What makes you feel like a real soccer player? Or what do you think makes a real soccer player? Take a minute and think about that answer…. The answer to that question can look a lot different depending on who’s answering it. For a little boy in Peru, the answer to those questions came when he received a pair of soccer cleats. Even though he loved the game of soccer and most likely played it before he received a pair of cleats, it wasn’t until he held those cleats in his hands that he actually felt like a real soccer player. That my friends, is a very powerful thing.
I had never really thought about what it meant to be a real soccer player before this story was shared with me. Thinking about it now, I would probably define it as someone who plays on a soccer team. Unfortunately, the privilege to play on a team is not a possibility for many people all over the world. Many people play barefoot in the streets, between souvenir shops, and anywhere that can make due for a match. So now I ask myself the question, are the people who play in the streets and the alleyways real soccer players too?
I have witnessed and been a part of makeshift matches all over the world. Never once did I think that those I played with weren’t real soccer players. I never had a second thought about who I was playing with. But back in the states, I realized that I was really critical of who I thought was a real soccer player. But after hearing what makes others feel like a real soccer player and meeting the people I’ve played with, I’ve come up with a new definition of what a real soccer player means to me.
A real soccer player is someone who loves the game.
A real soccer player is someone who is dedicated to playing the game.
A real soccer player is not defined by the gear he/she has.
A real soccer player can be anyone from anywhere.
A real soccer player is someone who beats adversity, defies the odds, and makes the best out of the circumstances their in.
A real soccer player is measured not by their talent but by the passion they carry in their heart.
Those things are what make a real soccer player. A soccer player isn’t defined by the shoes on their feet or the team that they are on or the amount of time they play. A real soccer player is defined by the passions of their heart and sometimes it takes receiving a pair of cleats to realize that. For this little boy in Peru, receiving those pair of cleats is what took him to realize he was a real soccer player and to be confident in his love for the game, it was a game changer. So tell me friend, what is your definition of a soccer real player? Do you need a pair of cleats to understand your value? It’s okay if you do, sometimes we all need that extra reminder.