The Chronicles of Nairnia is a series of interviews by Christine Nairn, midfielder for the Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Join Nairn as she interviews and gets to know the players fans may not know a lot about. Follow along as she meets new players, tells a little of their stories, acquires life advice, and learns about players’ paths to and within the NWSL.
Editor’s note — This interview has been edited for clarity.
When my next guest isn’t on the field, you can find her on an adventure in whatever city she’s currently playing professional soccer in. Her happiness and time away from the game is what sets her mental standard while she represented her homeland of New Zealand at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2015 World Cup or while she plays for her club, SkyBlue FC of the NWSL. This quiet, yet cheeky, individual is someone who flies under teams’ radars; however, by interviewing her, I hope it becomes as obvious to you as it did to me why I had to give Rebekah Stott some overdue press. Enjoy.
Nairn: What quote do you live your life by and why?
Stott: I really like this quote by Lee Iacocca: “We are continually faced with great opportunities, which are brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.”
It reminds me to not be afraid of problems that come up, either on or off the field; instead, look at them as opportunities to improve as a human being.
Nairn: If you could have one gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say?
Stott: Smile while you still have teeth.
Nairn: What is the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve made and why? It could be an investment of money, time, energy, and so on.
Stott: My most worthwhile investment has been spending hours and hours working toward my dream of becoming a professional soccer player.
I would train, most days, after school until my parents would make me come inside when the sun went down. I didn’t know it was an investment at the time, but now I get to travel around the world, experience new countries, all while kicking a ball. Not a bad life, right?
Nairn: What is the worst advice you see or hear being dispensed in your world and why, and what is your response to this advice?
Stott: I always hear people, sometimes indirectly, saying that an individual is not good enough or the right fit for something. I truly believe that if you want something, go and get it. End of story.
Nairn: This is your sixth year as a pro. What advice would you give to your rookie-self?
Stott: There will always be ups and downs, so stick out the downs because an up WILL be waiting just around the corner.
Nairn: Speaking of those high highs and low lows, what has been one struggle you’ve experienced that has molded you into the player or person you are today?
Stott: I am a normal female professional soccer player who has her own struggles. I try to make the most of every situation that I am in and find happiness in the simple things. You can’t control some things, but you can actively seek joy every day and that is what I choose to do.
Nairn: You’ve played in the Australian W-League and the NWSL in the U.S. What are the differences between the leagues and how does one help prepare you for the other?
Stott: The W-League and the NWSL are quite different leagues, but I think the main difference is the athleticism in the American game. You have to be fit and strong to play in the NWSL, so playing in the W-League helps me prepare for the American league.
Nairn: As female professional athletes, we always have to be one step ahead of the game and plan ahead. What’s next for you after soccer?
Stott: That’s a good question; I’m starting to think about that a lot more these days. I would love to own my own business or maybe be a coach later down the track. I can’t really say at this point, but I know it’ll be an adventure.
Joy, love, and laughter. These are the keys to a successful life in the eyes of Rebekah Stott. We’re all guilty of making life so complicated but Stott’s outlook on life is simple: Find joy in what you are doing, love who you are with, and laugh along the way — that is life. You are going to have highs and lows, but find what works for you and repeat it, time and again.