In 2009, college women’s soccer player, Elizabeth Lambert was ridiculed by sports media outlets everywhere. But, was it justified? Due to the unnecessary violence and rough play on the field, I think it certainly was! See for yourself.
On November 5, 2009, in the Mountain West Conference semifinal game against BYU, Lambert was personally involved in numerous unsportsmanlike plays, including pulling a player down by her hair and elbowing another in the back. These incidents cemented her as one of the most scrutinized soccer players in collegiate soccer history.
2009 might seem forever ago now but keep in mind that social media was around and cameras were also. The footage was picked up by ESPN and posted on YouTube where it immediately received millions of views. Lambert was scorned and berated for her actions. The comment sections were relentless.
Elizabeth Lambert’s Violent Plays
Do you want to see for yourself? Here are some of her disturbing plays. As you can see, this should not exist in any sport.
Would you say that was an immediate red card? We say so but unfortunately, she only received a yellow for this!
But, it’s reported that after that playoff incident, Lambert was banned from all team activities. Probably not how she imagined her college playing days ending.
What Did Elizabeth Lambert Have to Say About Her Incident?
Elizabeth Lambert did reflect and speak out on the incident.
In a New York Times interview, Lambert said… “I look at it and I’m like, ‘That is not me. I have so much regret. I can’t believe I did that.”
She goes on to say…
“I take full responsibility for my actions and accept any punishment felt necessary. I am a female, and it made me feel more at ease than if it had been done by a male. It’s more expected for men to go out there and be rough. We’re still looked at as, oh, we kick the ball around and score a goal.”
“But it’s not. We train very hard to reach the highest level we can get to. The physical aspect may have made me the player I am. I’m not just out there trying to hurt players. That’s taking away from the beauty of the game. And I would never want to do that.”
We understand the game of soccer is a physical sport. We also understand that the training involved to get to her level can be grueling but there is no place for plays like that. Those are cheap shots. Those aren’t shoulder-to-shoulder plays. Those are plays looking to harm other girls.
Instead of being overly physical, players should be focused on developing skills on the field. I know 99% of players know this but for the few that don’t…it’s not worth it.
Learn to respect your opponents and understand that you’re just competing with them.
Where is Elizabeth Lambert Now?
It has been over a decade since all the incidents happened in 2009 and we have not heard much from Elizabeth Lambert.
According to some sources, Lambert got her degree from the University of New Mexico in 2010. Since then, she’s been working as an occupational therapist, got married, and is a Mom.
Honestly, there are minimal reports on where she lives and what she’s doing with her life. I wish we could provide more details but it seems like she went into hiding.
She’s even been silent on social media.
What Can You Learn From Lambert’s Incident?
It’s pretty obvious that what Elizabeth Lambert did was wrong. There is a reason why she has been shunned by the soccer world for her actions.
But, let’s move on. Let’s take her behavior as a lesson learned.
At the end of the day, it’s important for soccer players to respect their opponents. You’re competing to score more goals than the opposing team.
You’re not on the field to take out or injure your opponents for a competitive advantage.
You do this, and you’ll have a shorter playing career than you anticipated.
Be a good teammate. Respect your opponents. And, play the game you love to your fullest potential.
It’s really that simple ☝️