My High School Soccer Days
I was about 17 years old when I was introduced to soccer. Before this, I enjoyed playing street basketball and Junior Varsity badminton. One of my friends invited me to try out for Junior Varsity soccer. The coach at the time left a very positive impression on me. She focused on fundamental skills, drilling, and daily practice. I was enthralled seeing my progress each day which led to my love of the sport(s) today.
Very quickly, I advanced to Varsity soccer in high school. I spent my days kicking the ball against the wall at work (fast food restaurants), juggling the soccer ball any chance I could. One of the biggest breakthroughs was when I sprained my right ankle during practice. While recovering, I practiced with a basketball instead of a soccer ball. This strengthened my core, balance, my ankles, and as a result, dribbling or juggling the soccer ball was so much easier. It felt like a lightbulb idea for me. My stamina was much better through daily drills, running, and juggling. I loved kicking or blocking the soccer ball from the air. I didn’t even know about Diego Maradona (Legend of Soccer)!
My position was left midfielder. I can thank my great recovery from spraining my right ankle that I enjoyed soccer more. I could target kick wherever I wanted because of my basketball juggling drills. Quite a few times, I almost scored a goal from a distance. Sadly, our high school forwards were not the best or didn’t seem as motivated. I spent a lot of time, including our defenders protecting the goal. I ran everywhere I could, even if I got hit in the face to defend the goal. One of the coach's advice was just to block any way we could, even if a penalty goal happened from the opponent. It gave us a chance to defend and block a possible goal.
I didn’t stop playing soccer in high school. Since I wasn’t that impressed with the quality of play with our girl’s high school team, I eventually joined the men’s city district soccer team. I wanted to get better at the sport and be part of a team that made awesome tactical plays. For a summer, I practiced with men. It was brutal for me, of course. Many times I saw stars getting hit smack right at my face while my contacts fell. We did heavy drills around trees, all over the park, frog hopping, but I had to say no to “chest bumping!” (“I’m a young lady, remember???!”) My soccer skills did level up. I was getting better at playing as if I was a moving wall. I enjoyed seeing great triangle formations, quick passes, tactical dribbling, impressive jumping, and those awesome rainbow-looking goals!
- I loved playing soccer practice with the men’s district soccer team and wanted to be part of their games against other teams. Unfortunately, I could not compete with them because I was the only woman or young woman. It was a disappointing moment for me.
- At that time, I was graduating from high school. My poor parents and younger brother went to my high school graduation without me showing up. I preferred going to soccer practice! (NOTE: Technically, I already fulfilled all my requirements in January to graduate. I didn’t deem it important to have to go to the ceremony, and I did love playing soccer more than anything at that time.)
I had to share one of my favorite memories growing up after watching an anime show called “Aoashi.” I recently learned the type of soccer player, “Playmaker.” I’m a support soccer player regardless of your position in the game. Just like Aoashi, I ran full throttle wherever the ball was. Unlike the character Aoshi, who has a large field vision and can memorize the entire plane of player positions, I triangulated and tried to anticipate where I needed to cover the soccer ball. I’m very much a defense/offense and support soccer player.
How do playing soccer and the “Playmaker” position relate to me today?
No matter the sport, whether soccer, badminton, basketball, racketball, ping pong, martial arts, and more, I will always play defense and offense based on the situation.
This is my leadership style as well. I like to get things done. I will support other leaders if they need me, and if nobody is ready to lead, I lead or help elevate others.
In my personal life, I’m all of the above too!
Thank you for reading this story. I hope you enjoyed it and looking forward to writing more.