High profile athletes empowering girls to work harder

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — It’s been a great week for women in sports. Misty Copeland is now the first African-American principal dancer in the 75-year-old American Ballet Theater. And the U.S. Women’s Soccer team beat Germany Tuesday to make it to the 2015 Women’s World Cup finals.

Richmond native Haley Randall has been playing soccer her whole life.

“This is the first year that there has been 24 teams in the women’s World Cup. Imagine all of the girls in Ecuador cheering and thinking ‘I can be there one day.'”

She says seeing the national dominate in the World Cup has a huge impact on younger girls.

“The sport of course, but down to the fashion sense, and all of that. I think even the mentality, the younger girl soccer players today have the mentality of ‘Gotta win, gotta fight hard,’” said Randall.

“The U.S. Women’s Team, Misty Copeland, is the bi-product of all the wonderful things that are happening well below that,” said Michael Cerreto, a sports psychology counselor.

Cerreto says a few factors have helped promote women in sports. Better coaching is one of them.

“Women now have much better opportunities to get adjunct training–the strength training, the mental training, the nutrition.”

At Richmond Ballet, that training starts at an early age. Teachers cultivate a supportive environment, motivating girls to reach for the stars.

“It’s just about how much you put into it, how long you put into it, it’s trying and trying, so if there is nobody to say that was good, that was not as good, that was good but you can do better, then you’re not going to go anywhere,” said Cecile Tuzii, a teacher at Richmond Ballet.

For many seeing their idol Misty Copeland become principal ballerina, is proof if you work hard enough, dreams can come true.

“I think it’s a great influence for girls of all ages just to see other women move up, and accomplish their dreams,” said Lauren Anthony, a ballerina.

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