soccer season ended a few weeks ago and i already miss it so much. i have too much energy because i don’t have practice everyday after school anymore. anyway, all my friends and family are sick of me talking about soccer all the time, so i thought i’d get it all out of my system by discussing the entire season here.
first off, here are the basics: i played on JV for most of the season, my jersey was #1, and i played midfield and striker.
this was my first time playing for a serious team. in the past, i’d always played on rec leagues with my best friend. we practiced once a week and had a game every saturday. this season was a huge change for me, because my school’s sports teams practice everyday and have two or three games a week. it was exhausting, but i loved every minute of it.
soccer has always been a big part of my life. i started playing when i was six years old, on a team with my brother. my parents were the coaches. i played two seasons a year. eventually, my brother quit soccer for karate, and i joined a different league with my best friend. i was invited to play for their travel team, which i was so excited about, but my family couldn’t afford it. all of that led up to this season. :)
| my progress |
i’ve been playing soccer for years, and my favorite position is midfield. i wasn’t the one who made the goals, i was the one who made assists. but this year, i found myself playing striker, too (and stopper, at one point). i was hesitant about it at first, but then i scored the first goal of the season for either girls team, and after that i absolutely loved it. so i played striker for a few games, had some really good shots on goal, and then my coach switched me back to center mid, where i stayed for the rest of the season. i guess our defense was struggling, and she thought i could help them out.
my speed improved so much! my mom has always told me that i’m one of the fastest players on the field, but she’s my mom, so i tend to not believe her about things like that. but then some of the varsity players were talking about how fast and aggressive i am, which just made me feel so proud of myself for how hard i’d worked during practice. my team did this fitness test called the yo-yo a lot, which is like the pacer but so much worse. i always tried so hard when we ran the yo-yo, even though i hated it, and my speed and endurance definitely improved because of it.
also, i gained around seven pounds of muscle! i’ve been underweight my whole life, but now i feel like i look less sickly. most of the muscle gain was in my legs, obviously, so now most of my shorts don’t fit because they’re too tight around the thighs. my calves and abs are also more defined now. and i know a lot of people consider weight gain to be a bad thing, but i’m actually really happy about this. i worked hard all season and i’m glad that there’s physical proof of it.
| injuries |
about halfway through the season, i injured both of my legs. the insides of my thighs hurt so much, even when i was just sitting still. i eventually went to the school’s athletic trainer, who told me i had pulled both of them. i had to sit out a few practices, but i was so eager to play that i got back on the field before i was healed. my legs kept hurting for a good five weeks, which was probably because i refused to rest. but i’m finally feeling better, so i guess it all worked out.
then right at the end of the season, i got a more serious injury. during a varsity game against our rival school, i got knocked over twice and hit the back of my head on the ground both times. the other players got fouled, the varsity coach didn’t pull me out of the game, and we kept going. i didn’t have a headache or anything, and i wasn’t dizzy, so i assumed i was fine. then at one point, my coach started yelling at me from the sidelines, but i couldn’t understand what he was saying. i mean, i knew he was speaking to me, but i couldn’t figure out the words. that kept happening for the rest of the game, whenever my teammates were giving me instructions. i guess that’s when i realized something was wrong.
i went to see the athletic trainer the next day, and she gave me the concussion test . . . which i did not pass. (one part of it was counting backwards from one hundred by sevens, so there wasn’t really any hope of me passing). i had to sit out about a week’s worth of practices and games, which was unbelievably frustrating.
the worst part was that the varsity coach had recently started letting me play with his team. i’d been practicing with varsity, and getting a good fifty minutes of play time during games. i had worked so, so hard all season to get pulled up, so getting injured when i did felt like everything i’d worked for had been ripped away from me.
the athletic trainer cleared me just in time for JV’s last game. i was so happy to be back with my team and to be able to finish out the season with everyone.
i wasn’t the only player to get injured this year, either. three other JV girls got concussions, one JV player quit after spraining her ankle, and five varsity players were out for most of the season for various injuries.
| varsity |
near the end of the season, so many of the varsity girls were injured that their team didn’t have any subs at all. if they couldn’t find subs, they were going to start forfeiting games, so their coach started pulling girls from JV. the first time he did that, he was deciding between me and one of our captains. both teams thought it was going to be me, which just made it more disappointing when he picked the other girl. but i must say that i played really well during the JV game that night, and the varsity coach must have noticed, because he pulled me up for the next game and started having me practice with varsity, too.
i only ended up playing three games with varsity, but i know i would have had more if i hadn’t gotten a concussion.
| playoffs |
i got pulled up to varsity again for playoffs. that was absolutely the most intense game i had ever seen. we were tied 3-3 at the end of the game, so we played ten minutes of overtime, then ten more minutes of sudden death. no one had scored after those extra twenty minutes, so we went to penalty kicks. the whole team lined up on the field, holding hands as our designated kickers took the five penalty kicks. in the end, the other team scored one more time then we did, so they won the whole thing. we were all crying and hugging and it was so emotional because that was the seniors’ very last game, and the varsity coach’s, too.
| team events |
i think JV was more interested in having fun than playing a good game, so we organized a bunch of events throughout the season. there was a secret santa-type thing, a team dinner, a fun practice where we just played games the whole time, and a picnic at a park, among other things.
i didn’t participate in the events at the beginning of the season because i didn’t feel like i belonged the there. i was at a new school this year, so i wasn’t friends with anybody. i had played soccer with a few of the girls when i was in elementary school, and i have classes with a few of them, but that was the extent of our interaction.
i remember one of my marching band friends coming to pre-season conditioning once, as well as tryouts, but the coaches told her she couldn’t play because they didn’t have her physical. now, i know this is a lie because we had to turn in physicals for band all the way back in autumn. so i don’t really understand what happened.
anyway, not having her there made me uncomfortable and i guess i pulled back into my shell. i didn’t talk much during practice or bus rides until about halfway through the season, when i started making friends with my teammates. we were sitting in the stands during an away game, watching varsity play, and three girls invited me to sit with them. it was early spring and absolutely freezing, so they offered to share their blanket with me. we talked while the game went on and hit it off, which made me feel so much more welcome on the team. i wonder if they realized that their kindness at that one game made the entire season a much better experience for me. it really is the small things.
i did end up getting into some drama with one of my teammates, which made our friendship a little weird for a week or two. basically, her girlfriend at the time was absolutely insane and extremely jealous. she found out that my friend had helped me with homework during our pre-practice study hall and kind of lost her mind. she would say petty things to me in class and also posted things about me on social media. she painted the situation to make it look like i had asked her girlfriend for homework help multiple times just to spend more time with her, even though i didn’t need the assistance at all because i got good grades in that class. in reality, my friend had offered to help on one occasion, and a few of my other teammates were helping, too.
another time she went to one of our games and saw my friend and i warming up together. apparently she went off on her girlfriend later about how she didn’t want her to warm up with me anymore.
she keeps telling people that i’m trying to steal her girl. the whole thing is so unnecessarily rude and petty. we were just being friends and she tried so hard to make me look like a homewrecker. it’s a good thing she never found out about us holding hands during the penalty kicks at playoffs, or else i think she would have actually tried to beat me up.
| next season |
so i am a little bit worried about next season. the varsity coach is stepping down, which makes me wonder if i’ll actually get varsity next year like i think i should. that probably sounds stuck-up, but i figured getting pulled up this year would mean actually being on varsity next time. a few of the varsity girls told me that they loved watching me play during JV games, and didn’t understand why i hadn’t been put on varsity in the first place.
but if varsity is getting a new coach, they might not let me play on their team because they won’t know that i did a good job this season. maybe it’s dumb to worry about this now, since there’s a whole year before next season, but still.
i’m so excited to keep playing soccer for my school and hopefully in college. i am not used to being exceptional at something that i love.
do you play spring sports? how did your season go?