By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports
There are only 65 people traveling with the United States Women’s Soccer FIFA World Cup team.
A Shreveport native is one of them.
Lindsay Gosslee Langford, who graduated from Captain Shreve High School in 2000, is Team USA’s dietician and sports scientist. She is in New Zealand, as the red-white-and-blue prepare to begin World Cup play Friday. Action will also take place in Australia, with Sydney hosting the finals August 20.
“It’s a wild feeling to try and step back and fully realize the depth of what I have the privilege to do,” Langford told the Shreveport-Bossier Journal from Auckland, where it was 11:30 the next morning, and 59 degrees. “The tasks I have to accomplish each day are my main focus, but I’ve definitely had some moments of sitting down in my hotel room with the USA crest taped on our room walls. It’s everywhere, even down to the coffee bar. You get your coffee served with the USA soccer crest on top.”
Even though Langford — who lives in Indiana with her husband and two sons — has been working with USA Soccer for a while, it wasn’t a given she would make the trip.
“There are a limited amount of people (in the delegation) who are approved. It did come down to the last few months to see if it was approved. The plan was always to come, but there never was any confirmation until the last six to eight weeks.”
Langford, who studied nutrition and dietetics at Louisiana Tech and the University of Alabama, is responsible for what the 23 players eat during their (hopefully) seven-week stay.
“I build the menu and oversee all food service. We have a chef we brought with us, who fully executes the menu. But it is something I design, based on the training loads and the actual training calendar. If it’s a practice day or a game day, the menu would vary pretty drastically, depending on the demands of training that day.”
When it comes time to dine, Langford and the rest of the traveling party don’t have to worry about waiting in line with other hotel guests. They are the only hotel guests in what Langford described as “a five-star hotel.”
“Even the lights are placed in a certain color, depending on the time of day. If we want to promote recovery and sleep, the lights change to different colors. If we want to promote more energy, and more daylight and activation, the lights in the room change to a different color. It’s down to a science.”
And so is making sure each player is in her best physical condition.
“A lot of emphasis is on the recovery side of things for each individual player, based on morning screenings they do. It’s in-depth. The high-performance team has done a really great job, and I kind of ride their coattails.
“Each morning, the players fill out a wellness questionnaire. They run through some morning tests, seeing how their body is feeling — anything from sleep, to muscle aches and pains. That really determines what recovery modalities we are going to use for them during the day.”
Should Team USA win its third straight World Cup, and fifth overall, emotions will be flowing. But Langford is already emotional — her voice cracking when asked what it would be like to be a part of history.
“It’s funny to get emotional about that question just in an interview. I can’t imagine. It would be pretty cool. I’m hopeful,” she said.
Contact Tony at SBJTonyT@gmail.com