Youth Athletes: Remember Where You Started

Youth Athletes: Remember Where You Started

“Erica, you’re getting in the car and going to soccer practice!” my mom yelled at 6-year-old me.

“1……..2……..3…….NOW!” she counted down to show me she meant business, and that it was time to get in the car.

Tears streamed down my face, as I pouted and retaliated at the thought of going to my first soccer practice.

Reluctantly, I got in the backseat of my parent’s car, and was off to the unknown. Anxiety gripped my stomach, my heart raced with fear, and my eyes watered uncontrollably.

Fast forward 23 years later, and here I am at age 29 more in love with the game than ever before.

It all started with my first practice. And back then, my mom knew best – that forcing me in the car would change my life forever.

Moms always know best, no doubt.

And after that first practice ended, I was elated with a newfound energy and exuberance for life.

“That was so fun!” I exclaimed as I ran over to my mom and dad.

“Did you have fun?” they asked.

“Yes! When is the next one? I want to do it again!” I begged with excitement.

For many years to follow, soccer breathed into every ounce of my being. I was never seen without a ball, Umbro shorts, or a Mia Hamm jersey.

And every game I played was a magical spectacle that immersed me in the present moment, allowed me to step into my power, and sparkle the field with my passion.

It’s comical now to look back on the one decision that changed my life forever: to get in the darn car with my mom and go to soccer practice.

Remembering where I started in this journey is humbling to say the least. Moreover, it is empowering to look back on the work ethic and tenacity and passion I put into developing my career, and to pat myself on the back for how far I’ve come.

Not only did soccer take me to an amazing university, allow me to see the world, make lasting memories, smile over a thousand times, and meet wonderful female athletes and friends, but it made me realize my grit and potential to make things happen.

If there’s anything you get from this story, it’s to remember where you started.

Look back fondly on all of it – from the beginning, to the gut wrenching feelings of adversity, to the victories, to the unforgettable times with teammates and friends, to the hard work, to the sleepless nights, to the long training sessions, to the sweaty uniforms and messy hair.

Maybe you started on a recreational team for a couple yeas, then became the leader scorer on your travel team.

Remember where you started.

Maybe you were benched for months, then worked hard and became a starter on your high school team.

Remember where you started.

Maybe you were the slowest on your team, then took your training seriously and became the fastest on your team.

Remember where you started.

Maybe you didn’t make Development Academy, but your persevered and got a D1 scholarship to your dream school.

Remember where you started.

Because look: reflecting on the beginning allows you to be thankful for how far you’ve come. Too often, we fixate on how far we have to go, when we have accomplished so incredibly much.

So I urge you to reflect. In fact, be your biggest hype person and cheerleader. Recognize your wins. Give yourself love. Realize how many action steps you took along the way to get to where you are now.

When you do all of this, you see that you can change your story at any moment, and take it in a new, powerful direction that is limitless.

Remember where you started. 

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