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What Do Mel Gibson & Kim Jong-Il Have In Common?

Well, besides enormous wealth and a great dislike for people who think differently than they do?

They both are serving as inspiration for the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team. Let me explain…

The first U-17 Women’s World Cup is currently being held in New Zealand, and the Lady Nats (as usual) are making their presence known by besting their counterparts from around the globe. After a disappointing loss to Japan in the tournment opener, the girls have rallied to make it to the U-17 World Cup Final against North Korea. The highlight of the tourney so far came in their last game against World Cup favorite Germany when they battled back from a one goal deficit to win 2-1.

In the Germany game, the girls played like warriors, which is fitting because the night before the semifinal they gathered in a hotel room to watch Braveheart. In that film, Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace, exclaims that: “If we join, we can win.” Well, join together as a team is exactly what the U-17 Lady Nats did, and then they went out and knocked off the tournament favorite to reach their sport’s biggest stage.

The star of this Cup has been little Vicki DiMartino, who has scored a goal in all five games the team has played. DiMartino has been heralded as the future of women’s soccer in America, and she has certainly lived up to her reputation in New Zealand. If she can score in the final, win the game and claim the Golden Boot, she will put the finishing touches on one of the most dominant performances in an international tournament by an American (ever).

She’s not worried about scoring or winning the Golden Boot though. She’s just worried about winning. She was quoted after the Germany game as saying “I don’t go into games expecting to score – I just go out there to win.” Wow, it’s so refreshing to hear an athlete say something like that, isn’t it? Makes you think a lot of pro athletes could really learn something from their amateur counterparts.

Now comes the final test: a surprising North Korean side. This is where Kim Jong-Il comes into the equation.

Kim Jong-Il is one of the most brutal dictators in the world. If he had a lot of oil or an Arabic sounding name, we would have bombed his country back to the stone ages a long time ago. We refer to his country as North Korea, but he calls it the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, which is pretty ironic if you consider the fact he has ruled with an iron fist and hasn’t allowed people to elect a national leader since he assumed power.

While the girls might not be thinking of Kim Jong-Il as motivation, I sure would. Any chance we have to dominate a foreign enemy, be it through sport, military might or cultural influence, is one I think we should take advantage of.

Tomorrow’s kickoff will be at 10 p.m. EST. Will the girls triumph over their North Korean rivals?

I think so. After all, the U.S. Women have won the inaugural edition of every major tournament in the world, including the first Women’s World Cup, the first U-20 Women’s World Cup and the first Olympic Games to feature women’s soccer. Tomorrow night, I bet this U-17 team will continue the streak by besting North Korea.

As for those North Korean girls, I say congrats on a good tournament, but remember, as William Wallace also says in Braveheart: “It’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom.”