I began volunteering as an assistant soccer coach at a local high school my sophomore year of college. I played soccer competitively through high school, but opted out of playing in college. I sincerely missed soccer and I wanted a chance to connect with girls for Young Life. I essentially bugged anyone I could find at the school until they let me come. Perhaps not the most effective strategy, but it worked.
For 2 years, I volunteered primarily with the JV team helping with practices, coaching games and getting to know the girls. This year, my first group of freshman girls are now seniors and most of them were on the varsity team last year! I feel old. You see, now that I’m a postgrad I can say stuff like that and be taken seriously. Like, for real.
My senior year of college was my first year as a paid assistant and I worked primarily with the varsity team. I absolutely loved it. They are an amazing group of girls, who are INCREDIBLY talented on the field.
One of my favorite parts has been getting to know the girls as people outside of soccer. These girls are smart, funny, motivated, but also broken. They hurt and experience brokenness just like everyone else. They are traversing the halls of high school without a lot of guidance or any clue as to what is going on. A girl who is on cloud 9 one day, may walk in on the verge of tears the next. These girls are not overly-emotional, they are not dramatic (usually), and by in large they have a “good head on their shoulders,” but such is the reality of high school.* This is perhaps the only time when I can legitimately accept the phrase “finding oneself” from someone without laughing. It has continually been my prayer that I would boldly take advantage of my time with them to offer them hope in the One who is unchanging, the Father and Truth.
If you feel led, please pray for me as I love these girls; pray for wisdom, boldness and strength. Pray that I will not make it about me or what I can offer them, but about the only one who can save them from themselves, the only one who can make sense of life. Pray for the girls as they navigate a tumultuous stage of life and are confronted with choices that they never thought they would have to make. High school is scary, petty, and daunting; pray that they would make wise choices and not put their hope in something that will fail them, like soccer.
*For a more detailed and fascinating explanation about the mind of a woman from in-utero to adulthood I highly recommend The Female Brain. It is an easy read that will either help you understand the woman in your life or, for you women, make you realize that you are NOT crazy and make sense of your life.