The thing that I have been dreading the most for months has now come to the forefront. I am not ready, but I have no choice. Back on September 4, 2016, I received a major concussion from a car accident. I should have died and I have so much to be thankful for. As the months have gone by my body has healed and the scars now remain; permanent marks that will remind me of the pain that I have suffered and the strength it took to overcome it all. I am now stuck at the crossroads with so many options that I could choose, but really only one choice is illuminated at this point.
My journey with soccer began as a little four-year-old with big dreams. I have loved soccer since the very first moment I touched a ball. I ran around, like every child does, playing a sport I could barely understand. Eventually, I played club for my town and I was on the Varsity team for my high school, I made lots of friends and memories. Even though there were good and bad times they have had a great impact on my life. Soccer has saved my life in so many ways.
My sophomore year of High school I received a varsity jacket and I wore it proudly. I would watch the U.S. Women's National Team anytime I could find it online and I went to as many games as I could when they played near me. During the summers I go to the Sky Blue games, the NWSL team for New Jersey. I used to practice for hours on my technique and work as hard as I could to stay in shape. I helped coach, I was a referee starting at age 12, I was a player, and I was a trainer. The only part that remains is a girl who loves soccer, but isn't allowed to play.
When I was told by several people that I was never going to play again, I tried to hold back the tears. Soccer has been so much a part of my life and one of the ways I could clear my mind and just enjoy myself. I sat there and just shook my head, I refused to believe them; I still refuse to believe them. I wanted it to be my decision and I wasn't allowed to make it. For weeks I have been walking around in this false reality that come August I will be moving in early for one last pre-season.
I cannot tell you what I will do now, I cannot tell you if I will ever be able to play a competitive contact sport ever again. There is so much I still do not know about what my life will look like. I may have daily headaches and sensitivity to light for the rest of my life. Do I enjoy wearing sunglasses each time I am outside, or even sometimes when I am inside, no, I do look like a crazy person. Will I give up? No, I will continue to work hard each and every day to push through the limitations I have been given. Soccer will still be so much a part of my life and I wish that I could finish off my senior year playing with my team one last time. But I cannot. I wish my teammates the best, but now I must retire much too early. I am not ready to say goodbye, but I must.
To my new cleats that never saw game time, I am sorry.
To my teammates that I leave behind, I will remember you.
To the playing field, I will forever miss you.
To my head, I will fix you.
To my coaches, I thank you for everything you’ve done.
To my family, I hope that you enjoyed the times you go to see me play.
To myself, you will survive.
To the game of soccer, I must say goodbye.