By Bailey Miller
On November 2, 2022, I heard the last buzzer of my soccer career. After 17 years of playing soccer, this was the most heartbreaking sound. I have always viewed the end of my soccer career as something that was in the distant future. Now that the time has come, it is hard to accept.
It is hard to express how much playing soccer has meant to me and how it feels for it to be over. After talking with my fellow senior teammates, Simone Karustis, Morgan Wineburg, and Rachel Rodriguez, they helped describe how it feels for this big part of our lives to be over.
We reminisced on our favorite moments, and Morgan explained how her favorite memories are “just being with my teammates” and “learning more about myself as a person.”
In many ways, sports shape young athletes into who they are. They reflect your personality off the field, how you overcome adversity, and how you work together with those around you. Soccer has shaped me into the person I am today, and I was fortunate to have gone through this journey with the most incredible teammates by my side.
Soccer has also taught us many lessons along the way. I have learned how to stay composed in stressful situations by reminding myself that soccer is a game, and if I am not having fun it is not worth doing.
Rachel explained that the biggest lesson she has learned is “you cannot control other people’s decisions.” Some things are out of our hands as athletes. We cannot control what calls the officials make, we cannot control our opponent fouling us, and we cannot control how much playing time we get. We can only control how we react. I have always told myself that regardless of what the game brings, I will keep working hard and try to have fun.
Simone described how soccer made her feel “like I belonged somewhere.” It was a part of our daily routine for so long. It almost feels like soccer was who we were. It’s strange to not go to practice or prepare for a game. I almost feel lost, like a big part of me is missing.
Soccer was there for us during our highs and lows. Ever since I was 4 years old, soccer was something I could count on to rejuvenate me. If I was stressed out or feeling down, it was my escape. Leaving it behind is bittersweet, and it is a major chapter that has closed for all the women’s soccer seniors. Looking back years from now, soccer will be nothing but a happy memory.