Today at Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange, FL. I witnessed one of my students signing their commitment to an NCAA college soccer program.
Emily this summer will be heading to Berry College in Georgia, where she will be a part of the schools women’s soccer team, something that she has been dreaming of since we met at the Port Orange Soccer Club. I was the Goalkeeper Academy Director at the club and I was very excited to start the winter academy with the 20+ keepers. I noticed right away that she had a huge working spirit, a great positive attitude and was very respectful. Thus sums up that she had a lot of potential.
30 months ago Emily and myself started planning a resistance program in order to keep her sugar levels stable for at least 90 minutes without her having to stop and check her levels or to eat. But Why? Well, from the age of 5 Emily has inside her system a disease called type 1 diabetes. It’s when your immune system destroys cells in your pancreas called beta cells. They’re the ones that make insulin. Our body can’t live without insulin.
It was tough at the start, every 15-20 minutes she would have to stop to test her blood, Endless evenings at City Center Sports Complex, we’d train even in the dark using our cars headlights to light up the patch where we were training. Gradually her breaks were longer from one another. 30 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour and now for 90 minutes or more!
Emily had to work twice as harder, fighting back her diabetes and improving her goalkeeper skills at the same time. At the start I thought that it would have been too much on her, but I was wrong, she’s not the average athlete.
She is now a really good goalkeeper and the coaches at Berry will make her even better and stronger.
Emily is not only a goalkeeper she is also a soccer coach/goalkeeper coach. Emily is licensed by the United States Soccer Federation and can coach anyplace in the country teams U12 or younger. She assists me with the younger group at the Goalkeeper Academy and has learnt how to handle and coach that age group very well.
Once we were at an ID camp at Stetson University and at lunch time she had a breakdown, she started to wimp and said she wanted to go home, that she was done with all of this. I replied saying that I didn’t come this far with her, spent all this time working with her, if I didn’t believe that she wouldn’t have made it. I also told her that I’d kick her a** all the way to Port Orange if she didn’t finish off the two day camp. That was a year ago and it was the very last time that she broke down on me!
NCAA statistics show that 1 out of 1,200 college soccer players have like Emily Type 1 Diabetes and if we break it down from the 2,400 men’s and women’s soccer teams in all 3 divisions then Emily is one of the 48-50 college soccer players that plays soccer with Diabetes among all the other 52,200 soccer players. This makes her accomplishment even greater! When hundreds every year unfortunately fail, Emily never gave up and made it!
Emily is and should be an example to all of our students at the goalkeeper academy, never give up, give all that you’ve got, we will help you as much as we can “all of you” to accomplish the dream Emily is living!
I couldn’t be more proud!