Her Tears of Joy Celebrated the Resilience of a Battered Team

Her Tears of Joy Celebrated the Resilience of a Battered Team

“She is everything to us,” said Nuengruethai Sathongwien, Thailand’s coach. “She builds a future for all of the players.”

After qualifying for its first Women’s World Cup, in 2015, and defeating the lesser-ranked Ivory Coast, 3-2, in group play, Thailand has been besieged in this year’s tournament. Still, it has maintained its composure and insistence. After the opening 13-0 loss to the United States, Lamsam led the Thai players around the perimeter of the field to thank Thai supporters. While some players cried, she did not, Thai reporters said.

Instead, Lamsam offered encouragement, writing on Facebook: “We will fight to the fullest in the two remaining matches with the spirit of sportsmanship.”

Before Sunday’s match against Sweden, dressed in a jacket and slacks, Lamsam gave a vigorous pep talk on the field, raising an arm above her head in rousing encouragement, telling players to perform “as if it is the last game of your life.”

Afterward, she stood in a line with the team, waving and bowing to a crowd that cheered Thailand’s persistence despite its heavy defeat. She told reporters that while her team had scored only one goal, it had been “one of the most important things ever for Thai women’s football” because it had come against a higher-ranked team.

In her autobiography, published in 2017, Lamsam wrote that Thailand’s early struggles in her tenure as general manager did not discourage her. Instead, the “bitter tears shed” encouraged her to devote herself more fully to her role, she wrote.

“And I firmly believe that we can go further still.”

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