*Logistical: My permanent residence is in California, but I am currently living in Portland, Oregon to play for the Portland Timbers Academy.*
Often times when the word soccer is presented, there is a direct correlation or progression to the more general category of sports. From the time I could walk, I was kicking a ball day after day and was told that by doing so, I was playing a sport. What I lacked to understand through the duration of my adolescence is the fact that soccer is much more than merely an athletic practice.
After thorough reflection, I have come understand that through all the highs and lows of my past, soccer has aided me as an outlet of mentorship. There are countless anecdotes of this principle, with one that best embodies the concept as a whole.
For my first 10 years of soccer, I played for an extremely small club in my hometown of Seattle. I was competing with a team three years above my age group which provided valuable lessons that I hold with me to this day. This particular team was comprised of a very diverse group of backgrounds. There were often games where we had fewer than 11 players, sometimes only the minimum of seven. Getting kids to practice often took a single car full of those same seven players. At first glance, this lack of numbers may appear to stem from a small supply of willing kids or perhaps a set of poor attitudes, but this was never the case. I slowly learned that there were endless instances in which a child did not experience the support necessary when it came to athletic pursuits. This helped me take a step back and develop an appreciation for every ounce of backing that I had ever received. It also developed a brotherhood between myself and those I shared the field with as a communal understanding regarding the privilege to step on a field was well known.
This is simply one illustration of how soccer has altered my understanding of the world and helped me develop both on and off the field. As I approach the end of high school, I continue to strive to improve as a player and person. I am working to find the program that I can contribute my full commitment towards and in the process undergo new experiences and challenges that will further change the young adult that I am actively working to become.