“I’m so proud to be from Del Mar,” two-time Olympic gold medalist Rachel Buehler said after being honored with a proclamation from the city at the Aug. 20 meeting. Looking on are Mark Filanc, Mayor Carl Hilliard, Terry Sinnott and Lee Haydu. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

Council honors two-time gold medalist

DEL MAR — Two-time Olympic gold medalist Rachel Buehler, who grew up in Del Mar, was honored with a proclamation from City Council at the Aug. 20 meeting. 

“I’m so proud to be from Del Mar,” said Buehler, a member of the 2008 and 2012 U.S. soccer teams that stood atop the podium in Beijing and London, respectively.

“Growing up here was an incredible, incredible experience,” she said. “Being part of this community, I’m really happy that I was able to represent everybody in London and bring back the gold.”

Before the meeting started, Buehler passed around her medal to city staff and community members. Many were surprised at its heaviness.

Mayor Carl Hilliard presented Buehler with the proclamation, highlighting her career that includes four years as a varsity player at Torrey Pines High School and three years as team captain while attending Stanford University.

The 27-year-old was named Surf Soccer Club’s Player of the Year in 2003 and was chosen as the ESPN Academic All-American of the Year in 2007.

The U.S. women’s soccer team has won four gold medals in the past five Olympics, most recently in a 2-1 victory over Japan in front of a record-breaking crowd of more than 80,000 at Wembley Stadium on Aug. 9.

Describing the winning game as an “incredible moment,” Buehler said she was equally as excited to have her family and fiancé, Bobby Van Hollebeke, in London with her. “That was huge,” she said.

Buehler and her teammates will embark on a victory tour this fall, playing games throughout the country. She will conclude her amazing year with another milestone. After dating for eight years, she and Van Hollebeke will be married in November.

“Whether it is on the soccer field or in the classroom or with neighbors or friends, what makes Rachel unique is the heart that she brings to all she does,” Hilliard said while reading the proclamation.

“She is the quintessential role mode and Del Mar is fortunate to have her as an ambassador for women’s soccer in the community.”

“Thank you for this proclamation,” Buehler said. “It’s a huge honor. I’m very proud.”

Before leaving she promised to return with a signed soccer ball for the council.