This week I am going to talk about soccer. For those of you that do not know, I play soccer at my college (Frostburg State University) and soccer is a big part of my life (this is probably an understatement) as I have been playing it year round for about 16 years. For as long as I can remember, soccer has been my favorite hobby.
I, and all of us who play fall sports, go back to school a week earlier than the rest of the students to practice and to get the team ready for the season. Since school will not have started yet during this week, we practice multiple times a day in that first week. As you can imagine, soccer is a lot of running and is super tiring, so try and imagine playing multiple times a day in the heat no less. Very tiring yes, but it is super fun I must say, when you really love something you are willing to do things you might not otherwise do. Therefore, I must prepare myself and get myself physically “game ready”. As my coach says to us, “Can your coaches and team mates trust you to be prepared when you arrive?” I, as an upcoming senior on the team, must set an example to come as fit as I can and make an impression to the underclass players to show them that we work hard here and want to be the best. As we are getting closer to the summer ending L and the fall beginning, our coaches words ring in my ears and I have been going on runs and pushing myself to go a little faster or a little farther on each run I go on.
A few streets over from where I am living this summer, there is a street called Parker Street. This is funny to me because my coaches’ last name is Parker and that is what we call him. I run by it or on it, (When It’s not too hot and I can run outside) to give me some motivation as he is a big influence to me and my team. Not only does he push us to be the best soccer players we can be, but he is there for us personally and academically. In the years to come, when I think back on my soccer career, I will definitely think of him. I will think of all the coaches I have had along the way to help me become the collegiate athlete that I am.
I leave for pre-season, as we call it, in about 3 weeks, for the last time. It is so sad to say this is the last season of soccer I will play at such a competitive level. I’m sure in the future I will play for some fun, but before that we are going to have another great year at Frostburg!
Over the years I have learned a lot by playing soccer. I have met so many people and made lots of connections from all the different teams I have played on. I have grown as a player and as a person. One thing about being on a sports team is that you are going to get yelled at, but how you react to it is what is important. I have learned to take constructive criticism and put it towards fixing the problem and improving myself. Taking something that is hard to hear and turning it into something positive has become a strength of mine and soccer had a role in this. I believe soccer, or any sport, helps to shape a person. I have learned team work, hard work, and dedication obviously, but there is so much more to being on and being a part of a team that I can’t even put into words. The friends and team mates that I have met from being on teams are life-long. From wearing SAC, Centennial, and Frostburg on my jerseys while I play, they will always be a part of my heart. What I have gotten out of soccer will last me a lifetime and will never be forgotten.