Playing in Hinsdale, Illinois was like playing in a big stadium. The field was very green, mowed and had an even surface. I was able to see the rest of the park a couple miles away. Playing on a soccer traveling team was a different experience, Unlike the other teams that I had played before. Our home field was located in Des Plaines, Illinois behind Oakton Community College. It was very muddy, the grass was very tall, and the surface was uneven. As I saw the facility we played in and compared it to other teams we would go against, I began to see the disadvantages we experienced for being minorities.
One day it was raining and the game had to get postponed because our field was flooded. The flooding was too much; it soaked my entire long socks up to my shin. The ball was not rolling the way we wanted. There was no way we would be able to play under these conditions. We were going against a team called Elite FC. That team brought girls from different states in the Midwest. We had to postpone that game to the following week. However, it was moved to their home field since our home field was still in poor condition. When my team, FC Chicago, was getting to the field in Hinsdale, the girls from Elite FC and their fans' facial expressions were very confident that they were going to win the game effortlessly. The Elite FC girls made it obvious that they were talking about us before kickoff. They looked very relaxed and with smirks on their faces as they spread out from the circle they had created. Once the referee blew the whistle, Elite FC started with the ball. They were passing the ball very arrogantly, like we were not going to take it away from them. The game was about to finish. We were losing 4-3. I made a pass and it ended up in a goal making my team tie. The goal was much more than just the goal that made us draw. That goal made me realize that what matters is the effort and the passion we put into every game.
Getting kicked and falling is what I enjoy about this sport. Soccer has been part of my life since I was 4 years old. I would play in a church’s gymnasium and in a very small field. I played indoor in the winter. The fields were very little and crowded. That was when I began to notice that we, as minorities, did not have the best fields. Our fields did not have enough space and they were not in good conditions. The fields were made out of turf, but some spots were not covered by it. It was easier to get injured since our fields were uneven. In the outdoors we are able to slide to get possession of the ball, but we were not able to slide when we played indoors because our skin would get burned. The walls were very dirty with feet and ball prints. The walls were also old, they were not strong enough. When we would bang the walls they would move. The disadvantages were more noticeable playing travelling since it was a bigger and well known league. Playing soccer at a higher level than I did before was an eye opener because I was able to experience the different resources minorities had compared to wealthy people at a young age. By noticing all the poor resources and horrible fields throughout my years, I realized how challenging it is for minorities like myself to succeed. However, I will not let that discourage me to accomplish my goals. Every goal I have set for myself I will take just like it is a final in a soccer game and give it my all to achieve it.