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7 Q+As: Janet Rayfield

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Janet Rayfield would be comfortable telling you that she has a blast playing on our women’s 30 and over soccer league. (She dominates, btw) She might not mention (but, we will!) that she is the all time winningest coach in Illinois soccer history, she played for an NCAA championship team at North Carolina, and is a big wig with USA Soccer. Turns out, she’s pretty good at her day job. Although, you might have to kick her in the shins to get her to talk about it. Meet Janet Rayfield…


Janet Rayfield

1. What are you grateful for today?
Today I am grateful for the people in my life – too many to list individually but all who are included below.

  • A soul mate who knows me better than anyone and who’s honesty is not always easy but always necessary.
  • Family with whom I can sing (although I cannot carry a tune)
  • Friends whose friendship is not altered by the passage of time (although our time together can be small)
  • Colleagues who are willing to share with me, challenge me, and who are also often included in the group above.
  • Athletes who trust me to push them, teach them,  and challenge them to be more than they think is possible.

2. Tell us about one of your friends and what you love about her.
Choosing one is hard … and what I love about them is never the same … But for today I think of Susan – and what I love about her is from the day I met her in 1980 to today she has not changed.  She has matured, she has grown from experiences both good and bad but she has not bent to the pressures of others ambitions, or the desire to be accepted that we all have felt, or the perceptions of others.  She is strong in her passions for life and for career,  confident in her definition of success, and has pursued it all with relentless effort and commitment.

3. Describe one of the best days of your life.
I can not pick just one of the 17 days that I spent in Australia and New Zealand with my father.  The ability to share the wonderful scenery (mountain lakes, glaciers, rainforests, and incredible rivers) , the new experiences (helicopter rides, scuba diving, dart boat rides)  and incredible meals, wine and beer with the man who has had such a great influence in my life is something that I will never forget.  They were all special – each in their own way – each never to be forgotten.

4.  What’s the best lesson you learned from your mother/grandmother?
To listen to others with an open mind and yet be strong in your beliefs and values.  Whether is was the Jehovah Witnesses that knocked on the front door, the parents of the PTA groups she led, or her best friends who gathered frequently she not only listened – she heard them with respect and time for their beliefs, their stories, their woes and their celebrations.  My mother cared for people and she showed it most by listening.

5. We’re all unique. What is your special gift?
I think my gift is the gift to teach.  I practice it daily as I teach the sport I love but whether it is sport, math,  leadership or life skills – I know that I was meant to teach.

6.  What could women be doing to make their community a better place?
Based on question four I have to say – LISTEN!! And then ACT!  Listen to know what your community REALLY needs and ACT to help provide it.

7.  What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
I would ask for help more often… and I would let more people in.  I fear most my own vulnerability.

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