The ball at my feet, the sweat dripping down my face, the grass crunching down with every step, the excitement, the joy and the adrenaline rushing through my body when I look up and see a clear path to the goal. This is a feeling I find myself in quite often everytime I’m out on the field. I have been playing soccer since I was 6 years old, soccer has always been there for me, my happy place, my stress reliever, my safe haven, my favorite thing to do. No matter what is happening in my life, everything just melts away when I am on the field. Soccer has shaped my character, my personality and my skill sets. The lessons I have learned from soccer as a player, a youth coach volunteer, a referee, and a spectator have helped me become the person I am today.
As a player, I have learned to work hard, not to give up, to accept criticism and be humble, to admire players better than me and to try to become better myself, it has helped me learn about commitment, sacrifice and responsibility. I have learned to listen and to speak out, that by putting in effort and hard work I can attain my goals. I have learned to win humbly and lose gracefully, to foster friendships with people from different backgrounds and walks of life.
As a coach, I have learned to respect my own coaches even more, to gain a deeper and better understanding about coaching as more than teaching soccer skills; coaching is teaching life lessons through the game we love; it has helped me be ready and prepared for my training sessions, to be dependable and to conduct myself well in every occasion in and out of the fields because I’m a role model to younger kids who look up to me. Soccer has taught me that words matter and that we can make someone’s life better by what we say and do. The pride, joy, and sense of accomplishment I feel when my players have fun and learn about the sport and can move on to the next level in soccer is indescribable.
As a referee, I have learned to respect the rules of the game, to understand the meaning of fair play, to be mindful and considerate of the hard and sometimes difficult job referees do.
As a person I have learned the importance of teamwork, to communicate well with others, to develop good interpersonal skills. I have learned to manage my time wisely to be able to balance school, extracurricular activities and my personal life. Soccer has taught me that we all have an important role to play towards the common good, what we do affects not only ourselves but others. Soccer has made me more empathetic, sensitive and mindful of others. Most importantly, soccer has taught me to be passionate about the things I love, to be disciplined and persistent, to never give up on my dreams because as long as there is a burning desire to do something, there is nothing I can’t do.
“If football (soccer) has taught me anything it is that you can overcome anything if, and only if, you love something enough.” ~Lionel Messi