Endearing traits appear engrained in American midfielder Tiffany Weimer and while her canvas has been illustrated by the likes of Champions League football, her own magazine and some wholly enlightening travels there is something about her early exposure to music that now seems so apt.
During this summer, the three-time NSCAA All-American was back on familiar ground as she turned out for the New England Mutiny as well as offering her tutelage as one of the girlsCAN Football coaches at its Summer Elite program in Connecticut. The essence of girlsCAN is to give young female players the chance to progress in the game with the guidance of those who have successfully made their way in women’s soccer and Tiffany is certainly in a position to pass on such esteemed assistance.
Her career thus far has met various testing roadblocks and also enjoyable coves of achievement, with playing stints in Finland, Brazil and Sweden to name but three. As Tiffany is someone who comes from Connecticut and currently represents UEFA Women’s Champions League team Fortuna Hjørring in the north of Denmark I noticed a hidden connection between this and the earliest song she ever recalls giving her own version of (which she will tell you about shortly).
Tiffany also once recounted a story on her blog of how the band Third Eye Blind’s debut album evokes strong memories of a car journey in 1998 with her mother to Cocoa Beach, Florida where she would play for the South Central Under-15 team and win the Coca Expo Tournament. She speaks of the bond her sport has only served to strengthen with her mother and the same is just as true when it comes to music.
“My Mom sang to me a lot when I was young. The first song I ever sang was ‘Life In A Northern Town’ – Dream Academy.
“I owe all my music love and knowledge to her.’’
Of all the interviews on here, I have found that each individual has their own way of describing music and its significance to them, whether in real detail or perhaps a less comprehensive manner. However deeply rooted music may be in the person they have all had something to say about it in one way or another, but Tiffany is one who can go that bit further and she does so firstly by touching upon its influence on emotions at any given moment.
“I’ll start by saying that I have on many occasions tried to like country music, but I cannot… I tried. My favourite music, there is so much, I have moods that call for different music.
“When I work I really enjoy classical music – my favourite is Beethoven ‘Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat major, Op. 73’.’’
A Penn State University Journalism graduate, Tiffany places a band at the top of her affections who are synonymous with British music, but the others amongst the very forefront of her favourites are strictly Stateside in their origins, apart from one Canadian and one separate English example!
“I have periods of my favourite all-time band, Pink Floyd – not one song by them I don’t like. I saw Roger Waters live in 2007 doing ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and it was the best concert I’ve ever seen.
“My favourite song by them is probably ‘Have a Cigar’. There really is too much to talk about actually.
“I’m crazy about the 80s. I love one-hit wonders and great bands like Guns N’ Roses, my favourite song of all-time is ‘November Rain’.
“Duran Duran, and then the women of the 90s like Taylor Dayne, Janet Jackson, Wilson Phillips and Paula Abdul. But when I’m being a normal 29-year-old… I really like Drake, Mumford & Sons, Kings of Leon and Ne-Yo.’’
One thing I have loved about doing these interviews is how the question of the first record the person ever bought manages to place you back in time as you hear about it. In the case of Tiffany’s it is an album that I do not have but one I always remember reading on the television screen at the end of the group’s video for ‘Don’t Speak’ whenever it was played on VH1.
“The first CD I ever purchased was No Doubt ‘Tragic Kingdom’ – a classic.’’
Tiffany was a standout performer while representing the Penn State Nittany Lions, enjoying a golden final year in 2005 on both a personal and team level as they reached the Final Four of the Division I NCAA Championship as well as becoming Big Ten Champions. Her college career was accentuated by numerous personal accolades including her Big Ten record of 91 goals and the record amount of pivotal contributions she made in games (13 match-deciding goals in a season). Her time with the SoccerPlus CT (Connecticut) Reds of the Women’s Premier Soccer League was also one she loved and it preceded her move to Finland with Åland United of the Naisten Liiga in 2008.
Another challenging switch followed as she ventured to Brazil to join Santos and in one of the many insightful aspects of her blog Tiffany, also known as Ocho (Spanish for her favourite number, 8), describes how that spell made her feel like she was not getting what she deserved from the sport. There were considerable limitations that she faced during this time including reduced living space with many others, little online access, no phone or car and little money, but it would soon become clear why it had all been worth it.
She was acquired by Californian outfit FC Gold Pride of the Women’s Professional Soccer league, turning pro at the age of 25 and gaining a large degree of reward for her sacrifices and efforts in the game. Tiffany is someone who prefers not to take certain elements of life too seriously and that is shown in the way she began her answer to this question as I asked about how she thought the music of the countries she has played in distinguished themselves from each other!
“They were all in different languages… just kidding! The Scandinavian countries listen to a lot of the same stuff we do.
“Their music is pretty awesome though, just can’t really sing anything, which makes listening to music very different. I don’t connect with songs as much as I’d like to.
“In Brazil they liked to dance, all the time, so a lot of the music was upbeat and lively, but I liked it.’’
Her next port of call would be the Boston Breakers where she would play alongside the likes of legendary England forward Kelly Smith, before setting out to represent AIK in Sweden. Tiffany has spoken before of how subjecting herself to such challenges and leaving her comfort zone has been a fundamental part of her career but by the same token she emphasises her belief that you should not force yourself to be in situations you do not want to be in.
After taking her talents to the W-League with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2011, Tiffany has this year embraced the opportunity of a move to Denmark. Her club Fortuna Hjørring were defeated by Göteborg at the round of 16 in the Champions League and were runners-up to Brondby in the Elitedivisionen which leaves Tiffany pretty clear on the team’s objectives when they meet up again for the new campaign.
“I go back in February when I’ll join the team during pre-season. Our games start at the end of March and we are looking to get some new players in and strengthen our team.
“We had a good showing in the fall, and although we didn’t get the result we wanted in the Champions League we have two big goals for the spring: win the league and win the Cup. As for myself, I am looking to work to keep my spot and do what I can for the team to be successful, which means be awesome, the usual.’’
In a positional sense, Tiffany has had to acclimatise to varying roles but adapt she certainly has, and she also names the player she derives a lot of her on-field learning from.
“I actually hated playing outside-mid last season. I thought as I got older I should do less running not more, but this season is different.
“I have embraced the role as the winger and learned how to play it, I love it now. We have great coaches who train us specifically for the positions we play and that has made a huge difference in my confidence on the wing.
“As for inspiration, no one inspires like Messi – I admire his confidence to take players on one-v-one any time he wants. That’s something I’m hoping to continue to add to my game as I progress… yes you can progress even at 29!’’
The music Tiffany has encountered during her stay in Denmark includes a popular r&b / hip-hop duo as well as a female singer who has a song that Tiffany has connected with for a unique reason, listing it as one of those that means the most to her.
“In Denmark, everyone is obsessed with Medina and Nik & Jay. I haven’t really gotten into Nik & Jay but I love Medina, she has a lot of songs in English as well, she’s a boss.
“(On her most meaningful songs) ‘For Altid’ by Medina – not because of the lyrics, but the word ‘For altid’ means ‘forever’, and I tell people my time in Denmark has had the most impact on me compared to any other place, and I’ve been changed forever because of it. ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ (Pink Floyd) was the anthem when I played for the SoccerPlus CT Reds in the WPSL because after the summer everyone, not the old ones like me, had to go back to school, which meant the season ended.
“We always sang ‘we don’t need no education’.’’
A US Under-21 international as well as a member of training camps for the full team, Tiffany has featured alongside many different teammates in her career and she will choose the best of them later on. When it comes to the music side of teammate matters though there is one that stands out for her and the player she names is a former Whitecaps colleague, as well as being a fellow Penn State girl.
“Lexi Marton. You need to find her raps, and then interview her, she’s amazing.’’
While with FC Gold Pride, Tiffany and her teammates recorded their own homage to a Soulja Boy track but it may prove slightly harder to track down footage of a separate solo vocal display she put on!
“Word on the street is there is a video of me singing Medina in Danish. Good luck finding that!’’
The women’s game has made undoubted strides forward over the years with a colossal worldwide audience viewing the 2011 FIFA World Cup and the further interest in the sport at this summer’s Olympics in London. There have been many female players who have given their thoughts on this site in the past with US Olympic hero Carli Lloyd, all-time most capped player Kristine Lilly and fellow US team members Shannon Boxx and Amy Rodriguez just a few examples. Here in England we have seen considerable progress with the FA Women’s Super League which has this year completed its second season.
The Olympics captured more people’s attention as Team GB beat Brazil in front of over 70,500 spectators at Wembley en route to the quarter-finals. The game is growing all the time but it seems women’s football in the UK will always be looked upon with a degree of disregard by many, so I asked Tiffany how that obstacle can be negotiated. It is fair to say she had an interesting response!
“We will always struggle as long as we have boobs and a vagina… can I say that? I think there are a lot of people who will never give women a chance when it comes to sports.
“I hope that as those generations die off (asks if she can say that too!) the upcoming population won’t be as sexist, even in the UK! That’s just my hope, the women’s game is really cool to watch if you give it a chance.
“The new generation of female players have flair and sophistication that resembles the men’s game. Why? Because we watch it so much more than we used to, we being the average female player, we have the resources to do so and we also have the physical resources to be better athletes.’’
I have made reference to Tiffany’s blog already and it truly gives you a fantastic glimpse into her life on various levels, with one of her ideologies that if you are going to do something there is no point in doing it half-heartedly. She provides countless thought-provoking, humorous and inspiring thoughts in her posts but tries to steer clear of clichés wherever possible, and if you were not aware of what BAMF (look it up) means you will be after reading it!
One of Tiffany’s ventures away from her sport is Our Game Magazine which aims to be the publication that women’s soccer fans across the world can take enjoyment, learning and inspiration from. As editor and a founding member of the magazine alongside a dedicated team, Tiffany is very clear on the progress made so far and also the direction she wants it to continue moving in for the future.
“Our Game has come a long way since June 2010, it has been an awesome ride too. We recently announced our first ever annual subscription and an upgrade from what we’ve been doing in the past.
“We want to be the women’s soccer magazine that none of us ever had when we were younger. If there’s a day when people get Our Game Magazine in the mail like they get Eurosport in the mail I’ll feel extremely accomplished.
“I hope that people in other women’s sports like basketball and softball will do something similar.’’
To conclude, Tiffany went through the regular site feature of selecting four of her best ever teammates who she would choose to play alongside her in a 5-a-side line-up. In her team we have representatives from her days at FC Gold Pride and Boston Breakers included, even if the question is clearly one that she may not have faced before!
“Best players I’ve ever played with? These questions are crazy, man!
“Kelly Smith (forward) – I love how Kelly plays soccer. There aren’t many female players who get the game like she does.
“(Striker) Christine Sinclair can beat a team of 11 on her own if she had to. Alyssa Naeher is the calmest, most normal goalkeeper I know and comes up with the biggest saves when you need her to.
“Carrie Dew (defender) is a boss and tackles like a dude!’’
Read more from Tiffany at her blog