Today the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup despite losing to Sweden 2-1.  Their next game will be on Sunday at 11:00am against Brazil.

2002 Portage Central graduate Lindsay Tarpley, one of Team USA's best players, has been forced to watch the entire tournament from home following a heartbreaking injury.

Success has followed Lindsay Tarpley her entire soccer career.  Tarpley was also named the best high school player in the country her senior year.  She also won a state championship at Portage Central in 2000.  While in college she led North Carolina to a national championship and was named the top college player in the country.  North Carolina retired her jersey in 2006.

Tarpley's success has continued for the U.S. National Team.  She has played in 125 games for the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and has scored 32 goals.  She won Olympic gold medals in soccer in 2004 and 2008.  In other words, she's pretty good.  That only makes her bad luck with injuries harder to accept.

Tarpley suffered a torn right ACL on May 14 in one of the final warm-ups before the World Cup.  In 2009, she suffered the same injury to the same knee and had worked months to rehabilitate it with the goal of competing in this year's World Cup.  Now she faces another long recovery with hopes of being able to return for the 2012 Olympics.

At Tarpley says:

Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed, but I believe that things happen for a reason and I know that I’ll grow and learn from this.  I had a long road back to recovery after my last surgery and one of my main goals was to get myself healthy and competing at a level that would give me the opportunity to make this World Cup Team.

It has always been an extreme honor to be able to wear the U.S. jersey and represent my country and even though I won’t be in Germany, I will be there in spirit and cheering on the team from home. I know they are prepared and going to do great.

Inspirational words from one of the best athletes to ever come out of West Michigan.