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Olympic gold medalist Janine Beckie aims to grow girl's game

Canadian National Team star and Colorado-born Janine Beckie holds a camp with her brother Drew to teach the next generation of soccer players.

PARKER, Colo. — Janine Beckie knows what it feels to reach the mountain top.

"We try to really challenge the group to do things that are elite or at the next level, so they can see what it takes to be at the top," the Highlands Ranch native and Valor Christian High School alum said.

Beckie is the daughter of two Canadian parents who won a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2021 with the Canadian women's soccer team.

She then followed that up with an NWSL championship. Now, she and her brother Drew are working to pass that work ethic along in a hometown camp.

"I credit a lot of this work, a lot of the work that I did when I was younger with my club Real Colorado and doing camps like this for developing. When you get to the top and achieve that lifelong goal, at the end of the day, you look back on all of these moments when you're at altitude and not able to breathe and it's all worth it."

Those Colorado club teams have been responsible for producing World Cup champions, gold medalists and NCAA national champions.

It's an investment that has paid dividends to the growth of women's soccer over the last decade -- but Beckie says the work isn't finished.

Credit: AP
Canada's Janine Beckie, left, and United States' Crystal Dunn battle for the ball during a women's semifinal soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Kashima, Japan. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

"The people that are saying, 'I want to invest in this,' are our heroes because they're the ones that are really closing that gap. Is there a long way to go? Yes, but I do think we're closer than we've ever been and we see the talent," she said.

The next generation of talent is out there on the pitch, and Beckie is now the reflection she was hidden from as a young player.

"I wasn't coached by females, there were no female coaches at camps like this when I was younger," she said. "So when I see these young ladies out here participating, I know how much it means to them for me to pull them aside and say, 'Hey, maybe try this next time.'"

And she's doing it alongside men who are all pushing for the same vision.

"To be able to do this with my brother and to have someone beside me that encourages me so much and believes in women's sports and wants to push that, that is incredible. So for us to do this together, is pretty amazing."

Credit: AP
Canada's Janine Beckie, 16, celebrates scoring her side's 2nd goal during a women's soccer match against Chile at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Sapporo, Japan. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)


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