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Who Would Have Guessed

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When I was in the seventh grade, I decided it was time for a change and I left my old club soccer team to join a new one. This team promised to make me a better player, which was an attractive offer of course. I had always dreamed of playing soccer in high school so joining this new team seemed like a great idea. However, I never would have guessed that my decision to join the new team would not only make me a much better soccer player, but a better person in general as well.

I instantly clicked with the girls on the team. I played with that team for a full year and a half. Everyone on the team – including our coaches – became a family. I became especially close with three girls on the team and continued to hang out with them even after our year of playing soccer together. They were my best friends for a long time and the four of us did everything together. We all went to different schools, but on the weekends we were inseparable.

Aside from those three girls, there was another girl on my team that impacted my life pretty significantly. Her name was Jocelyn and she was the most high energy person I had ever met at the time. My first day of practice, she ran up to me and introduced herself right away, which was a relief because I knew no one. Throughout our season, she kept a positive attitude on the field and pushed my teammates and me to play our best in every single game, be humble winners, and keep our heads up when we lost. Even at practice, Jocelyn tried to bring everyone back together when teammates argued with each other or disagreed with the coaches. There is no doubt in my mind that our amazing team chemistry was thanks to her.

Her life wasn’t perfect – her parents were divorced, her mom was addicted to substances, and her dad had a rough time raising her and her brothers. One never would have guessed that, though. I have admired Jocelyn ever since I met her. It is hard to capture her awesome personality in a few words, but her commitment to being a happy person made everyone around her happy. The way she managed to smile and pick the team up when we had all given up was amazing. I learned a lot about life in the short two years I knew her. Unfortunately, she passed away the fall after the team split up, but the things she taught me will never be forgotten. Not only was she an incredible soccer player, but she was an incredible, selfless person who constantly reminded me to be the best I can be and to keep trying until I reached my goals. Even though she isn’t here to physically remind me anymore, she’s always in the back of my mind pushing me to become a better person.





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