When I am with my teammates and playing in a high-stakes game under the lights, I feel more connected than I usually do. It's a bit cheesy but true. Cheering JV on from the sidelines, gorging on food the parents bring, singing Fergalicious on bus rides, and playing foosball at sleepovers are moments that will be hard to forget. The soccer team is my family, but they're not the only reason I love to play. I love playing because that's when I am most creative and alive; soccer has been an outlet for me since I was seven. The evolving challenges and hurdles the game presents each time are another reason I love playing; it's a different type of mental puzzle. For me, how you finish matters a lot, so I hate when someone doesn't give everything they have (although I'm not always immune to it either). Anyone can start something, but not everyone will have the determination to finish it. My parents have been incredible models of perseverance for me as they started at the bottom (being immigrants), and it's not something that has been lost on me: in the classroom or on the field.