I expected to walk into a fortress of sorts, a castle that housed the king of women's soccer.
What pictures could Anson Dorrance possibly have hanging in his house? So many moments during his illustrious career have been captured in publications across the country. Which ones would actually make it on his walls?
The door opened easily, and the front hallway looked inviting rather than intimidating.
A pair of children's soccer cleats were strewn across the floor. A cat careened down the stairs to see who was visiting.
Sunlight wafted in through large living room windows that opened to a wrap-around deck that looked like it was custom-made for soccer team parties.
"Hello!" M'Liss Dorrance called from the front hall. She offered me a drink and sat down to chat in the living room. Per my request, she began searching for old photos of her husband during his days as a wild-haired, 135-pound North Carolina soccer player. She recounted amusing stories as she sorted through piles of memoirs.
Three weeks ago, Dorrance and M'Liss traveled to California with assistant coach Bill Palladino and his wife, Wendy, to see former player Tisha Venturini get married. Because they made a quick stop at a Taco Bell to stave off their hunger, the foursome was late for the wedding. They arrived just as the bride was about to enter the church. Instead of being angry with her former coaches, Venturini laughed. She remembered the craziness that encapsulated her time as a player, and it made her feel more at ease than she had felt all day.
By now, M'Liss says she is used to the insane schedules and unexpected occurrences. Her peaceful demeanor reminded me of the cool, calm and collected Dorrance I had spoken to so many times after games. She looked me in the eyes and made me feel at home.
I asked her what it was like to be the first lady of the UNC women's soccer team. If Dorrance is the father, does she feel like the mother?