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The USWNT and its mission to promote mental health at the World Cup

"Anytime I talk about Katie it's obviously emotional and then just with everything coming out today, it kind of brings all those feelings to the surface," said winger Sophia Smith a couple of days before the USWNT's opening match against Vietnam. She of course was talking about Katie Meyer, her former teammate at Stanford University who tragically took her own life over a year ago at just 22 years of age.

The comments were made in reference to US women's national team officially commencing its mental health campaign, the idea behind it being to destigmatize any sort of mental difficulties young people are going through.

The news of the initiative was announced by player Naomi Girma via The Players Tribune, a platform that allows professional sportsmen and women to communicate directly with fans. Girma, who won the national college championship with a team that contained Sophia Smith and the Katie Meyer, described her late teammate as "truest friend I ever had. The most unapologetic, positive, caring person in the world. The first person to be open and talk about her feelings. The first person you'd turn to when you needed to talk about yours. And the last person you'd think would take her own life."

As Girma explained, the objective of the campaign- which is dedicated to Meyer - is to "make sure that young people have the tools to cope with depression, anxiety, stress, and the very bad days, when it feels like the weight of the world is on their shoulders, and it can never get better... we don't want this to end simply at awareness".

As well as the touching publication in The Players Tribune, Girma also posted a video on her social media to spread awareness of the initiative. The message of the short yet powerful clip, which features stars like Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Trinity Rodman is that "vulnerability is a sign of strength, not weakness."

"My teammates and I are determined to make sure everyone has the support they need. Launching the first mental health initiative of its kind with my friends at @CommonGoalOrg. This one's for you Katie," says the caption of the tweet containing the campaign's video.

During the USA's first game against Vietnam, Sophia Smith dedicated her two goals to her late teammate with a touching celebration. "Yeh that was for Katie," she said in the mixed zone after the encounter. "Me and Na (Naomi Girma) talked about it before the game. We just wanted to honor her in every way possible."

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