Sunday, February 10, 2013

Unemployment: An Unusual Perspective

Life is all about living in the present and enjoying every moment isn't it?  Rather than seeking the future, everyone should be looking at the big picture, right?

 I would say in most cases that is very true.  Yet, in my case this is far from the truth.

Here I go rambling about my frustrations of the direction my retirement from soccer is taking me.  Don't get me wrong, I love my LIFE. I honestly could not be happier that I will be marrying the man of my dreams this year and always have love and support from my amazing family and friends.

There is a small hole that is missing though and that is a job/career.

As a little girl, I was always around sports.  Seeing people become so successful at their sport and it taking them so far in life set off the wrong impression.  I assumed that was the direction my life was always going to go.  It's very safe to say that is where I fell short, I will never regret my decision to pursue soccer as a lifelong ambition; but it is something I will forever learn from.

Making the decision that soccer was all I wanted to do made me focus less on school. I just breezed throughout college academics, studying very little and procrastinating homework until the last minute.  Therefore I didn't get the GPA that reflects the person I am or what I am capable of.

I always had dreams of playing soccer as long as I could and getting it to open other opportunities in the soccer world.  I didn’t care if it was playing or even coaching, I wanted to be around soccer. My knees, body, and other personal reasons made me decide it was time to let soccer go as a professional athlete.  I will stay involved with soccer forever but I am not sure in what kind of shape or form.  I should have realized a long time ago that when it comes to sports I should have looked at the bigger picture and gave it 100% in academics.  You never know what injuries you may overcome or what other life threatening issues may get in the way.  

This brings me to my next dilemma. I had a coaching job, but we were told by my fiancé, Adam's company that we would be out by the new year.  So, I told the head coach that it was just going to be a one season gig.  It was back in late October that we were told we would be here Laredo, Texas until May. I have been looking all over for jobs here in from positions in retail at the mall, serving/hostess at different restaurants, that hire people with a Bachelors in psychology, to paraprofessional or even a teaching aide in a school.  I have FOUND absolutely NOTHING.  I've sent out about 50-60 applications and have not gotten any leads.  The most frustrating thing is I see the same jobs getting reposted every week, even after I sent in my applications.

I can only think of three reasons why I am not getting hired: 1.) I'm Deaf so it leads them to assume the worst about my communicating ability, even though I can speak and read lips. 2.) You need to know Spanish; first of all, this is an issue because we are in the United States of America, you NEED to know English, no if's, and’s  or but's; which is obviously my opinion.  3.) And lastly because I don't have my masters in psychology or any on the job "experience."

I have no more complaints about the first two because people who know me know being Deaf isn't and will never be an issue unless I'm dealing with the music industry or any type of job that would require me to be on a phone; I mean a lot of things are handled through social networks and emails nowadays anyway is it?

I think the fact that most companies requesting that you need your BA degree plus 2-3 years of experience make it very difficult for the people with no experience to actually get the experience they need to move on in their lives. Working long and hard for that 4 year degree definitely does not mean that a graduate will find a job easily.  I have come across SO many different kinds of people that are seem extremely intelligent but don’t have the adequate people skills and don’t have the work ethic that makes them deserving of their job.  I could name so many people that do not have on the job experience or degree greater than a BA and they would be a MUCH better fit for a job than someone who has obtained their masters or has the “needed” experience.

Now this is why I'm stuck no matter what I do because I did not put forth the effort I should have when I was working toward a BA in psychology. I didn’t have time to work any hours at any type of job or any other extracurricular activity because I was busy working hard on chasing my soccer dream. Which, again I will reiterate… I will never regret the many hard hours I put into soccer, only that I did not see the importance of academics when I was so fueled by the love I had for the sport.  I am just hoping a school is willing enough to give me a second opportunity to further my education and get my masters OR that there is a company out there that is willing to give me a chance to make a difference in people's lives.

This is not a cry for help by any means.  Just wanting to share my experiences.

My advice from my experiences to yours: FOCUS on academics just as much as you focus on your dreams.  Academics will get you far in life and sometimes you don't get second chances.

But I will be sure I find that second chance someway, somehow, someday!

I will NEVER give up.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Facts about the US women deaf national team

Women’s US deaf national team

Who people think we are?
Participators in Special Olympics
Players with no future
Unable to communicate with the hearing world

Who we really are??

Soccer fanatics
USNT supporters
Former, Current, and Future College athletes
50% fluent in sign language, 50% fluent in communication (lip read & speech)
2x Gold Medalists

Over the last three months we have decided to connect with Columbus Crew about a Deaf Event.  We are going to Ankara, Turkey for the World Championships in July of 2012.  Fortunately, the MLS organization is allowing the women’s team to participate in an exhibition match at noon on April 28th, 2012 against Otterbein, a D2 school from Ohio and the men’s to participate in an exhibition game as well at 3pm.  Then afterwards the Crew will take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at 7:30pm.

For all 3 games tickets are on sale for as little as $25 dollars.   A percentage will go to the US deaf national team funds for Ankara, Turkey.  This event will include a tailgate booth, ASL club, and many other sponsors.

I can’t even begin to explain the improvement I have seen within the team from Taipei, Taiwan (2009 deaflympics gold medalist team).  Ever since then, we have been able to acquire more athletes from all over the country.

On our roster for Columbus, Ohio for the weekend of April 26th, there is a professional soccer player who currently plays in Sweden that is a member of the team, 6 current and former D1 soccer players, and many future D1 soccer players.

People often misunderstand us because in the previous years we have not advertised our organization very well, unfortunately people are uneducated about the deaf culture and doubt our capabilities of competing and being able to succeed in the hearing world.

These women really take a pride in being able to represent their own country.  Americans are known to be true patriots and big supporters.  So please come out and support the US deaf national teams in Columbus.  Here is the link of ticket sales with the special code, deafsoccer, which expires April 13th  Also, if you are unable to make the event due to long distance please feel free to make a donation on the bottom of the US deaf soccer website!

Please comment if you have any questions and I will get back to you asap. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Reactions to a very special book!

On my two weeks vacation from my first professional football/soccer season I decided to check out a new book called; Mind Gym, Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence.  A friend on the island who is also from the States recommended me to read it because I was not happy with the way I was performing on the pitch.  I pretty much laughed at him and said no that is not going to work but I will read it anyway.

I was completely wrong.  This book is the real deal.  It takes you outside of your own vision and look inside and see what being an athlete is all about other than your talents and what you can bring to the table physically.    The book really relaxes you and makes you realize that being an athlete is not only about your talent, your determination, your work ethnic, and your love for the game.   A big part of being a successful athlete is about the mental part of your game if you already got the goods.

The writer of this book is a sports psychologist who has worked with many professional athletes including Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Kurt Warner, and many others.

I can’t put a percentage of what part of the game is really mental.  It is a high percentage.  I have always been so gifted with my athleticism that has always helped me achieve to the high level in football/soccer.  My mentality is something that I have been struggling with since I left South Carolina in fall of 2006.  Mentality is a huge piece of an athlete’s game. 

Yes, 2006 seems so long ago but it is the truth.  After reading this book my team has played against the top two teams in the league and we won one and tie the other.  I have been performing better than I have been all season. I have scored 3 out of 6 of our team goals.  This book is not going to make me reach my maximum potential in a matter of days, weeks, or even months.

If I continue to follow the philosophy of this book I believe it will take me to places that I think could be possible.  Basically what it really emphasize on is whatever sport you play, don’t think about scoring, hitting a homerun, and etc.  For my football game I just focus on my weaknesses and what I can do to improve.   I write down my strengths and weaknesses; and say how much I want to improve (there is always room for improvement whether they are strengths or weaknesses).   Before each game I can tell myself what I need to work on that will cause things to fall into place.  I try to avoid the line “I need to score, I need to have a hat trick, etc.”

I need to worry about what I need to do in order to score; I need to stop worrying about how many goals I will score each game, which is preventing me from reaching the maximum level.  It is time to focus on many little things and if I succeed at each of those little things success will come my way.

Those who are athletes and have struggled here or there I would recommend this book.  Trust me, I know now what I need to do to become a better football/soccer player.  That is to work on my strengths and weaknesses and think about what I need to do in order to score; pressure well defensively to cause defenders to make mistakes; make good first touches; good passes; take more shots (become a little more selfish).  There is so much I need to work on in order to become a better player.

Basically my philosophy is not how many goals I will score in a game now, it is what I will work on in order to lead into that direction and things will fall into place.  Last but not the least to believe in myself 100%.

If you’re a athlete trying to reach the highest possible level! Pick up this book and read it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

What's next?

What’s Next?

These past few weeks I have been pondering about the place I am at in my life.   One question I keep asking myself is what is next?

To be completely brutally honest, I really have no clue.  That is what makes my life so exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.  I know my family really supports me more than anything in the world and I am so grateful for that.  I am also sure they would like me to move on and go back to school to get a masters degree or get a real-world big girl job.   I know they are THRILLED that I am doing this because not everyone gets this kind of opportunity.  I do know my dad just wants me to be able to support my own self financially instead of coming home at 24 years old “dad can I have a couple bucks?”  In fact, I told him to get his wallet ready when I get home in 11 days :)

Can I do it now (go back to school or get a big girl job)?  Absolutely not, not after getting to see how big the world really is.  I have been to Finland, Sweden, and England all in 3 months since I have been here.    Football has its limits, my body isn’t going to be able to handle all of this working out at 30+ years old but school/work will be there forever.  How many people can truly say they can play the sport they love and be truly happy everyday.  Getting to see other cultures/countries is what I have ALWAYS wanted to do and I am able to do it for free or without getting into debt.

Which brings me to my original question; what is next?  I have no idea; literally I don’t.  With the way things are going on this island; having a beautiful apartment, forming strong friendships with different people around the world, learning about different cultures, and playing football.  There is a strong chance that I come back to this island next year; depending on many factors: other options, money, when I would need to be here, and etc.  There is a good chance I could come back for another season but there is also a good chance I leave and go to another country and play.

It all depends on how this season goes.  Nonetheless, I am staying on path with my dreams of being the best footballer I can possibly be.  All I can say from this experience is that I do not have ANY regrets and could not be happier.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Thanks to twitter.

I have an interesting topic (interesting to me anyway) today to talk about.  Sorry guys it has been awhile since my last blog post.  Also sorry if this does not interest you.


How do most people like criticism? How do people respond to it?  How do people accept it?

It is a huge controversy especially in the “athletes world.”  Why?

Because of twitter.  Enough said.  10+ years ago we were not able to read personal tweets towards ourselves about what people think or how they feel about us as players or people.  Yes, people still criticized us behind our backs, through the media, but often the media likes to investigate into many situations and find the worst out of everyone to try and bring them down.  So for many years us athletes have chosen to ignore what the media has to say (most of us anyway).

My entire life, I always had people beating around the bush trying to hint to me that I wasn’t going to get anywhere in soccer just because of that “disability” I have.  Am I able to walk? Yes. Am I able to run? Yes.   Am I able to communicate? Yes.  Can I hear? No, but that doesn’t make me disabled.  How did I respond to those?  I ignored them and carried them in the back of my mind each time I tied up my cleats and step onto the pitch for practices or games.

I feel that is what us athletes need to learn to do.  To ignore these critics.  Why?  It saves us room for when we fail, if we respond to them and we do not achieve what we wanted to achieve in the first place.  When you see an athlete talking sh*t, responding to critics, attacking fans and saying they will prove you wrong, they look ridiculous in the end when they “fail.” 

I put quotations for fail for a couple reasons.
1.)  If they DO not respond to the threats defensively, and go on with their lives without responding, they do not look as stupid nor do they have as much pressure on their shoulders the next opportunity they get.
2.)  I believe you fail numerous times in order to succeed.  Even one of the greatest athletes in the world believes so. “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”  Take your guess, YES, Michael Jordan.

First athlete that I would like to take into consideration for this blog post is Chad Ochocinco.  For those who do not know him; he is the wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and is one of the most controversial players in the game.  I recently joined Twitter in December, and his tweets get to me the most.  He always has something interesting to share, I enjoy following him.  One thing I do not like about him is that he has over a million followers and STILL continues to respond to personal threats very defensively.  Statistically speaking he has not had a great year for a few years, the more he talks/responds to these threats, the more stupid he is going to feel once he has another “ok” season.  There are way too many tweets for me to even choose from, but he most certainly does attack a lot of people individually.

Another reason of this blog post is the overflow of threats a certain athlete has had on her/her team fans.  The 2011 US Women’s soccer world cup roster was announced on Monday.

Twitter has given people the opportunity to express and speak freely of their emotions, thoughts, and opinions.  But those are not what people look for.  People test athletes to see how they respond to their threats, doubts, and critics.

One of the players that is being criticized is Carli Lloyd who has been named to the World Cup roster, personally, I think she is a great player.  The best midfielder in the US? I don’t know, I will find out when we see them play in Germany J  I also have not seen every player play so I cannot answer this question nor will I ever be able to.  All I know is that she was chosen to this roster or a reason and no one should argue with that until they see the results of the World Cup.  She is responding well to the critics and I applaud her for that.  One quote I really liked that she tweeted. ““A critic is someone who never actually goes to the battle, yet who afterwards comes out shooting the wounded.” 

Now, other teammates of hers are not responding well to the critics.  I have seen some responding by attacking fans.  This is a shame because what happens if they don’t do well in the World Cup, people will get the opportunity to say I told you so.

Yes, I have dreams of my own, but I am keeping my dreams to myself, only me.  Why?  So I cannot be criticized when I don’t make it, each time I fail I will try again, and every time I step over an obstacle, I can say I told you so, instead of hearing it.

Basically my point is: think before you speak, respond wisely to these critics, and respond by stepping onto the field, court, pitch, or anything by giving it all you got.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Continuing my experience in Aland

Two weeks have came and gone.  Still loving it!!  There is still snow on the ground; slowly melting.  It has not really snowed since I have been here, only a little flurries during the night hours.  It is about 30 degrees here and has not been any colder than that.  It makes me happy because ever since I decided to come here everyone’s reaction is like “it is soooo cold there!”  Ever since I have been here all I have been hearing from everyone is “I cannot wait for summer!”  Apparently here, is one of the biggest tourist places in Northern Europe, June-August gets as warm as 75-80 degrees.

I live about half of a mile from the beach, so oh yeah in a few months I will realllllly be living the dream.  Playing the sport I love, living .5 miles from the beach.  People here say a lot of tourists come here and go so you meet a lot of people from all over.  Beach volleyball is very popular here in the summer.

The PAF open 2011 will making a stop in my town/city August 17-21st!  This is the world tour for beach volleyball for men’s and women’s.  So I will definitely be going to some of the games over the 5 day course in August.  I love beach volleyball.  Nothing better than spending the summers at a beach playing beach futbol and volleyball.

Two nights ago America had their spring forward, so you all Americans lost an hour of sleep.  We do the same here in Finland but not until March 27th.  So currently until then I am 6 hours ahead of you guys.  Once March 27th hits I will be 7 hours again.

I still have not done much of anything quite yet.  After our first friendly match last Saturday, I did the polar bear plunge.  We went to the pool on one Saturday afternoon and at the pool you have to go in the shower naked and wash off then go in the sauna (optional) naked.  Then you can put your bathing suit on and go out to the pool.   The pool is indoors but you can go under the wall and go outside.  The water is obviously warm.  The scenary right now doesn’t justify what it would be like in the summer.  The Baltic sea is frozen as of right now.  Outside of the indoor pool there is a deck and stairs that goes down to the Baltic Sea, there is a ladder and a hole drilled for those who want to jump in the icy cold water and run back up the stairs and jump in the pool.  After I did that, we got yelled at and since the sea is salty we were supposed to jump in the sea and go to the showers.  There was no way I was going to be able to jump in the shower, it was FREEZING and the showers were too far away!  It was quite the experience.  It is something you should try once in your lifetime just for the thrill of it.

After we left the pool, I went home and took a shower and went to the IFK Mariehamn game, a men’s professional team here in Aland who play in the best division in Finland.  They played a team from Sweden and lost 1-0.

Over the course of the week, we had one practice on Monday, two on Tuesday, then the American’s arrived mid-day Tuesday.  I was so excited because I had company in my room.  One of them is my roommate, from Columbia, Missouri and went to Mizzou.  The other American is from the suburban’s of Chicago but she went to University of Florida (yuckkkk, love you Liz).  Liz is staying in a hotel for 3 weeks while they look for a 3bdrm apartment so we all can live together.  Ever since they have arrived I have not been as bored at all.  We have gone next door to get some gelato.  There is a gelato shop next door so you can bet we will be making about 2-3 stops a week!!  Thank god I am playing futbol because I would be really fat if I wasn’t after eating all of that gelato (ice cream).

We had another friendly match against a team from Sweden this past Saturday.  We played very well defensively but we need to work on creating opportunities through the midfield and working on our transition from winning the ball in the defensive third and transitioning through the midfield and attacking third to create opportunities.  We scored the first goal off of a free kick; our center back finished a loose ball from inside the 18.  The second goal occurred about a minute or two before half time.  The center back made a bad pass to the outside back and I took advantage of it and chased after the ball and took a shot at the 18 yd line to right lower corner.  It was 2-0 at half, we ended up finishing the game 2-1.   We have many quality players and will be very good if we learn to work together nad create more opportunities offensively.

I am so excited; season opener will be in Helsinki, the capital of Finland against HJK on April 10th.  We still have about 3 and half weeks until then; plenty of time to find the team’s chemistry and plenty of time and room for improvement.

On Saturday I went out for the first time with 2 girls on the team.  The americans were too tired because it takes probably a little over a week to get over the jetlag.  I was too tired to go out last weekend.  We went to this  huge bar called Arken, it has a casino, two floors, and two huge dance floors.  I was definitely not aware of this but most European singers/bands sing most of everything in English.  Haha, how many of you Americans knew that?  I most certainly did not, but I guess it’s not THAT important for me to know since I am deaf.  I met some guys from the guys team and they were all really nice. 

I am having fun so far, sorry there isn’t too much to share at this point since all I am doing is sleeping and playing futbol.

Last night I found out I have two weeks off June 19th-July 3rd.  Thinking about some places to visit during that time.  Definitely going to go to London the first part of it and visit some friends from the Deaflympics.  I am also hoping to run into Alice and Mia, my two exchange students from Denmark and Italy (they stayed with my family and I my senior year of high school). 

The Deaf European football championships are in Odense, Denmark (an hour or two from Copehagen) so I may make a stop to catch some games and meet some deafies and football players.

Hope things will start to speed up in the next week or two so I will have more to share with all of you!!

Miss and love you all!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Football in Aland...

After the 48 hours were over...we were off on Wednesday and went to the gym; we go to the gym whenever you want during the day.

Thursday I was picked up at 7:30am...we had training indoors, I just wore my running shoes.  We did warms up, possession (5 v 5) with two people standing on the outside for wall passes.  Coach was on the side further away from the goal.  He picked a defender to stand on the other side for wall passes.  Whenever a team hits up to 5 consecutive passes, whoever has the ball after the 5th pass goes attack on the goal, another player on the same team goes.  So it was 2v1.  After that we added on to 3v2 and so on.  For you all footballers back in the US get this; those who do not, it is always the attacker (forward, my position) number is always first, and the number of defenders is always second.  So 3v2 means 3 forwards and 2 defenders.  We did that majority of the hour.  The last 15-20 minutes we did 6 v 6 with smaller goals (i think they were a little bigger than lacrosse goals but not an actual football goal.)

Later that night, I had my first professional football experience.  We had a scrimmage against the 2nd best team here in Aland, (remember I am on an island so when I say around here, that means just on the island). We won 4-0.  I was impressed by the team because we have a lot of young players.  Youngest is 16.  Here in Europe you are done with high school by the age of 16 and you have the option of pursuing a football career, going to college for two years then to an university.  Schooling over here is a lot different than I thought.  I am not going to lie, I really envy the younger girls in a good way though.  I am so glad they have the option that I did not have at 16.  In America, it is so important to go to college if you want a real stable job (paying wise) to be able to live on your own.  Here, you can get a job anywhere and be able to live on your own.  The oldest here is 30, she is the fastest on our team, from England.  You wouldn't believe how fast she track in the 100 she runs probably a little over 11 flat.

During our game, we played two halves of 30 minutes.  Usually in a full soccer game there are two 45 minute halves.   The first goal was by the left outside mid who is 18 years old and a was a beautiful goal right inside the 18 by the left side.  The second goal the left mid was on a break away to the goal then passed me the ball right inside the 18..about 10-12 yards out and took a shot to the right corner....then the 3rd and 4th goals were penalty kicks... The 4th PK I was on a break away down the sideline and no one was on me because they thought it was gonna end up out but I made it and crossed it and it hit a defenders hand.

Overall, it was a good performance but our season opener isn't til April 10th so we have a lot of work to do and a lot of improvement along the way.  Two americans are coming on Tuesday and I am so excited to get our final roster finalized and get started with pre-season.

Things are looking good as far as the players go.  There are players from Norway, Sweden, the US, England and a few others that I am not sure of yet.  We had a girl from England playing with us the last couple days but she left today to go back to England.  She was trying out to get a taste of the island to see if it was something she wanted to do.  She wasn't sure if she wanted to leave England to play, but dear lord, I hope she ends up coming, she would play a critical role on our team.  She is amazing, she plays for the U23 England national team.  So hopefully next week I will hear some good news from her :)

After the game we did 4 sets of running,...sprint for 2 minutes rest for 25 seconds, sprint for a minute and half rest for 25 seconds,  sprint for a minute rest for 25 seconds, sprint for 30 secs then rest for 3 minutes and repeat 3 more times.  It actually wasn't too bad but with me playing a real soccer game for the first ttime in a couple years, with the jetlag, only less than 72 hours later, the girls told me to stop after the first one.  I said no I'm fine, they were like NO sit down you have to be soooo tired just relax and you will catch up with us in a week or so, no worries.  I can't emphasize how awesome these girls are so far :)

Last night we had training at 5 and we trained for about 2 hours, we worked mainly on the midfield then did some 7v7 then more running! Ugh, we had to run 8 laps around the full soccer field in 12 minutes and again my body is exhausted but I refused to let myself stop, I ended up only doing 7.  I will be able to do it in a week after I recover from the jetlag :)  I usually wouldn't say jetlag is an excuse because it's my first time in Europe, IT REALLY does affect you!!  You'd be surprised!

That is all so far :)

ps. since I will be blogging a lot and such I barely go back and edit it.  After I post the first blog I realized there were a LOT of grammar and spelling mistakes but people kept saying you need a blog up NOW haha so I wrote that one really fast!!  Hope you all are enjoying reading this!! Miss you all!