My passion is football

POSTED ON: 30/05/2017

My passion is football
by Hollie Clement

I am now eighteen years old and I have been playing the internationally loved sport since the age of five. When I first started, I was doing it to be like my brother as he had just started playing, my family and I never really thought anything of it, it was just a bit of fun. 

However, my mum noticed that I had some good movements and footwork and pushed me to get more involved. I quickly became obsessed, I always wanted to be the best, the one who stuck out and the one people noticed when they watched my team. I would practice for hours on my own in the garden, watching youtube videos to try and perfect skills or standing out for hours rain or shine trying to to continually beat my personal keepy-uppy record (I’m now on a 1000+!!)

Thirteen years and probably about one hundred pairs of boots later, I’m still playing the sport I love on a day to day basis and I now know I want to make a career out of it. 
I currently play for Chelsea FC Foundation during the week as part of my BTEC College Course which means at the age of 16 I had to move to Guildford Surrey to their college and on the weekends when I’m home I play for Ipswich Town Ladies in the Women’s Premier League. 

In two months I make my big move to America. I have been lucky enough to be awarded a full “soccer” scholarship with Oakland University in Michigan. While reading this it probably seems that throughout my footballing career I probably haven’t had to do too much, it’s just kicking a ball around right? How can that be hard?
Trust me, football takes up most of my life alongside education. It’s a lot of training, a lot of games, a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication. I have travelled for hours just to get to one trial, or one training session. It can be very early mornings ended by very late nights, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As an eighteen year old most of my friends get to go out every weekend, stay out late on Saturday nights drinking and don’t have to think about their diet. I have to make sacrifices. During the season, I can’t go out on certain days as I will have training or a game the next day and I have to make sure I eat and drink well the day before not just the day itself. I have to ensure I get the right amount of sleep before game day. I have to think about all of these aspects and I have to force myself to not go to that party that all my friends are going to. If you want to go into sport and play professionally or semi professionally, a big aspect is nutrition. Your diet will determine your physical and mental fitness. Having a bad diet can make you incredibly tired, lethargic and can therefore very much hinder your performance. Make sure you are eating the right things as much as you can, think about your food groups and portion sizes. It is a lot to think about but once you get into the correct routine it will become habit, and I promise, you will feel much better.

There are two main parts to my life, obviously family and friends is one and the second is football and education. I would not be where I am now, in the position where I get to move to the United States in eight weeks without these two parts. Education, is my number one focus. Of course, football is everything to me and I want that to be my career, but you won’t get anywhere in life without a good education behind you. I have recently had to send school reports and grades going back years to the University in Michigan. I have had to sit the American SAT test with only a couple of weeks to cram for it. But I get to go play football at a top level Uni where everything will be provided for me, my education, my room, my food and all kit down to my socks and underwear! For 4 years! I have earned this through everything above! If you are young and you want to get the same chance I have, focus on your school work, do your homework, revise for that exam you have, no matter how hard it might be, push yourself, your grades say a lot about you and they will help you a lot in the future. I am going to a top tier University, the highest level I could go to and although a lot of what got me there is obviously my footballing ability, I also would not have got a full scholarship there if I didn’t have the GCSE results that I got behind me.

This is where the second part of my life comes into it, I would never have got those grades and this scholarship without the help of my amazing family, they have pushed me and helped through every part of my education. I was lucky enough to go to a good school where I was in smaller classes and therefore could focus much better and get the help and attention from teachers when I needed it. As someone who doesn’t have the longest attention span, this helped me a lot. But whatever school or college you’re in it’s down to YOU! YOU determine your future, your health and wellbeing and what you can achieve.

As you can see, for those people who think that football is just kicking a ball around and surely it can’t be that hard. I promise you, it’s a lot more work and sacrifice than you may think. Thankfully, I love it and I wouldn’t change the amazing position I’m in for the world! 
 

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