In many ways, the soccer ball has been an extension of my body since I was four years old. I was always a very active kid – running, jumping, and getting dirty. But I got my first taste of soccer when my older brother, Chris, started playing.
Soccer felt different than other sports. It provided me with the physical activity I enjoyed so much, and it allowed me to socialize and interact with my best friends all at the same time. I loved it. Plus, it helped that I was good at it.
At the age of seven, after just a few years of recreational play, I found myself playing and training daily. My dad realized my talent early on and pushed me constantly to improve my game. This was his way of trying to contribute to my success, but the pressure shifted the game from a source of fun to something that felt like a job.
After five years of countless training hours, seasons on all boys teams (two age groups older than me) and what felt like endless weekends of travel, I hit a wall. I realized I was no longer playing for me; I was playing to make my dad happy. I was only in seventh grade, and I was ready to detach myself from the game.
It was time for a “career change.” I was headed to Hollywood. I had the vision…”Lori Lindsey, The Next Julia Roberts,” lit up on a billboard above Hollywood Boulevard.
Goodbye soccer practice, hello acting classes.
Unfortunately, after six months of classes and a really poor display of Miep Gies in The Diary Of Anne Frank, I realized how much I missed the sense of accomplishment I got from my first love. I was ready to return to the game.
Goodbye acting classes, hello soccer practice.
As much as I look back and laugh at this vision and dream that I had, I’m happy I took a chance to explore another avenue. Luckily, I realized that soccer was my calling.
This was a big turning point for me in 8th grade. At this point, now that soccer felt like my own decision, I really started to take ownership of my journey.
I had always had the dream of playing in a World Cup and the Olympics, but it wasn’t until I returned to the game that I was able to devote my entire focus to these goals.
I was no longer waiting for my dad to push me. I started taking responsibility. I started training because I wanted to. This was about me. My goals. Not what my dad, or anyone else wanted.
Have you ever tried a different avenue only to realize the path you were on was the right one? When was the time you started to do something for yourself and not for someone else?
Until next time.