This break has been inspiring in so many ways for me, have done a lot of reflection about my future and what I want to do with my life after La Paz and my soccer career. The truth is that I am starting my last year, I am a senior now. Just thinking about it and saying it out loud is unbelievable to me. I seem like yesterday when I started kindergarten. I can still remember little me sitting in the corner of the class not being able to understand or speak any English. It is very hard to put in words all I feel when I think about having to move on and enter the real world. It freaks me out a little but at the same time, I feel like I have been preparing my entire life for it. Ever since I can remember I have always loved soccer, soccer has been a refuge and home for me.I come from a very traditional family, one that overlooked girls playing soccer because they thought it wasn’t socially acceptable. I remember wanting to play so badly and not being able to, I remember crying over it. At the age of 6, I started to play soccer but my dad’s family didn’t know about it. My mom agreed to keep it a secret and to let me try it. So I grew up and continued playing, would practice with the boys at the time because there wasn’t any girls soccer team. I had to play harder and I had to run more. It was all worth it though, I became stronger, faster and smarter when playing. It was around June in 2010, I was 11 years old and it was La Paz anual ‘world cup’ where the entire school was divided into different teams and we all had to play against each other as they do in the World cup. I was so excited about this and had trained so hard for it. That effort paid off as my team won the ‘world cup’ and I had scored in the final. At this moment I realized that soccer was my future, that that’s what I wanted to do the rest of my life. So I kept playing, I grew up and my family grew up with me as well. My grandma and the rest of my family understood how important soccer was for me and how much I loved it. So I kept playing with the boys’ team but I was even harder now because I was playing with the highschool boys. It was only me and two other girls in the team, but we had such a great time together. I learned so much from playing with the boys and as time went by I started to gain their respect. Then one day one of my best friends in the team comited suicide and this made me so depressed. I decided to leave soccer for a while and dedicate my free time to drawing of writing. But there was always a missing puzzle piece to my life and it was soccer. See soccer isn’t just a sport for us teenagers. Soccer to me meant everything, teenage years are awfully confusing and tough to handle. You start to experience new things and often take the wrong roads and choices. Soccer was my best friend in the hardest of times, when my parents got a divorce, I would spend my afternoons kicking a ball, when my grandmother died she gave me a new soccer ball and said these words ‘’Your future is in your hands, it’s up to you to leave it or chase it, and no matter what you do always be that rainbow for everyone you encounter’’ I cherished those words in my heart and still say them whenever I want to quit. When I was bullied I’d play soccer and it would make me feel better when I was peer pressured in highschool I choose soccer instead of a life full of destruction. So soccer has always had my back and although I haven’t had an easy life I have found happiness in it… One day, they told us we were having a new coach and that girls would be training apart from the boys. I was kind of sad because I had already become close with the boys but at the same time, I was excited to play only with girls. So Danielle Holldander came into my life and she truly believed in me. I remember that ever since she saw me play she told me I was special, she would invite me to play against other teams and meet soccer players from all around the country and not just focus on La Paz soccer team. Danielle is the Cantonales and regionals soccer instructor, she had offered me to play with Cantonles for a couple of years now. The problem with that was that my mom didn’t want me to play in professional soccer teams because she didn’t want that to be my future. My mom was very afraid of what an opportunity like that could mean. So I got held back for two years and only played in the school’s girls team. Then finally at the age of 16, my mom accepted to let me play in regionals sub 15 after Danielle begged her to let me. So out of 30 different girls who came to practice two times a week in Santa Cruz only 14 of us were selected to go to Liberia and participate in the national regionals sub 15 selection. There were more than 20 different teams from all around Costa Rica and I was lucky enough to play in one of the best. The coaches were very happy with my development and so they invited me to Cantonales that same year. So three times a week I would travel to Santa Cruz to train for 3 hours. This new routine was challenging for me especially because of school and so I had to learn to have a balance and do all of it at once. When I did, I was the happiest person ever, I was doing what I loved the most and doing well at school as well. Then one day, I was older and couldn’t participate in cantonales anymore. It was depressing because I loved the team so much and they had already become my family. But nothing lasts forever so I had to leave the team. I continued playing for La Paz and we had a beautiful team, they were also my family and I loved playing with them. We played a tournament and won some of the games, we also played a small tournament in Liberia and won it. Sadly after that last tournament girls started to lose motivation to continue playing soccer and so did I. I lost the motivation to continue in the team because 1 No girls wanted to play, 2 because I had too much work since I started IB, and 3 my mom didn’t believe that soccer could signify my future, she didn’t believe I could make it. So I started to believe I wasn’t good enough, I started to lose interest and forgot about that dream. It wasn’t until coaches Francis and Paola that my dream of making it far in my soccer career was awakened once again. Coach Francis talked to me about the tournament Costa Liga de Oro that was coming up. She asked me to motivate girls to join the team and so I did. I did it because one of the most important parts of my life was missing, and I wanted it back. So in a week, we had already 11 girls to play and we decided to join forces with Educarte as well. In 2 weeks we were already a family and I was given the title of captain of the team. I was so happy to be the leader of such an incredible team and I am always going to be their number one fan. Francis and Paola became so important to me in such a short time, and they believe in me in a way that my family never did. With their love and support, we made it to the finals in the tournament and lost in penalties.
During the break, coach Pao and coach Francis planned a soccer camp in San José. The soccer team traveled to San Jose to train, play against other high schools, meet famous soccer players, meet the national women’s soccer assessors and tour the national stadium. The goal for this trip was to make us even closer than we were and to motivate us to dream big and beyond Guanacaste. We trained for 3 hours straight and won all the games and I still can’t believe it. When we meet Caro venegas and Karla Alemán two of my role models I remembered why I loved soccer so much and why I do it. They motivated me to keep playing and even asked coach Paola for videos of us. In the end, this trip changed my life completely and reminded me of my purpose. We also got our new uniforms which we worked hard to get by making bake sales and because of the effort of our 2 wonderful coachers. Coach Pao said that everyone we met on this trip was fascinated with us and wowed by the love, unity, and family that we are. She said we touched hearts and that that is the beginning to our bright future. Now, I have set a new goal for myself as the captain, I want to go around our La Paz community and ask members of our community with business to sponsor us girls. I think that if I show the community how important soccer can be in the life of a teenager, then we will receive the support we need to continue accomplishing our goals. We have so many plans for the team and we won’t be able to make them happen without a sponsor so as for now that is what my purpose is.
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