Queen of Soccer
Brazilian coach Wilson Oliveira Rica
By: Rich Fernandez - Bay Area Sports Drive Soccer
Many of the greatest soccer players
in the world have worn the jersey number 10.
In the history of soccer, names
like Diego Maradona, Pele, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho are known worldwide as
some of the finest players with a ball at their feet.
Another player recognized for her soccer mastery and who also wore the
number 10 is Sisleide Lima do Amor, better known to the world as just "Sissi."
Sissi was born in
chosen to play on the Brazilian Women's National Team for both World Cup
and Olympic competition. Her
trademark shaved head prior to the 1999 Women's World Cup was a result of a
promise she made to God to provide housing for her family in
While Sissi was still going to be playing the game she loved, she now found herself in unfamiliar waters with many different and difficult challenges.
"The language was the hardest by far!" Sissi said. "I almost went back home three weeks into my stay because I missed home so much," Sissi went on to explain. "I walked off the plane and didn't speak a word of English. Slowly I learned, but I was homesick for quite some time."
Brandi Chastain, a member of the US Women's National Team and former opponent of Sissi, was now a teammate of hers on the CyberRays. Could this have posed a difficult situation for Sissi and the CyberRays?
"No, Brandi is
my idol, so it was an adjustment being a fan of hers to being a teammate,"
Sissi explained. "She is my
mentor and continues to be to this day. I
am so excited to speak English now, so
I can talk with her and text her when something exciting happens!
She is an awesome woman both on and off the field!"
and the CyberRays won the Founders Cup Championship in their first year
together. During her time with the
CyberRays, you would often find Sissi
doing charity work, visiting hospitals, and
helping those in need. After each
home game for the CyberRays, Sissi, along with her CyberRay
teammates, would go to 'Autograph Alley' and sign autographs, take photos with
and talk with fans and the many young girls who dream of one day to be
professional women's soccer players like them. Unfortunately, after just three
full seasons, the WUSA closed its
doors and left Sissi without a job and team to play for.
Where would Sissi go? What would she do? You better believe that whatever
Sissi would do, it was going to be associated with soccer, teaching, and helping
Sissi is the Head Coach for the Las Positas College Women's Soccer team in
Livermore, CA. She also has been a
coach for the Diablo Valley Soccer Club (DVSC) for three years, just taking over
the DVSC Fusion U-13 Girls team this past season, and is helping coach at
Clayton Valley High School.
Sissi continues to give to the community, and in 2002 was the
Humanitarian Award Winner for her work with cancer patients.
Sissi also is an active volunteer and foster parent for Contra Costa
County Adoptions and Homefind Unit. With
such a busy schedule and many commitments, how does she juggle it all?
parent has been the best thing that has ever happened to me," Sissi
answered. "I wish I would have
done it sooner. I have to juggle my
schedule like all the other parents do. I
am very organized, so that
helps," Sissi explained.
For many the
adoption process is a source of joy; being able to adopt a child into your
family and help him or her with a better life is why many do it.
Where there is joy, there is also pain that comes with the lengthy
adoption process; it makes all the
hard work pay-off. "The process to adopt my son is almost complete.
My daughter's process has just started," Sissi said about her
"My daughter is a sick baby with a genetic condition called VCFS [Velocardiofacial Syndrome], and she has just one kidney. That is diseased, so I'm learning how to be a coach one minute, a mom the next, and a nurse the other."
VCFS might be
referred to by other names, including Shprintzen Syndrome,Craniofacial Syndrome,
or Conotruncal Anomaly Face Syndrome. The name
Velocardiofacial Syndrome comes from the Latin words "velum," meaning
palate, "cardia," meaning heart, and "facies," having to do
with the face, thus incorporating the
most common features of cleft palate, heart defects, and a characteristic facial
syndrome is the most common syndrome associated with a cleft palate. It is
estimated that 1 in 2,000 to 5,000 children per year are born with
velocardiofacial syndrome, and over 130,000 individuals in the United States
have this syndrome. Other common
findings include minor learning problems and speech and feeding problems.
"I can't say
enough about fostering," continued Sissi.
"I wish everyone could open their home to just one child.
That is how we can change the world, one child at a time!
If I can do it, anyone with a loving heart can find the time to do it!"
Sissi is still living her dream by teaching soccer and helping those in need. Does she plan to don cleats again and play? What message does she have for young girls out there who dream of playing soccer in the Olympics or World Cup? Does she still follow the Brazilian Women's National Team? Find these answers and more about Sissi's amazing soccer career in our next issue of BASD magazine!
|CLUBS: Saad Campinas (1996), S„o Paulo (1997-1998), Se Palmerias (1999), Vasco da Gama (Rio de Janeiro, 2000), WUSA (San Jose CyberRays 2001-2004), WPSL (California Storm 2005-2007)|
|WORLD CUPS: China 1991, Sweden 1995, USA 1999|
|OLYMPICS: Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000|
|1999 - FIFA Golden Boot Award, FIFA Silver Ball Award, Voted Second Best Player in the World, Voted First Best Female Player in South America|
|2001 - All WUSA First Team|
|2002 - All WUSA First Team, WUSA Humanitarian of the Year Award|
|2003 - All WUSA First Team|
|2005 - MVP for the WPSL League|
|Current - FIFA Ambassador, Part of the Organizing Committee for the U-17 and U-20 Women's World Cup|
thanks to Sissi for making this article possible.
Medical facts taken from The Heart Encyclopedia
Some information on Sissi taken from the San Jose CyberRays 2003 Media
Other information on Sissi obtained via an interview with Sissi
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