If someone quits playing a sport or activity, then they truly do not love it. For some quitting is the easiest thing to do when things get hard and for others like myself who grew up in a household that never quit on anything, especially if they were truly passionate about it, it’s the hardest thing you can ever do. All my life I have played soccer. I was born and raised in Springfield, Virginia where playing soccer was a yearlong activity. So growing up you could always find me on the soccer field kicking the ball around with my friends.
I was used to just be the best and the star of the team. That all changed when I moved to Marshall Missouri. Marshall is a very small rural community with a population size of approximately 13,000. I moved to Marshall the summer going into my freshman year in 2012. I knew right away I wanted to be on the soccer team and try to be the star again. However, the very first practice, I came to the coach made the team run 3 miles and I was one of the last ones to finish. After we finished are cardio workout we went to the field and actually did some offensive drills.
The first drill was really easy or so I thought it was. The coach numbered everyone off and then would shout out two random numbers. When my number was called I ran as fast as I could to get to the ball first. Being a freshman, I was only 5’1” and I was going up against a junior named Roberto who was an all-conference defender two years in a row. Of course he outran me and scored an easy goal. Practice was like that all summer. When it came time for the coaches to pick the varsity team, I had sadly not made it, but I did make the jv team.
My sophomore year I was placed on the jv team again. Junior year 2014 came and I was ready. I was six inches taller than I was my freshman year, I felt stronger, and most importantly I was in way better shape. I would wake up early to go run two miles every day. I watched what I ate and drank, I even started to lift some weights to try and get as big and fast as the other guys on the team. I worked so hard all summer. However, when It came down to the coaches picking the teams I was put on jv again. It broke my heart and I wanted to quit so bad.
I put so much effort into soccer and I felt like I wasn’t good enough. All my friends told me I was better than them and that I deserved to be on varsity. That’s what hurt the most everyone telling me I was good enough, except the coach obviously didn’t see it. He took the love out of the game for me. I never thought I’d see the day when I wanted to quit soccer. I didn’t quit. I wanted to see if I could impress my coach before the season ended. And I did just that; I scored so many goals that he promoted me to be on varsity, but I didn’t really play which made me feel even worse.
After the game when the team would go hug and thank the fans for coming. I would never go because I didn’t feel as though I made a difference and I didn’t want everyone to being saying “good game” when I didn’t even play. I learned a lot about myself. I need to be happy that the team was doing great and stop being so selfish. We ended that season with the conference championship. In spring of 2015 I was determined to not only be on the varsity team, but to also start a few games. So what I decided to do was to join a club team to improve my condition and to improve my skill.
The club team that I joined was the Boonville Soccer Academy, which was located in Boonville Missouri. Playing in BSA really built my confidence up because the coach, trusted me and would always play me in the important games. While in BSA we won four first place trophies and two second place trophies. Playing for this club team really felt like a second chance for me. I had a leadership role on my team, I was the captain and had to run warm ups before every game and practice. I got my passion for the game back and was ready to play my senior year of high soccer. Fall of 2015 was my final high school soccer season.
I met my first goal and was on varsity. However, l wanted to start a few games and make a difference for my team. At the beginning of the season, I started off on the bench. I felt just as bad as I did a year before, I wasn’t good enough for the coach and just wanted to quit. I keep my head up and just used it as motivation. I was tired of feeling bad for myself. I stayed late after practice to run extra laps and went all out in practice. Until one night we went down to play Warrensburg high school to play and my coach thought I was ready to get my very first start.
I was extremely happy and wanted to prove myself. We ended up winning the game seven to one and I got my first career assist. I went on to start two other games and helped my school win their third conference title in a row. I have learned a lot while playing soccer. I could have easily quit and not think twice about it, but I didn’t want to go down like that I had way too much respect for my teammates. I have lots of passion for soccer so I knew quitting would not be worth it. I learned from that experience and grew not only as a player but as a person.