College Soccer College of Wooster
College of Wooster
I played soccer for most of my life, learning many lessons along the way. As I reflected to write this, I noticed the large part God played. While some of the best moments in my life have been related to soccer, I focused on the difficult times here. I realized these are the moments God was most present in my life – even if I wasn’t aware of it.
I played for my local team through High-School, unfortunately, we didn’t have a strong program. Early on, I noticed the poor level of play and grew frustrated. My emotions caused me to keep to myself and primarily focus on improving my game. This recluse mentality carried into my club season. This team was cliquey, as many of the girls played together several years before I joined. These previously established friendships were intimidating to me, causing me to continue to keep to myself. Because of my introverted behavior, I felt alone throughout my high school and club seasons.
While it took time, I did make friends on both teams. But I struggled a lot during this time with feeling alone. I spent a lot of time worrying if I would fit in or if my teammates would accept me. When I committed to college, I was excited for a fresh opportunity. I planned to place more emphasis on forming friendships with my teammates, something I had failed to do in prior years. I had high expectations based on my overnight visit, with the team appearing welcoming and friendly.
I did make some amazing friends on my college team. But due to many factors the remainder of my soccer career contained drama, commotion and conflict. When the problems started, I felt that it was my responsibility for helping teammates make amends with one another. I wanted our team to be unified and it was difficult to watch my friends fight. In order to alleviate the drama, I spent hours mediating conversations between teammates and discussing team culture with players, coaches, and even athletic directors. I focused so much on the wellbeing of my team that I forgot to focus on my own wellbeing.
These struggles, along with those in high school and club soccer, taught me three important lessons. First, God placed people in my life for a reason. I think He saw that I was feeling lonely. He either brought new players onto my team or provided opportunities for me to become friends with them. Secondly, life is full of obstacles and we need to rely on God to help us overcome them. I relied on myself rather than God to solve the problems on my college team. I wanted all of the negativity and turmoil to disappear, but I am not able to solve the problems by myself. I need to depend on God to help, with any difficulty I encounter. Once you give God your worries and anxieties, life becomes calm (1 Peter 5:7). Lastly, even though I felt otherwise, I was never completely alone. Every step of the way God was with me and continues to be by my side. I am reminded of this in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Rada, thanks so much for sharing your story. It didn't sound like things were too easy in High-School with your soccer program as well as relationships on the team. I'm sorry you had to go through that period but I also am excited that you did in order to encourage others who might be on the same page as you once were. Check Your Game is exactly what you finally did when you got out of High-School and entered College. You realized that you needed to work on relationships with others and made that a priority. You not only got to know your teammates more, but you got involved so much that you were the mediator to those around you. It's amazing how God used a young introverted girl in High-School to be the person to help others with their issues! I can see how God used your experiences in life to not only encourage others but also for you to learn about yourself. You realized that God wasn't just for Sunday's, but He was also an important part in your life on a daily basis, including your soccer. I'm not sure what God's plan was for you but you are right! He is with you always and continues to put us in places where we aren't always comfortable or even happy but His plan always has the best ending! Rada, you sound like a great young woman who desires to improve and be a better person. I just wanted to encourage you to continue doing this same in life, even when it doesn't seem to make sense. I know there are many times in my life when I couldn't understand why certain things took place, but years later, realized that God had a bigger and better plan for me in my life. I know he has a great plan for you as well. Thanks for sharing and I know your story will be an encouragement for others. Gary Rogers