I have come across many great experiences since playing competitive soccer for Idaho Rush and Osprey. Many of these experiences were shared with friends and coaches that will forever be a vital part of my soccer journey. There were some disappointments, but many successes and joys along the way. Regardless the outcome, each experience had a life lesson for me to learn. Lastly, the many opportunities that Rush offered me to teach my skills to younger players, and disabled players, have allowed those players to leave a lasting impact on me. Overall, Rush gave me the opportunities and skills needed for me to be able to play at the collegiate level. The coaching staff prepared me well for college soccer.
There were so many tournaments, trips, State Cups and other events that were great experiences for me that it’s difficult to list all of them and their lessons. The following are the experiences that I thought were the most important to me:
- State cups served as short-term goals for the team and individuals to achieve. Some State Cups weren’t won, and so therefore we all felt disappointment. Losing taught me to work harder in order to perform my best the next year. Losing a State Cup always served as motivation to win the next year. The concept of working harder to achieve one’s goals is applicable in every aspect of life, and soccer gave me a different view to see how hard work pays off.
- Other tournaments, such as Regional tournaments and the National President’s Cup, opened my eyes on how much I needed to improve in order to compete at the national level or the collegiate level. This can mirror the change experienced going from high school into college. Huge culture shocks like the first semester in college wasn’t as dramatic as expected. I credit this to the many prestigious tournaments that my team and I were able to play in over the years. The experience I felt from jumping between State Cups to a regional tournaments or the National President’s Cup was similar to the culture shock felt in college. A lot more was expected of me in college, both in school and on the pitch, and I think the college recruiting tournaments we attended helped me learn how to perform under pressure. Performing under pressure is a vital skill to have in the classroom and on the pitch in college. I’m thankful that Rush gave me and my team the skills needed to perform under pressure.
- The last opportunity Rush presented to me was to teach young and disabled players through The Outreach Program for Soccer (TOPS). This program showed me that the love for the game of soccer was even in those who may be physically or mentally disabled. I felt blessed to have the ability to help the kids in TOPS to learn and enjoy soccer. They inspire me to overcome any hardships that I may experience in my soccer career.