Have you ever done something that became second nature to you? But have you ever thought at what it took for you to get to that point? Well for me that something was playing soccer. I started playing soccer when I was three years old, and right off the bat my parents knew that it was something I was going to be good at. I started off playing for AYSO in Fontana,
which is where mostly all beginners start at. I then joined club soccer where my abilities of playing grew so much more. From this point on is when things really took off for me. While playing this sport I had to learn everything there was to know about the game, how to take care of my body, and I learned a lot about myself when I was faced with tough decisions.
Since I started playing soccer at a young age I was pretty much a sponge with all the information that I obtained. I first learned how to kick and dribble a soccer ball from my dad. He taught me what was the proper was to angle my foot in order to get some power behind the ball. After I learned the general concept of dribbling, kicking, and scoring as my mom would say “there was no stopping her after that.” Once I knew that this was something I loved to do, I began to start watching videos on soccer. I would sit hours on end on the computer watching highlights from big games on youtube. I would look up how to do the basic and more complicated moves, right down to gaining more and more knowledge of the game with just watching these kind of clips. I guess you can say this is where is really where my passion for the game grew.
Even though having to learned the basics of soccer, there were a lot more things I had to learn after that. With playing a sport pretty much all year round, I was playing in all different kinds of weather. From one hundred and fifteen degree weather all the way down to twenty degrees while playing in the snow. So another very important thing I had to learn was how to correctly take care of my body. When having to play games in really hot weather you have to make sure you are really hydrated. I guess you can say I learned this the hard way because I was playing a game when it was really hot and got super dehydrated and passed out. After that incident happened I started to learn how important it was to make sure I was taking care of my body with eating the right foods and hydrating right as well. As for when it got cold you might not have to hydrate as much but this is when stretching and warming up before a game becomes even more important. When the weather is cold it takes a lot longer for your body and muscles to warm up to make sure you’re ready for the game.
Another very important thing about taking care of your body is when you have an injury. This is very much something that can ruin you mentally and physically. But how mentally strong you are during a time like this is what can get you through it or not. However, with that being said that does not mean to try and be mentally strong to the point where you are trying to ignore the pain. What I mean by this is by pushing yourself to where you know that you are going to be able to get back to 100% again. I for sure had my fair share of injuries. From wrist and ankle sprains, all the way down to a broken tailbone. It sucks really bad not being able to playing on the field alongside your teammates and sitting on the sidelines feeling useless when your team is struggling. Having this feeling really does make you want to just ignore the pain and get back on the field as soon as possible but what my coach told me that always stuck with my is that “Make sure when you come back you are feeling 100% because if not you are just going to hurt yourself again and have to be out for even longer.” When he told me this it really stuck with me because being out was really bad so having to be out for longer was just going to be a nightmare. Becoming an athlete makes you realize a lot about your body, like what your limits are and when you can still push yourself to do more.
Along with learning things about my body, I have learned so much about myself as a person. I learned what things make me push myself to my limits, how to become a team player and leader, and how to work with all different types of girls and coaches. When I joined club soccer at the age of ten I was still a very quiet and to myself type of person but learning to work with other girls that brought out the player I am, will always make me thankful for the experience that I was able to have when playing club. As for the coaches I had the opportunity to work with coaches from Brazil, England, Germany, Australia, France, Switzerland, Argentina and Spain. All of these people had a different outlook on the game and taught me so much about soccer from many different kinds of viewpoints. I also had the chance to become a captain after my first year joining the club. This was another literacy that I had to go through because having this role I had to make sure that my team was performing at the best of their ability and if not I had to either lead by example or give words of encouragement to change their mindset on their performance.
Not only did I learn many literacies from playing but I was able to travel and most importantly how lucky I was to be able to say I did all these things because no everyone is fortune enough that was family to be able to support them like me, by always being there for me and giving me the opportunity to go through the things that I experienced. I will forever be thankful for this.