Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma Pay TouchingTribute at Women’s World Cup, While Raising Awareness for Mental Health
Remembering a Beloved Teammate and Championing Mental Health
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – In an emotional display of love and remembrance, U.S. women’s national soccer team players Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma honored their late teammate, Katie Meyer, during the Women’s World Cup.
The pair, who shared a deep bond with Katie during their time at Stanford University, made sure her memory lives on while shedding light on the crucial issue of mental health.
Katie Meyer, a talented goalkeeper, tragically passed away in February 2022, leaving her friends, family, and teammates heartbroken.
However, her spirit remains alive through the dedication of Smith, Girma, and others who are using their platform to tackle the often-neglected topic of mental health.
A Heartfelt Tribute
Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma played alongside Katie Meyer when Stanford secured the 2019 NCAA title. In a heartwarming gesture, Sophia and Naomi ensured that their friend’s legacy would endure during the Women’s World Cup.
Girma, together with Smith, Sofia Huerta, and several other USWNT players, partnered with Common Goal and Fox Sports to launch a mental health initiative.
Fox Sports pledged to devote 1% of its airtime during the World Cup to discussions about mental health, while Common Goal committed to supporting communities with limited access to mental health resources.
Katie’s parents, Gina and Steve Meyer were profoundly moved by this initiative, emphasizing how it went beyond soccer and demonstrated the players’ genuine concern for a subject that is often overlooked.
The Touching Gesture That Warmed Hearts
During the USWNT’s World Cup opener against Vietnam, Sophia Smith scored her second goal and paid a heartfelt tribute to Katie.
She mimicked the “zip it” gesture, which Katie Meyer had famously made after her first penalty save during the NCAA title game.
The symbolic gesture, which Katie used to silence doubters, touched the hearts of everyone who witnessed it, including Katie’s parents. It was a beautiful reminder of the spirited and determined young woman their daughter was.
Advocating for Mental Health Awareness
Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma are determined to keep Katie’s memory alive by advocating for mental health awareness.
They cherish the moments they shared with Katie and want the world to understand the vibrant and remarkable person she was. But they also want to bring attention to the importance of addressing mental health issues openly and honestly.
The Meyers learned only after Katie’s passing that she had faced disciplinary action at Stanford, which could have affected her graduation.
They are now working on the “Katie’s Save” initiative, which aims to designate advocates for college students who may need extra guidance and support during challenging circumstances related to academics, conduct, or mental health.
Making a Difference for Katie
In honor of Katie, the Meyers are collaborating with California State Representative Jacqui Irwin to draft legislation that would implement “Katie’s Save” at public universities in the state.
They have also garnered interest from educators and lawmakers in other states, showing their unwavering commitment to making a difference.
Sophia Smith, Naomi Girma, and their fellow USWNT players have recognized the power of their platform. Whether raising awareness for Katie, advocating for “Katie’s Save,” or promoting mental health, they are taking action to create meaningful change.
Katie’s Everlasting Cheerleaders
The spirit of Katie Meyer lives on in the hearts of her teammates, Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma. Their touching tribute at the Women’s World Cup and their dedication to advocating for mental health will leave a lasting impact on countless lives.
As they strive to make a difference, they carry with them the support and love of Katie, their friend, and teammate.