Shoot for the stars and work hard especially with what you love, you never know who might be watching...Soccer has always been an important part of my life, right now I’m playing for my high school team, and so far it has been great.
It was seventh grade, my team was getting ready to head up north to seattle for another soccer tournament. What I didn't know was that this tournament would be one of my most memorable and important of them all.
I started packing Friday after school my dad and I could head out early and get our hotel room for a good night's sleep before my early game the next morning. It was a typical car ride, we would have these tournaments in Seattle about every other weekend, so it had become a routine; pack, get in the car, listen to music, buy food, get to the hotel, and sleep till the game the next morning. This regular routine has turned into a enjoyable habit which I became very comfortable with.
It was the next morning, my dad and I woke up early to head down to the lobby to meet with the rest of my team to get breakfast. I sat with my teammates eating cereal and a banana while my dad sat with the rest of the parents. After we ate we all headed to our rooms to change and get ready for our first game. We won our first two games that morning which sent us to the semi finals that evening. Winning these games made me feel unstoppable like I could do anything. Before our big semi final game my coach had said she had a surprise for us, I didn't know what she meant by that until we were warming up right before the game. Before I knew it Hope Solo was standing infront us.
Hope is the women’s national team goalie, considered to be one of the best goalies in the world, We were thrilled and our excitement and hunger to win this game became much greater because we had Hope Solo watching us, sitting on our bench and cheering us on. My coach Tina is best friends with Hope, they played college soccer together and professional on the national team together. Seattle is where Hope is from and lives so without us knowing Tina had invited her to the game.
Walking up to the field I was very nervous and fatigued from the nerves. “You have to play the best game of your life, today is all or nothing.” I thought to myself as I walked on the field with my teammates getting ready for the ref to blow his whistle for kick off.
“Erin you ready?” said Bridget, one of my teammates
“Yeah , look for me wide.” I whispered
“This ref is such a Scrooge!” She responded
Before I knew it the whistle was blown we had possession first and the game began. The ball was running down the field from player to player. It was very obvious my teammates and I were nervous but it was also apparent how much we wanted this game. Having Hope sitting on the bench I felt this huge burst of energy and thrive come over me, I wanted to play the game of my life, and I did. We wanted to prove how much we cared, win or lose this game with our hard work. My whole team played the best game we had in awhile. There was an indescribable energy on the field everything just went right and in our favor. We won this game then all bombarded Hope trying to get pictures and her to sign anything and everything. We begged her to come back the next day for the championship game and she agreed to come back.
After the game I was walking up to Hope my legs were made of lead and I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest it was beating so fast. With each step I could only hear the slush of the mud under my cleats and my heart thumping. All the loud cheering parents, rooting for their kids seemed to of disappeared. It felt like a dream, everything was looking blurry.The walk across the field felt so long yet so short. It was a very gloomy day, the clouds were low but everything except the muddy ground was green. Before I knew it I was standing uinfront of Hope, my words were stuck in my weary throat. Eventually I worked up enough courage to ask her to sign my phone case. After that she moved on to the next girl but I stood there in silence for a few moment just staring at my case realizing this wasn't a dream and that Hope solo had actually just signed something of mine.
All night it rained in Seattle after our game, pretty typical for the pacific Northwest, the next morning it was still raining so the fields were trashed with mud. We hated playing on fields like this but we were used to it, in Washington it was always raining so we played in mud pits more often than nicely cut fields. Warming up that early sunday morning we were hype to play the best we could again for Hope. We ignored our dead and sore legs, we ignored how much we wanted to be inside asleep instead of outside on this cold rainy day. We wanted to do our best and win this whole thing for Hope. It was a close game, by halftime it was one to one.
Hope gave us our halftime speech telling us not to give up, to work together, and to just take it. We used her motivation to change and step up the way we were playing, this game had become a lot more important after her speech. That's what we did we scored two more goals and didn't let them past us again. We won, took it all with the presence of we think is one of the best soccer players in the world. After we received our meaningful medals we took more pictures with Hope and got her to sign all of our medals. Getting something signed by Hope was like winning a grammy in our eyes.
I still have this medal hanging in my room, it brings back great memories. This was the last tournament I played with this team I had grown up with. Meeting Hope gave me this new perspective of soccer it used to be just a time for me to hang out with friends but the way Hope had talked to us at half time that day, I now felt a new love for this game. I started to work harder and perfect more skills because of the new way I started to look at the game. Later that year I moved to Michigan. My team had worked incredibly hard over the years to get to the place we were at. Through this hard work it lead us to meet one of our biggest idols. I say again, when you love something, work incredibly hard, because you never know where that hard work might bring you.