Seven Lessons Learned From Playing Soccer

Seven Lessons Learned From Playing Soccer

Love the beautiful game.

As kids, almost all of us play soccer at some point. Well, everyone plays the 5-year-old soccer where everyone stands in a bunch and kicks at the ball, but then, a few from each team continue on the real soccer journey. Playing soccer is a commitment; it is late nights and weather-bearing. Soccer is emotional and even stressful, but it is also the greatest game on earth for good reason.

Here are some lessons I have learned from the amazing game of soccer:

1. Parents are incredible.

Any soccer player knows the unbelievable amount of miles a parent has to drive to games, practices and team events. Most practices are in the thick of rush hour, which meant spending all night in the car. Tournaments took up entire weekends and included long days in the scorching heat and bitter cold. Parents coordinated carpools and always made sure we were on time to the field (well, almost always).

Thank you, Mom and Dad.

2. There is no bond like that of a teammate.

Teammates are more than just friends. Teammates are a strange form of family; they are family because you spend unbelievable amounts of time with them, yet that isn’t necessarily by choice. You get in fights, you pull each other’s jerseys and you know how to push each other’s buttons; but at the end of the day you would do anything for your teammates.

Thank you, to every teammate I have had over the years.

3. You need to develop a thick skin.

Every soccer player has been yelled at, screamed at and even humiliated by a coach at some point. We have all said things we did not mean and we have all been the target of someone’s bad day. We learned colorful language from a young age and at this point, we can take criticism without being phased.

Thank you, to my coaches and teammates for toughening me up.

4. Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way.

We have all played in games where our team simply can’t score. You could be outshooting a team 50-0 and end up losing 0-1. That’s just the way life and soccer work; but that’s okay, because chances are there is a game next week. Soccer taught me that the ball won’t always bounce in your favor, but you’ll always have another chance to get a win.

Thank you, to the balls that didn’t bounce my way.

5. Take advantage of your opportunities.

Some games you only get one chance to bury the ball. It is important to always take full advantage of every opportunity you have, big or small because you never know when your last opportunity will be.

Thank you, soccer, for all the opportunities I have been given.

6. You win some, you lose some and some get rained out.

Sometimes you are the winner and sometimes you are the loser, and that’s just the way it is. Sometimes you aren’t a winner or a loser, but you wasted your time and energy on an annoying rain delay or snow cancelation. No matter what happens, you always look ahead to the next opponent.

Thank you, soccer, for teaching me to win and lose

7. It is much more than just a game.

Soccer is about the places you go and the people you meet. It is about seeing new states with your best friends. Soccer is about lasting friendships that extend much further than the field and nightly practice. Soccer is about the memories made and the amazing relationships along the way; it is about muddy games and beautiful goals that will be engraved in us forever.

Thank you, soccer, for leaving a turf burn on my heart.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.

I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time

Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Dear Oklahoma, Please Take Care Of Jalen Hurts

He's one of the good ones, we promise.


Dear Oklahoma fans, coaches, and players, please take care of Jalen Hurts.

When Hurts graduated in December of 2018, everyone in the Alabama fanbase knew that a transfer was coming soon. After showing his distinct character and loyalty to the Alabama Crimson Tide by choosing to play the 2018 season, even though he would be second in line to Tua Tagavailoa, Hurts deserves this chance to make the best decision for himself. The selection process regarding where Hurts would end up this upcoming season was kept relatively private, which of course open the doors to countless predictions from fans and analysts.

However, I can confidently say that I was not the only one shocked at his choice, but I whole-heartedly support it.

Home to two Heisman-winning quarterbacks, Oklahoma is a more than a smart choice on Hurts' behalf. Within that program, he will be given ample opportunity to improve his craft in order to put himself in the best position for a successful career post-college. The Sooners obviously have an incredible program that leads players down the best paths to be as successful as possible, and that is all Alabama fans want for our beloved quarterback.

With all this being said, I, as an Alabama fan, just ask the Oklahoma Sooners to take care of Jalen and realize how special of a player he is.

With Hurts at quarterback, you will never have to question his effort or loyalty to his teammates. He will always carry himself with grace, no matter the situation. If you give him an opportunity to succeed, he will put forth all of his effort in order to take advantage of it.

Jalen Hurts is one of the most special players, and young men, to ever wear an Alabama Crimson Tide uniform. All that we ask is that you support him as we have these past three years.

Roll Tide.


Every Alabama Fan

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