I still remember coming into preseason my freshman year, with absolutely no understanding of what the next four years would be like as a collegiate soccer player. The next day began two weeks of what would prove to be the most exhausting period of my life. With 6am conditioning, 11am and 4pm practices my schedule was sleep, practice, eat, repeat - but I loved every minute of it. Now looking back on these memories with my last fall camp behind me, and just two months left in my final season as a competitive soccer player, I can truly say I am happy with the way things turned out.
Some of my best friends have come from soccer. Just this past weekend I spent all of Saturday night in Omaha celebrating one of my teammates getting married. Seeing some of the alumni I played with several years ago reminded me how close we all had gotten in such a short time and how different my life would be had I never gotten to know them. Nearly every single one of my best friends from back home comes from soccer. Everytime I’m back in Las Vegas, I message the old soccer group chats to see who’s in town. From childhood soccer to college soccer, I know without a doubt that those bonds created on the field will last a lifetime.
Having played for almost 18 years now, it is difficult to wrap my head around it coming to an end. I’ve played soccer year-round ever since I was four, and, at the end of this season, I will hang up my cleats for good. Sure, I may play in some recreational leagues here and there, but nothing will ever compare to that feeling of suiting up in the locker room and stepping out onto a freshly mowed lawn under stadium lights. The competitive edge will never be replaced or forgotten, and I know that there will be a huge hole to fill in my life. But for now, I’ll just lace my cleats up and enjoy every game and practice with my soccer family one day at a time.