How soccer made a difference in my life

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After four years of a new team every season, I went into my first practice of my fifth soccer season expecting the same to be true. Play on this team for one year and then be randomly placed on a different one the following year. Little did I know this team, especially the coaches, would leave a lasting impact on my life. I gained an invaluable support system that has stuck by my side for an upwards of nine years. Even though our team, “The Stingers”, eventually changed to “The Velocity”, one girl, Christina, was always there for me and continues to be by my side today. Through playing on the same soccer team for nine seasons, we developed a bond that will not easily be broken. We can look at each other and just start laughing for no reason. I know all of her drama and she knows mine. Our mutual trust that was developed on the soccer field has branched into every aspect of our lives. I know I can turn to her at any moment and she will quit whatever she is doing and come to my rescue. Likewise, she knows I will always be there to help her through any situation, no matter how difficult it may be. Recently, when Christina received the heart wrenching news that her mom has breast cancer, I stood right by her side to help her through it. She was able to lean on me for support when it was too overwhelming for her to handle on her own. When she needed to get away from the stresses of her mom’s health, we would hang out and just talk for hours on end. Similarly, when my relationship with a mutual friend was struggling, Christina was there to help me get through it. She encouraged me to stay strong and continue to treat our friend with respect even though she neglected me and our decade of friendship. Over the years, our relationsh... ... middle of paper ... ...kills, I can always count on my second family to support me through it all. Multiple times when I was feeling my soccer skills weren’t up to par and I wasn’t good enough, my coaches consistently encouraged to keep practicing and training myself to become a better player. They didn’t let me quit because they knew I could become better if I gave it my all. The encouragement that I receive from my soccer family is so greatly valued because I know they are choosing, out of love, to support me. While I have developed my soccer skills over the years, the relationships I have built with people are treasured more than my ability to play the game. Playing soccer has granted me the opportunity to be surrounded by an extensive family of people who truly love me. I am forever indebted to the sport for bringing me into love-filled relationships with players and coaches alike.
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