It’s been a while since I last wrote a post. You’ll be glad to hear it’s not because I’ve given up, I’ve been training and progressing as well as I have ever been.
I just want to make sure I’m writing something that’s valuable to anyone who’s reading this, aswell as to myself. The last two months have been good and the highlight was what happened the other Friday.
I suffered a minor tear to my hamstring in a match in early May when we played a match and ended up with 9 players on the field minus 1 player (me who was limping the whole 2nd half) and still managed to draw 0-0. This injury forced me to be out of proper training for a week and only do some light running and stuff. So Friday came around and on that day we all gathered at our football club and took a bus to the final venue with the team, supporters and coaches. The sun was shining, the pitch was well-kept and there was a good crowd that turned up. So I began on the bench and was itching to come on ever since the whistle for half time blew. Two subs got on before me and not for the first time this season, I was pissed off. I continued warming up on the sideline and kept glancing over to the coach. Full-time was approaching and it was still 0-0. Then I did something I hadn’t done before. I said to the coach “Hey, I got so much energy. Put me on!” I knew I could make a difference to this game. But he just kind of laughed. So with 20 minutes to go of extra time, I finally got on the field.
Within two minutes, I got my first touch of the game. The ball came spiraling to my head a few yards from goal and I glanced it into the net without thinking twice. I ran to the crowd and was buried under my teammates all celebrating with me. It was such a exhilarating moment and it’s one I look back on with much happiness. The second half of extra time began and almost as soon as I had finished celebrating one of the happiest moments of my short career, the other team scored.
But the next 10 minutes of the game was pretty remarkable. Almost every time I got the ball, I created a chance. I even dribbled past three players into the box at one stage to create a chance, something I don’t do often. I dribbled more and sped past defenders. I created a wonderful chance right in front of goal, but my teammate somehow managed to hit my pass to the post and the ball just didn’t want to go over the line over a crowd of players. It ended 1-1 and off we went to penalties. I was the second kick taker. The last time I took a penalty was also in a final, three years ago with my school team. I missed that one which was devastating. But, today I kept my cool and the keeper went the wrong way. I scored.
We ended up winning 7-6 and we became champions of the West of the Netherlands. I got an endless stream of congratulations and man of the match. Haha.
Of course that night was just one of many days in the past few months. I’ve been busy with alot of things, namely getting Effective Football Training all set-up and underway for launch this Summer.
However, one thing I haven’t been busy with is finding a new football club. This is something that I’ve procrastinated on for too long.
There have been mornings where I woke up with a feeling of like..”what am I going to do?” After a chat with my mentor, the plan I had in my head of getting into a second division team in Hungary went out the window, as new TV rights indicate that if foreigners sign with clubs, they don’t receive TV money; a huge part of their income.
If this idea of playing in Hungary goes out the door, what do I do? Where is there going to be an opportunity? On top of that, the thought that I’ll be 21 in 2-months time crosses my mind. I’m not getting any younger. Also the thought that for the 4th summer in a row, I can’t even plan my 21st birthday because just MAYBE there will be an opportunity somewhere. All this uncertainty is slowly reaching a breaking point. Is it really worth it? Is it worth having such a complicated, incredibly busy life?
At this point, it feels easy to close this chapter of my life, shut down this blog and close it with a message saying that:
“Well guys, the last five years have been absolutely crazy. I’ve experienced what it’s like to grow yourself from nothing to something. I’ve experienced what life is like at the top level. I got offered scholarships by colleges all over the USA. I’ve had the experience of training with some of the top clubs all over Europe. I trained with the national team. I’ve played alongside guys who played at some of the worlds best clubs. I’ve been paid to play and to know that only some years earlier I was only playing in the Woden Valley U13’s, division two of my age group, in my small town of Canberra, Australia where I was expected to become absolutely nothing out of this game. Most importantly I’ve learnt a extraordinary amount about myself, about life and the barriers I’ll go through to achieve success. See ya!”
There. It actually feels good to write this and be tremendously proud of everything I’ve accomplished. The amount I’ve progressed is unbelievable and I could still be happy if I stopped right now. But if I did stop, what’s next?
And when you start thinking about it… well, that’s the moment when you know you’re truly passionate about something. Because I can’t imagine my life without football. I appreciate it too much and can’t let go of it. It’s love. Sure, I could play for fun, but it wouldn’t have the same meaning. You wouldn’t be surrounded by the same players with the same hunger, passion and energy as you do. That’s not something I want to give up.
Sure football and any sport or discipline at the top levels has it’s ups and downs and quite frankly takes you on an emotional rollercoaster that doesn’t stop. Most people will avoid situations where there’s pressure and alot of competition. But more and more I grow with the attitude of enjoying the journey and as long as I appreciate all that football brings to my life and to the world, I’m in the right place with my mind and my heart. So my advice to anyone who’s at an age where they’re thinking about whether it’s worth it to keep striving for more, take a step back and look at your life in perspective. Look at what football brings to it. What I enjoy equal to playing, is growing and learning about the game. If you can set goals for yourself and dedicate football as a fun, growing and learning experience, you’ll find happiness. If you don’t find happiness, then maybe your heart is supposed to be somewhere else and that’s fine. The worst thing is taking life so seriously. ENJOY THE JOURNEY! Because in the end, the journey defines you.
The European season is ending now. Our team has played our last competitive match and the last training will be on the 5th of June. I will then have exams until the 18th, (provided I don’t have to re-sit anything).
The options of what I can do with my holidays is endless. I could go to Budapest, train with my mentor and hang around for a possible opportunity, and/or I could go back to Australia and see my newborn niece, and/or I could have a break and go travelling or just stay in Amsterdam.
The absolute thing I hate and every player hates is waiting. I really don’t want to spend these summer holidays waking up every morning waiting and watching my phone and email for interest somewhere.
All these things I have to consider before making a plan.