Mommy McDonald a US inspiration

27 Jun 2019
  • Jessica McDonald’s seven-year-old son arrived in Paris yesterday

  • The USA star speaks about motherhood and overcoming serious injury

  • THE LATEST: #FRAUSA Live Blog updating now

By Erin Fish with USA

While thousands of voices have been screaming for Jessica McDonald at this FIFA Women’s World Cup™, the one she heard on Wednesday was undoubtedly her favorite.

For McDonald and her seven-year-old son, Jeremiah, it had been a long time apart. Jeremiah arrived at the US camp on Wednesday and will be at the Parc des Princes on Friday to cheer on his mother and her team.

McDonald shared a video of the special reunion on Twitter yesterday and many of her USA colleagues shared it with comments of their love and admiration for the 31-year-old forward.

“I’m looking forward to him being inspired when he’s older because he’s at an age right now where he’s going to be able to remember these days,” McDonald told FIFA.com. “He doesn’t understand what’s going on, but he’s going to remember it and that is what’s important to me. It’s what I’m playing for.”

Before arriving in Paris, Jeremiah told McDonald that he was planning on surprising the team and wearing a costume to the game.

“I said, ‘Ok, you go ahead and wear a costume buddy, you’re going to be our little hero’,” McDonald added. “I’m definitely looking forward to that.”

McDonald made her World Cup debut against Chile in the group phase, coming on as a half-time substitute. But the fact she is only now, at 31, appearing in her first global finals reflects the fact that her journey in football hasn’t always run smooth.

When she was just 23, in her very first match as a professional, she tore her patellar tendon. That devastating injury would sideline her two years and she was told that her career as an athlete had likely come to an end.

REIMS, FRANCE - JUNE 08: Jessica McDonald of the USA poses for a portrait during the official FIFA Women's World Cup 2019 portrait session at Best Western Premier Hotel de la Paix on June 08, 2019 in Reims, France. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

“I had a very slim chance of ever playing at a high level again, or at least according to science, McDonald said. “I was pretty much told, ‘No, you’re done’.”

During the recovery process, she fell pregnant with her son. While some would take this as a sign that their football career was indeed over, McDonald refused to accept defeat. She was still training eight months into that pregnancy and just a few months after giving birth she was off to Australia to play professional football again.

“I believe one day I will tell him when he’s old enough to understand why I chose the career field that I did and what actually pushed me to where I am today,” McDonald said.

“And I have to tell him the hardships and the easy times that it takes to truly get here. I’ll let him know that, if you want to be successful, it’s not just going to be a straight line - it’s going to be a very crooked road.”

Those life lessons, though, are for another day. For now, Jessica and Jeremiah will just simply enjoy being back together after that long month apart.

Tickets

Fans interested in attending the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 can still purchase tickets for the tournament via www.fifa.com/tickets, as well as via ticket booths located at stadia for remaining matches still available to the general public.