Being a soccer writer for almost five decades, you might say wild horses can't keep me away from a soccer match, tournament or World Cup that I want or need to cover.

What a smile from Annabelle 16 years ago tonight. (Photo by Joy Rubenstein)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Being a soccer writer for almost five decades, you might say wild horses can’t keep me away from a soccer match, tournament or World Cup that I want or need to cover.

But 15 years ago today, an unassuming newborn made sure I arrived a bit tardy to China for the 2007 Women’s World Cup.

I am talking about my granddaughter, Annabelle, who was born in Springfield, Mo. on the night of Sept. 18, 2007.

My wife Joy and myself ventured to the Show Me state for the birth, which had been planned for a specific date.

But Annabelle had some other plans so I had to put off my plane trip to Shanghai for a couple of days (I had made plans to depart Chicago for China so I would not have to crisscross the continent).

Sometimes there are other priorities in life.

I kept Aaron Heifetz, the U.S. women’s national team press officer, apprised of my situation and my hopeful impending arrival.

He appreciated me keeping him in the loop and he even eventually sent back a one-word message:


Which as it happened, happened, and Annabelle Moir made her entry to the world on the night of Sept. 18 as the daughter of Val and Shawn Moir.

I got the joyous opportunity of holding Annabelle that night and took pictures of my wife Joy with the new bundle of well, joy. And being the journalist am, I made sure the announcement of Annabelle’s arrival was known to the world via email and photos (it would have been much easier using a smart phone camera, but many phones at that time, including mine, were not equipped with them).

In a couple of days it was time for my departure and arrival of another nature in Shanghai.

Years ago I told Annabelle that she was the only force in the world that she delayed my departure to the WWC, something no other power on earth has been able to do.

She smiled.

And oh yes, before I forget: a Sweet 16 happy birthday, Annabelle!

The author holding his granddaughter 16 years ago tonight. (Joy Rubenstein/FrontRowSoccer.com)

As it turns out, I arrived in China at the end of the group stage and in time for quarterfinals and semifinals (goalkeeper Hope Solo’s famous blow-up when she was snubbed to start vs. Brazil in goal in what turned into a 4-0 fiasco and one of the most embarrassing moments in U.S. women’s soccer history.

It might have been the end of the World Cup for the U.S. at the time, but it certainly wasn’t the end of the world for me as I enjoyed an opportunity to be at the hospital to be a part of such a happy occasion.

Besides, it’s incredible how much power a newborn baby has, even more horsepower than a bunch of, well, wild horses.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.