‘Lucky to be a part of it’: Truckee man a trainer for Team USA, family reflect on time at World Cup
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Longtime Truckee locals Inger and Darcy Norman are arguably Tahoe’s most well-traveled couple.
As the U.S. Men’s National Team’s performance trainer, Darcy has spent the last two months living, eating, and breathing all things soccer in the Middle East for the World Cup.
“I was pleasantly surprised by my experience in Qatar,” Darcy said. “The organization of the event was impressive. It was the first time a World Cup has been held all in one city, and the city handled it well. Having all these games from all these different teams from around the world in one place just made for this unbelievable cultural diversity. I was lucky to be a part of it.”
As a performance trainer for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Darcy had been actively traveling and away from his home base since October, and just got back to Truckee this past Tuesday afternoon after over a month in Doha, Qatar.
Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Darcy, along with the U.S. Men’s National Team’s head coach Gregg Berhalter, both worked proactively towards improving the overall image of American soccer.
“It was really the vision of Greg who set out the mission of changing the way the world views American soccer,” Darcy said. “Once that goal was set, we worked to create a team with clear mission values that the staff and the players could get around and work towards.”
Most of these efforts to improve the image of American soccer were put into play most recently at the 2022 World Cup.
“This progression happened for the U.S. Men’s Team with this younger group of players, all culminating to this World Cup,” Darcy said. “We tried to do something special with a young group of players and make an impression that we improved the overall image of U.S. soccer.”
The United States went unbeaten in the group stage with ties against Wales (1-1) and England (0-0) and 1-0 victory over Iran which put the team into the knockout stage, the final 16 teams. The Americans suffered a 3-1 defeat Saturday to Netherlands and were sent home. The USA didn’t qualify for the World Cup in 2018.
While Darcy has been with the U.S. Men’s National Team for several years, he reflects on his time in the industry, and looks back fondly on the highs of his career.
“Winning the World Cup with the German National Team in 2014 was incredible,” Darcy said. “Once you experience that, it’s always going back to try and do that again.”
While Darcy’s travels take him around the world, he is also a full-time father and husband. To bridge the gap between performance trainer and father, Darcy’s wife and children join him on most of his travels. Most recently, Inger and the Norman family’s children were in Qatar for the World Cup for several weeks.
“Not being directly a part of the U.S. Men’s National Team, we had a bit of a different experience in Qatar, but nonetheless, still pleasant,” Inger said. “The logistics of just getting to the Middle East was unique because you had to have game tickets to get your Hayya card, also known as your Visa. Those that were willing to persevere through the tedious process were rewarded with being able to experience the World Cup as well as just be immersed in Qatar.”
With Darcy’s longtime career in professional soccer, the Norman family has lived and traveled to many places around the world but are happy to continue to call Truckee home.
“Although we’ve bounced around a lot over the years, no matter what we’ve always called Truckee home,” Inger said. “We’ve stepped away here and there for several years for Darcy’s career, but we’ve always come back. We were intentional in wanting to raise our children in the mountains, and no matter where we were, what was important for us was for our children to help them feel rooted, so Truckee will always be home.”
Because Darcy works in large time blocks with the U.S. Men’s National Team, he is excited to finally be back home to decompress in the mountains.
“Coming home to the mountains has always served me best with ‘recharging my batteries’ after a long season away,” Darcy said. “Towards the end of any travel trip, I can’t wait to get back to the mountains of Lake Tahoe.”
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