Chapter 62: LOVE WHAT YOU DO – ROOKIE: Surviving Your Freshman Year of College Soccer
College soccer will be one of the most fantastic and memorable experiences of your life… if you let it. But as I said in the very beginning, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
You’ve read this book for advice on surviving your rookie season. Now, here is the most important advice of all: Don’t just dabble in soccer. Don’t just dip your toes in the water. Dive in head-first and give yourself entirely over to the experience! Commit your entire being to the sport and to the team and soak up all that college soccer has to offer.
Love being a college soccer player. Love all of it! Love the games and the road trips and the hours stuck on busses and vans and the fancy team meals and the awful box lunches. Love the days when you train in the blistering sun and in the pouring rain. Love the shiny uniforms and the smelly locker rooms and the balls of newspaper you stuff inside your wet shoes. Love playing in the empty parks and the full stadiums. Love the pain of preseason and the nights packed in ice and the pride of finishing that one last repetition that you thought would kill you. Love the aching, burning, screaming in your legs on a fitness day. Love the heartbreak of a last minute loss and the joy of a win in overtime. Love your teammates and their selflessness and courage and their habits that annoy you and their music that you can’t stand. Love the fans that support you and the coaches that drive you. Don’t just exist at soccer; love it!
Give your very best to college soccer and it will repay you a hundred times over. You’ve got this one last chance to be a part of a team that will forever remain truly special to you. You’ve got four years to be your very best soccer self. Don’t spend three of those years giving something less than your best and then scrambling to make amends during your senior year. You’ll never regret what you gave to soccer; you’ll only regret what you didn’t give.
As a college soccer player you’ll play roughly 80-90 games. That’s all. That’s all the meaningful soccer you have left. When your career finishes, make sure that you aren’t left regretting a single one of those games. Make sure that you are left with a clear conscience about the effort you gave and the teammate you were each and every day.
Congratulations! Your fantastic adventure is about to begin. You may be just a rookie, but your time is now. Show the world that you are up to this challenge. This is your time to show everyone exactly what you’re made of. In other words, Rookie… Get some!
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