The U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer team, which just won its first match against France in its bid to win the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Games in London, has a secret weapon: Nannies.
The Los Angeles Times recently revealed that U.S. Soccer, America’s governing organization for the sport, fully finances nanny services so players can bring their children on the road. The Times notes that several star players and key coaching personnel may have ended their careers earlier if there had not been family-friendly accommodations.
The policy is not a public relations gesture — it’s been going on for the past 16 years.
“U.S. Soccer considers this an important element to help those players with children to continue to contribute,” national team spokesman Neil Buethe tells the Times. “It allows the players to concentrate on their job of playing soccer without having to be away from their kids for a long period of time or worry about how they’re going to be able to balance their family and career while being on the road during training camp.”
Similar programs have been adopted by the golfers on the LPGA Tour and by the 2008 U.S. Women’s Olympic Softball Team, who competed in Beijing. Despite the success of the program, unfortunately no other U.S. Olympic teams have official nannies on the payroll.
Soccer star Abby Wambach, who is the team’s second highest scorer, considers herself the squad’s “best babysitter,” as she often will volunteer to give the nannies a break.
“You spend so much time away from home, there’s only so many TV shows you can watch. There’s only so many conversations you can have. The added component of having kids around, it just is entertainment. It’s just such a great dynamic to bring into a team environment that can sometimes get monotonous,” she says.
Along with Brazil, the U.S. soccer team is heavily favored to be in the mix for the gold medal this year. As a fascinating aside, this is the first Olympic Games in which the amount of women athletes on the American team outnumbers men. The U.S. team is comprised of 269 women and 261 men competing in 25 different sports.
It’s refreshing to see a potential world champion team publicly praise its nannies for giving its players the peace of mind that their children are thriving even under the most intense training schedules.
Of course, you don’t need to be a world class athlete — or an athlete at all — to realize the family benefits of hiring a traveling nanny. For advice on finding the perfect nanny candidates to meet the demands of YOUR schedule, visit eNannySource’s free Learning Center!