Game Report: USA versus Mexico, November 2, 2003
By Bared Affair sports reporter Beth
Team photo from 2003.
After the most recent issue of Bared Affair came out, the circulation department received a phone call from April Heinrichs, the U.S. women's national soccer team coach. It turns out that Coach Heinrichs is a charter subscriber to Bared Affair. "I wish I had known that the magazine had a reporter covering the Women's World Cup," Coach Heinrichs told a surprised receptionist. "I would have given her full access to the team during the entire tournament."
Since the World Cup was over, Coach Heinrichs offered to allow sports reporter Beth to join the team on the bench during their friendly match with Mexico in Dallas, Texas. Beth joined the team at the team hotel, rode with them on the bus to the Cotton Bowl, sat on the sidelines during the game, and even got to be present during the pre-game, half time, and post-game meetings. Below is her report of that Sunday afternoon in November.
Team coach April Heinrichs.
I could not believe my good fortune at being asked to actually be with the team during the match. It's one thing to watch a game from the nosebleed section, but to actually watch from the sidelines, sitting next to members of the team was the thrill of a lifetime. I joined the team just before they got on the bus at that team hotel.
Coach Heinrichs introduced me to the team as the woman who had written about their mothers and their upbringing in Bared Affair. I heard several players comment that they loved that magazine and looked forward to every issue. As we got on the bus, several players told me that I should have interviewed their mother for the story, as each was certain she had the strictest mother on the team. Kristine Lilly even asked me to sit with her on the bus, as she wanted to talk to me about my story.
Kristine Lilly told me on the way to the stadium, "They call the game a friendly, but when you're representing your country, there's really no such thing as a friendly match. They want to win for their country as much as we want to win for ours. Both sides are going to play hard today."
Kristine Lilly in action on the field.
Across the bus aisle, Julie Foudy added, "We used to go into games against Mexico knowing we would cream them, but they've improved a lot over the years. We're confident we'll beat them today, but we know we'll have to work for the victory."
The bus arrived at the Cotton Bowl, and I walked next to Mia Hamm as we entered the dressing room for the home team. "I remember the last time we played in Texas," she said. "We played in front of 8,000 fans in a high school stadium. Today we're playing in a stadium that holds well over 60,000, and they expect over 20,000 for our game. I played a lot of youth soccer in Texas, and it really makes me happy to see this much support for soccer in general and the women's game in particular."
The players quickly changed into their pre-game uniforms and trotted out to the field. It was a good hour before kick-off, but already hundreds of fans were ringing the bottom of the stadium, hoping for a chance at an autograph or just to say that a player looked at me in the eye. I was impressed to see all of the players go and greet their fans. The appreciation the players showed their fans seemed quite genuine, and I found myself thinking you would never see something like this on a professional men's team. You might find a player or two who would always make time for autographs, but not the whole team.
After a while, Coach Heinrichs told the players it was time to get down to business. They stretched, ran, passed, and took shots on goal, and I got tired from just watching them warm up. I couldn't imagine playing 90 minutes of soccer if I had gone through their warm up routine. About 15 minutes before kick off, we went back into the dressing room where Coach Heinrichs announced her starting line up and gave her last few pointers. She reminded the women to play hard, but also to play clean. "This is supposed to be a friendly match," she stated while looking directly at Kristine. "A lot of young players are getting their first in person look at you today. We want to show them how the game is played and what good sportsmanship is all about.
After a go USA cheer, that I must admit gave me goose bumps, I went out to the field with the coaches, trainers, and the reserve players. Brandi Chastain, who is still recovering from a broken foot, invited me to sit between her and Julie Foudy for the start of the game.
As we walked to the team bench, Brandi mentioned that she had read my article in Bared Affair. Her mother passed away a couple of years ago, she told me, but if she had been at the 2003 World Cup, Mrs. Chastain could have added to the accounts of members of the national team being spanked as young ladies.
"My mom used a switch," Brandi began with a voice almost choked with emotion. "When I would mess up, she'd go tell me to cut one. Most of the time, she would use it on me immediately. Sometimes, though, after I brought her the switch, she would tell me that she was going to hold on to it, and if I did the same thing again, then she would use it on me, and I would get it twice as bad as I should have gotten it that time. So, when I was sent for a switch, I always had a little hope that maybe I wouldn't get it.
"The last time that happened was just after we won the '99 World Cup. Mom was really mad at me for taking my shirt off after scoring the winning PK. As soon as we got home, she chewed me out but good and sent me for a switch. I couldn't believe that here I was, 30 years old, and about to get a spanking from my mother. When I came back with it, she told she was going to hold on to that switch, and if I ever stripped again like that, she'd use it on me.
Brandi Chastain and her controversial post goal celebration.
"After Mother died, we went through her things," Brandi continued. "She still had that switch. I took it home with me, and I still have it. It reminds me of my mother's love for me and her concern that I be a person she can be proud of." By the time she had finished her story, tears were running down her face, and Julie gave her a hug.
The first half progressed nicely, with the US taking an early lead on a Cindy Parlow goal. A little later, Joy Fawcett got called for a foul in the penalty area, giving Mexico a penalty kick. Brandi commented to Julie, "I bet Joy's hoping that Coach thinks it's a bad call and not a stupid foul." I was just about to ask Brandi what she meant by that when Mexico took the kick and tied the game.
Not too many minutes later, Mia was knocked down in Mexico's penalty area, and there was no call. She got up, walked over to number 5 from Mexico, and pushed her from behind. The Mexican goalkeeper came in between them, and Lilly helped walk Mia away from it. Apparently the referee and assistant referee missed the whole thing, because neither player got a card.
"That's gonna cost Mia," Julie said.
"What do you mean, 'that's gonna cost Mia'?" I asked.
"Just wait until half-time, and you'll see," Julie replied.
As much as I was enjoying the game, I must admit that my curiosity was driving me crazy to see what would happen at half time.
The first half ended with the game tied at 1-1. We jogged into the dressing room, and Coach Heinrichs got right down to business. She pointed out the positive things the team had done and noted areas that needed improvement. Looking directly at Mia, she said we had to make more out of our corner kicks than we were. Then she addressed the foul that led to Mexico's score. I glanced over at Joy Fawcett, and she looked visibly nervous.
"Well, Joy," asked Coach Heinrichs, "can you explain your foul?"
"I didn't mean to foul her, Coach," and I don't really think I did," began Joy. "I thought I got the ball cleanly away from her." I must admit that it was rather humorous watching a 37 year old star player and mother of three answering her coach with a posture that looked more like a young girl trying to avoid being in trouble with her mother, especially since the coach is only two years older than the player.
"Coach," interjected Shannon Boxx, one of the newer stars on the US team. "I don't think the ref was in a good position to make that call. She was trailing play too much and was at a bad angle. I agree with Joy that she got the ball clean and the ref just made a bad call."
"Me, too," could be heard from several other players.
"I agree that the call was not a good one," stated Coach Heinrichs, "but could you have avoided the situation by playing smarter defensively before the player even got that close to the goal?" she asked.
"Yeah, Coach," conceded Joy with a downcast look on her face. "I could have played that one better."
"I think so, too," Coach Heinrichs agreed. "Do you want to take care of it now or later?"
"I guess I'll take care of it now," Joy said as she rose to her feet and slowly made her way to the bench at the front of the dressing room. While Joy was coming up, and Coach Heinrichs reached into a duffle bag, I heard Mia mutter, "Oh, shit, she's in a hitting mood." I was shocked to see Joy pulling down her shorts and panties and to see Coach Heinrichs pulling out a large wooden paddle. Joy bent over a bench with her backside facing the team. Coach gave her two almighty cracks with the paddle that echoed in the dressing room. A red faced and red bottomed Joy Fawcett pulled up her shorts and returned to her place on a bench.
Joy Fawcett, it appears she was used to standing up.
"The next incident we need to address," stated Coach Heinrichs, " is the incident between Mia and the player from Mexico in the box. Would you care to explain yourself, Mia?"
I looked over to Mia, and saw she was staring at the floor. She let out a slow breath before she began answering her coach's question.
"Well, that was like the fourth time that same woman had knocked me down," Mia began, "and I was sick of it. And for the fourth time, the ref didn't even blow her whistle, and I was sick of that, too."
"So you took it upon yourself to play judge, jury, and executioner?" Coach Heinrichs asked.
"Yes, ma'am, I guess I did," came the answer.
"If one of the officials had seen what you had done, what probably would have happened or should have happened?" the coach asked.
"I could have been sent off," Mia answered quietly.
"That's right," Coach Heinrichs returned. "You deserved a red card for what you did. I seem to recall telling this team about the importance of good sportsmanship in this match. Were you not listening to what I said? You took a young girl out to the field for the opening ceremonies and introductions. How would she have felt at seeing you sent off the field in disgrace? What do you have to say for yourself, young lady?"
The "young lady" comment surprised me since the "young lady" she was referring to is 35 years old. I looked over at Mia and was surprised to see tears streaming down her face.
I'm sorry, Coach," Mia replied. "I have no excuse for my actions. They were wrong, and I deserve to be punished for them."
"Do you want to take care of this now or after the game?"
"I'll take care of it now," Mia replied in a very soft voice.
"Well, team," Coach Heinrichs stated, addressing the whole team, "what do you think Mia deserves for her actions in the penalty box?"
I looked around and saw members of the national team holding up fingers. Most were holding up three to five fingers. I noticed that Abby Wambach held up only one, her pinky, and Brandi Chastain was holding up all ten fingers while sporting a huge grin on her face.
"All right, Mia, your teammates have spoken," Coach Heinrichs said. "Come up here. Wambach and Chastain, you two come up here also."
The three players made their way up to the bench that Joy had recently bent over. I knew why Mia was up there, but I wasn't sure why the coach had called Brandi and Abby up there to join her.
"Abby, would you care to explain why you think Mia deserves only one lick?" asked April.
"Well, Coach," the younger player began, "I know what it is to keep getting knocked down and there be no call. Plus, I play hard and physical, and I'm probably at risk of getting a red card every time I step on the field. That's why I voted for just one swat."
"How about you, Brandi," April asked again. "Why do you think Mia deserves ten licks? I don't think I ever gave you that many, though perhaps I should have."
"Gee, April," Brandi said with an "aw shucks" look on her face. "I was just thinking about the team image. It would probably make headlines if Mia got kicked out of a game, especially for shoving a player who had her back to Mia."
"Looking over the reasonable votes of your team, Mia," Coach Heinrichs began, "you'll receive four licks. Brandi and Abby, for your unreasonable votes, you'll each receive half of what Mia gets. I think you two should go first."
In turn, Brandi and Abby each lowered her shorts and panties, bent over the bench, and received two very hard licks from their coach. Although neither player uttered a sound during her paddling, both flinched each time the board struck her bottom. I also couldn't help but notice how muscular and firm their legs and buttocks were. Their punishments over, the two women returned to their benches, leaving only Mia to face her coach.
The compassionate Abby Wambach.
"All right, Mia," the coach told her gently. "It's your turn. Get ready for your paddling."
I noticed that Mia already had tears streaming down her face as she first pulled down her shorts and then pulled down a rather tattered looking pair of panties.
"Hey, Mia," shouted out Kristine, "can't you afford some new underwear?"
"These are my lucky panties," Mia replied.
"They sure don't seem to be too lucky today," Kristine answered back with a laugh and several members of the team chuckled with her.
Her bottom now bare, Mia slowly bent over the bench for her paddling. Coach Heinrichs wasted no time in giving her four licks that were just as hard as the ones she had already given Joy, Brandi, and Abby. Mia shuddered as she received each lick, and grunted during the last two. Her paddling over, Mia stood up and pulled her shorts and panties back into place. As she turned around, I could see tears still streaming down her face. April Heinrichs put down her paddle and gave her star forward a tight hug.
"Shhh," April whispered, "it's okay. Your spanking is over and all is forgiven."
One by one, several members of the team, including all of the ones paddled that day, made their way to Mia to give her a hug. The last one to hug Mia was Kristine, the one who had made the wisecrack about Mia's panties.
Star player Mia Hamm.
An assistant signaled Coach Heinrichs that it was about time to return to the field. April quickly announced two substitutes for the start of the second half – Abby would replace Cindy at forward, and Julie would replace Kristine at halfback. After another goose bump raising "Go USA" cheer, we returned to the field for the second half.
This time I walked along side Brandi and Kristine. Kristine confided in me that Mia always anguished over getting spanked for doing something bad. It was one thing, Kristine told me, for her to get paddled for messing up in some kind of drill or even breaking a team curfew, but Mia always had a hard time dealing with letting the team down for doing something that would hurt them in a game or hurt the team image.
"I have never seen her cry," Kristine stated, "during an equally hard paddling given for losing a drill or the few times we've been paddled for breaking curfew or some other training rule. And I've never seen her not cry when she was paddled for doing something that would hurt the team. That’s why I made the crack about her panties before she got spanked, to try and relieve some of her tension. And that's why so many of us hugged her afterward. Some of the newer players don't realize how important those hugs are for Mia, but they'll learn."
"Knowing how sensitive Mia is toward letting down the team," Brandi added, "I probably shouldn't have made my comment about why I thought she should get ten licks, but I hope she knows I was just joking."
Shannon MacMillan came up behind us and stated the real reason why Brandi had held up ten fingers in voting for Mia's paddling. "It hurts Brandi that she can't be out on the field playing with us while she's recovering from her broken foot. I know what she's going through when I couldn't take part in things with the national team when I was recovering from my knee surgery. Brandi knew that no one would hold up anything close to ten fingers on Mia. And she also knew that Coach usually paddles the low and high voters, especially when they're so off of what everyone else votes for. Taking a paddling along with Mia and Joy was a way she could still feel a part of the team and not just a tagalong. I should know because I did the same thing a couple of times this summer before I could play again."
While the second half got underway, I had several things to ponder. From what several of the players had told me, it sounded like paddling was a fairly common thing on the women's national team. Kristine had mentioned getting paddled during drills and for breaking team rules. Shannon admitted to orchestrating a couple of paddlings for herself. Also, as much as the paddlings seemed to hurt, getting paddled didn't seem like much of a big deal to three of the four recipients. I did notice that the older players seemed to find getting paddled more of an ordeal than the younger players. After my talk with many of the mothers of the national team players, it would appear that the younger players were less removed from maternal spankings than the older players, and perhaps that's why they took them with a bit less fuss.
The paddlings seemed to be an effective way to motivate the players; I came to believe as the second half went on. The US went on to score two goals, both goals involving paddled players. Twice, Abby Wambach scored off of Mia Hamm corner kicks, and the US went on to beat Mexico 3-1. Shannon MacMillan also entered the game and nearly scored a fourth goal. When the referee blew the final whistle, I was disappointed that the game was over. I had thoroughly enjoyed this time with the national team.
While the team was doing some cool down stretching on the field, I heard Mia comment to Kristine that with two assists in the second half; it would appear that her panties had been lucky after all. The two giggled like a couple of schoolgirls after that comment and jogged a cool down lap together.
As we made our way back to the locker room, Coach Heinrichs said that she was glad I could come to the game and invited me to come spend time with the team during its upcoming training camp for the Olympics. As I drove home from the team hotel, I relived the entire game while dreaming about spending even more time with the national team at a training camp. Life doesn't get much better than that.
A picture from Premium Spanking that helps to give an outsider some idea of how an elite female athlete trains.