Hanging Up the Cleats

By , wyckoff, NJ

Five long years. Two tournament championships. Hundreds of games and practices. These all represent one thing. Soccer. Since 3rd grade I had been playing soccer. For years I had been on the town’s rec soccer team and that fulfilled me. However, in third grade I felt that I not only needed, but wanted to play travel soccer.  Rec soccer was no longer the challenge that it had once been and I wanted to be in a more competitive league. That’s when I decided to to play Torpedoes, a travel team in Bergen County. I can remember the first day of tryouts, how my  heart was racing and I was so nervous , since only a certain amount of players made the cut.  Everyone had a number attached to their  shirt so the coaches would know who each player was.  Throughout the tryouts, I would look to see if they wrote something down on their clipboards after I made an impressive play. As each of the 3 days of tryouts progressed,  I started to relax and calm down.  I thought to myself “ do what you do best”,  and for me that was playing soccer. A few days later my mom received an email with all the player’s names who had made the A team and the B team. I was so nervous to find out not only if I had  made Torpedoes, but was I going to be on the same team as all my friends. I was incredibly excited when my mom told me that not only did I make it but I was on the A team (the more advanced team)  with all of my friends and I was thrilled.


A few weeks later we had our first practice and I met my coach, Mr. Faustini. Coach Faustini was a great coach, teaching me the fundamentals of soccer. Every week he would work with us to try to make us as a better team. A lot of my soccer skills today were taught to me by Coach Faustini. His son Rocco was the goalie for the team. In my first year playing Torpedoes I played middie (mostly offense) until about 4th grade. During an away game, Rocco got hurt and I volunteered to step up and play goalie, even though I had never played before. The team needed me and I decided to give it a shot. It turned out I was pretty good,  allowing only one goal. The next game I came prepared to play middie, since I thought that our goalie would be ready to play. It turned out he got injured pretty badly and I needed to play goalie. For the rest of that year  and the following year I played goalie. In 6th grade I was given the choice to continue to play goalie or go back to middie. Even though I liked playing goalie, the only reason I had played it for that long was to help the team out.  Now that I was given the choice, I went back to middie. I chose middie since I was able  to score goals and get the ball more often (as compared to goalie were you only get it when the opposing team shoots). Every year that I played Torpedoes I continued to make the A team and I was having a blast playing soccer with my friends. The idea of not playing soccer never came to my mind until the end of 6th grade, middle school.

 

It was about a month until I needed to sign the form to participate in the  Torpedoes tryouts,  that the thought of  not playing crossed my mind.  I started to think that something had to give.  With me already playing two other very time consuming sports (hockey and lacrosse) it seemed like soccer would be too much for my schedule. I had hockey twice a week and games on the weekend and  lacrosse was a very similar schedule. For the next week or so I thought long and hard about what was best for me and my grades at school.  Soccer had been such a big part of my life for so long, that the thought of giving it up was hard to imagine.  In addition, all of my friends were still playing and I would miss being with them.  I had to think long and hard what would be best for be.  I finally came to a decision and that was to stop playing soccer.


This decision wasn’t an easy one to make, but I knew  it would be too much for me with school, lacrosse, and hockey. Ultimately something had to change.  After five long years of games and practices I decided to hang up the cleats. The next year without soccer wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be, which showed me that I made the right decision.  My friends still remained my friends, even without soccer. I still continue to play soccer at camp and enjoy kicking the ball around,  even though I don’t play travel. That one decision was very tough to make because soccer was such an important part of my life when I was young,  however when I look back on it I have no regrets what so ever.  Life is full of hard choices, but hopefully in the end, you make the right ones. In this case, I did.






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