Most of my favorite moments in life came in soccer games. That isn’t surprising, considering it seems like I spend the majority of my waking hours playing soccer. But the first half of one game was a rare time when I wished I wasn’t playing.
It was a chilly December morning, although the cold didn’t feel too bad when my team had to run around more to make up for our two missing players. Our opponents took advantage of the situation and attacked us again and again, scoring their first goal soon after the game began. As we quickly tired out, we started to lose our already low morale. The first period dragged on until we made it to half time, losing by three goals to zero.

I have played the sport since I was about five years old. And in the last five years, it has become the largest aspect of my life. I am constantly reading about soccer, watching highlights or full matches, and playing it myself. But it isn’t such a big part of me just because it is something I do a lot; my experiences in the game have played a big role in who I am as a person.

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Although I have always loved soccer, it hasn’t always loved me back. Before a few years ago, I was a skilled player but not very effective overall because I did not play physically or with confidence. After my freshman season, I decided to work to change this. During the next high school school season I began on the JV team. I took the opportunity of playing against weaker opponents to adapt to new field position that better suited my strengths. And while I played, I gained confidence in my abilities which allowed me to improve even more.
After this season, it was time for Club tryouts. I had trouble making up my mind, but I chose to leave the team I had been on for five years and join one where I could get more playing time. In my new team, I was one of the strongest players. Taking this responsibility was difficult, but it again helped me grow.

I may have been a stronger player, but I still wasn’t very physically strong. Learning to play with confidence helped me use my body more effectively but I didn’t have much body to use. So I started going to the gym. I slowly learned how to work out and I eventually began to see results. And it began to show on the field. After some time, I focused more on training with the ball again and less gym work. The high school season after all this, I finally showed my potential and was an important part of the team.

During this period of my improvement as a soccer player, I went through a developmental time and grew as a person. The changes to my personality mimicked my changes on the field. When I began playing with more confidence, I also acted with increasing confidence. When I was younger, I was very shy but have become more and more outgoing. And as I increased my strength I became a stronger person, building stronger relationships with others and developing my own values.

My soccer game was a lot like my overall soccer career. After the first half, our team decided to work hard to improve. We got a little lucky; a player on the other team left, and we scored an early goal. But it helped our confidence. We kept attacking, and attacking, until we scored three more times! We ended up winning that game seven to four. Due to our hard work and confidence (and a little bit of luck) we were able to turn around a tough situation.