Here’s the thing about my life until now: I’ve been certain about a lot.
I’ve known since I was 9 that all I ever wanted to do, or be, is a professional soccer player.
I’ve been clear that my top priority in life since then has been becoming the absolute best I can be.
My love for the game has never wavered (except for my 12th birthday soccer party, after which I cried and decided none of this was worth it, because my friends Matt and Bernard were so much better than me).
All my decisions have been dictated by my consuming desire to become an expert in my field. And that has endured.
Do I still train today even if it’s snowing? Of course.
Do I continue to pursue my dream even though a coach may think I’m not good enough? No question.
Do I distract myself with anything that doesn’t lend itself towards me achieving my goals? Zero chance.
My life’s work has been my road map. And my unwavering mission has been my guidepost.
But for the first time, now my path is less certain. As you may have read, I won’t be joining Reign FC to start the 2019 NWSL season.
Even though I’ve known for the past few months that it was very unlikely I’d be able to be ready for NWSL preseason, the announcement made it official. And all of a sudden I was afflicted with the circumstance of being a ‘normal person’, with decisions not dictated by my playing career.
I don’t have to neurotically fit my foam roller into my suitcase every time I travel.
Forgetting to do my daily ankle exercises is (slightly more) forgivable … no joke, I just stopped typing this sentence mid-way through to do them.
If I have a lot of work to do and don’t schedule my regular pickup games, it’s okay.
Even more potentially terrifying than this new 'normal person affliction' is the uncertainty that’s now crept into my life. It’s different than the questions of “will I make this roster?” or “what team will I play for next?” This uncertainty reaches deep into my heart and soul.
Who am I if I’m not a professional soccer player?
What should I do in terms of my training? Or should I even be training at all?
Do I actually want to lift weights today, or do I just think I should?
What gives me joy, and what have I convinced myself brings me joy because it's what I need to do to improve?
There are also much simpler questions that flow through my head on a regular basis, compounding the deeper uncertainty of this new life phase.
When will I reach 100% health? Unclear.
Will I play in the NWSL again? I’m not sure.
Will the one game I was able to play last season be my final professional match? I don’t know.
It’s strange to be this kind of uncertain, since I’ve purposely lived my life in a way in which I’ve felt extremely certain.
But here are some things I AM certain about:
I plan to be heavily involved with shaping the future of the NWSL Players Association.
I am a fierce advocate for the quality of women’s soccer and the players involved.
I love this game.
I love the process of becoming an expert in my field.
I’m still training.
I want to support the next generation of players in their training.
I feel inspired by how this sport elicits potential in so many ways.
I can’t completely predict my future, but I do know one thing for sure:
I’m not done.