.”
Sydney Leroux scores at the Olympics: