This week, the New York Times Magazine has the classic story about the quiet, anonymous Scottish-American high school sophomore girl who happens to be one of the best freestyle soccer players in the world. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
At age 10, Indi Cowie could juggle a soccer ball 2,000 times without a break. Six years later, she's a dedicated freestyle juggler, and completely self-taught; she's performed at the halftime of a Chelsea-Manchester United game and was in a PlayStation commercial for the UEFA Champions League. Dan Magness, who holds the world record for keepy uppy (I promise that's a real thing) says she is "by far the most advanced female freestyler in the world." Cowie's competing in a corner of the sporting world that rarely sees any women on the national stage, and yet she's still entering in school talent show contests in Cary, N.C. to showcase her skills (and, the article suggests, to make friends — being a freestyle soccer god is apparently not yet the key to high school popularity).
Cowie — who smartly skipped out on playing for her high school girls' team to train with an independent boys' club — will likely play for Anson Dorrance at North Carolina in two years. This will give her a clear trajectory and actual chance at becoming what every awkwardly athletic girl with a soccer ball in this country wants to be: "the next Mia Hamm." Parents, take note, because this is what happens when you take your kid to live in Scotland for a few years.