Samantha Mewis had never been accused of being a worrywart.
She‘d never been injured before either.
Both of those changed last November when the USWNT mainstay and NC Courage midfielder damaged cartilage in her right knee during a friendly against Canada in Vancouver.
“I was kind of caught up during the injury looking ahead wondering, well am I gonna be ready for qualifying? Am I gonna be able to play for the Courage? Am I gonna be okay and good enough to make the World Cup roster?” Mewis wondered.
Thus began a five-month soccer-less stretch flush with setbacks, different doctors‘ diagnoses, and debating surgical repair.
Times of uncertainty that were also ones of self-education.
Sam Mewis learned a lot about herself in that frame.
“I kinda just learned patience and how to focus on what‘s in front of me,” Mewis said.
She also learned how to flex her mental muscle.
“You feel like you‘ve lost everything,” Mewis said. “You feel like you‘re this elite athlete and they ask you to do something so simple and it‘s just so hard.”
Today, no more worrying.
Mewis feels good as new, a self-diagnosed one-hundred percent.
“To see her confidence in herself and just her faith in her ability to get back and to be the player that she was before the injury, she‘s been remarkable throughout the entire process,” said USWNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn.
Good for her as Sam sets her sights on her first World Cup roster spot.
Great for a team sizing up a fourth star on their jersey crest.
“She‘s got the US Women‘s National Team blood,” said Tobin Heath, USWNT midfielder and former UNC Tar Heel. “There‘s a certain kind of character that it takes to play on this team and be on this team for a long time, and I think she completely has it.”
Mewis and the rest of the USWNT will play three matches in Cary in a seven-day stretch as part of the Women‘s World Cup qualifier.
Play begins on Thursday against Mexico, continues Sunday against Panama, and concludes the following Wednesday against Trinidad and Tobago.