Julian Morales



It’s so difficult to stay the best. Even the most legendary companies spend years at a time reinventing themselves. As do dynastic sports teams.


One of the most recent sports dynasties has been the women’s US National Soccer team. Jill Ellis, one of the greatest coaches at any level in any sport, was the head coach of the team during their most dominating years until her retirement in 2019. “The top of the mountain is a rented space, not one to dwell on.” Ellis told this to her 2015 winning team, as they meet for the first time to prepare for the 2016 Olympics – you get up there, enjoy the view briefly, and must climb again. "Mountain tops are small and the air is thin for a reason," Ellis says, "because you're not supposed to dwell on top of the mountain." And she later adds that, "Sometimes you have to take steps that make you uncomfortable to understand where you are and where you want to be." We keep reminding ourselves at SMAC and all of us as a staff the same, whenever there is a milestone moment.


The US team’s quarterfinal loss to Sweden at the Rio Olympics was crushing – one of their worst finishes at a major event. As a coach, Jill firmly believes in the “share your success, own your failure” culture. We agree. All of the best CEO founders do that in startups, whatever the scale and the nature of failure. The loss further validated the saying – Success is not resting on your laurels, someone is always gunning for your spot. Sweden’s playbook would be picked up by others quickly to dent the 2015 US strategy. So, she brought in fresh blood, new positions, more rotations in the roster. Drastic changes, lots of losses, tons of criticism. The team finally rallied around Ellis and her vision of a more sustainable approach to getting back to the mountain top, and the women’s national team won the FIFA World Cup again in 2019.


How does this apply to us? We as a team have had success both the Age Group Championship and National level, but how do we stay there? Every athlete and coach must be bought into the tough decisions of making changes to fend off all and any competitors who also want some real estate at the top of the PNS mountain. We as a team have had some success at the Sectional, Futures and Junior National and even Olympic Trials level- but is it enough? If we truly want to get to the top of the mountain, we must continue to raise the bar for what that mountain top is. As high performing athletes graduate, others must move in to continue to upwards treck.   Winning a PNS Age Group Championship multiple years in a row is a great start, but if we truly want to be the best team in the country, we will all have to be willing to make the changes necessary to not only set out for the journey to the top, but also wrap our heads around what exactly our desired mountain top is. Let’s start by making sure every athlete that walks into our pool decks reaches their maximum potential, and that will get the ball rolling. Because once we take care of ourselves, and take care of each other, the rest will take care of itself. 


See you all on deck,