I’d like to tell you from the very beginning soccer was exactly what I wanted to do. I’d like to tell you that the second four-year-old me stepped onto the pitch, armed with nothing but an oversized Rec jersey that fit more like a dress and my sister’s old cleats, that I knew in my bones that’s where I belonged. I’d like to tell you that. But that’s nowhere close to the truth.
The truth is, four-year-old Kennedy absolutely would not step foot onto the field without my older sister holding my hand. This only lasted a few games until my dad was able to make it to a game.
He saw me and my sister out there and he decided it just would not fly. He pulled us over to the side, told my sister to sit down, (cue the waterworks from four-year-old me), he looked at me and he said “Kennedy, you see that ball? You’re gonna get it and you’re gonna go kick it into that net over there”. With a pat on the butt and a little push I was off, and somehow I managed to tap that ball into the net. After that it was history.
And thus began my now, 16-year long soccer journey. I started playing Edge as soon as I was old enough. I was incredibly lucky to have a tight-knit team and a coach that put so much time and dedication into little eight-year-olds. He coached us into high school. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be the soccer player I am today without him or the whole hoard of other parents that gave up weeknights with their families to hang out with our rambunctious group.
Soccer has given me nothing but opportunities. Opportunity to grow as a person, as a teammate, and as a player. I’ve learned countless life lessons and grown in more ways than I can count. It has given me the opportunity to travel, to see places, and meet lifelong friends. It has given me the opportunity to pay for school by playing the sport I love. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard. It’s a grind that is harder than anything I’ve ever done. But the people and the resources I have because of it are priceless.
I’m thankful for the soccer community Gillette has provided me and know that I am where I am today because of them.