First Person: What happens when your soccer career doesn’t go as planned?

When I was 13 years old, I knew what my passion was. That passion was running as hard as I could and winning the ball to make a pass. Most people growing up don’t have a clue what they want to be when they got older. But I knew. From something that just started as […]
Photo: Alex Lambert
Everything happens for a reason. Embrace what life has in store for you.

When I was 13 years old, I knew what my passion was. That passion was running as hard as I could and winning the ball to make a pass.

Most people growing up don’t have a clue what they want to be when they got older. But I knew.

From something that just started as a hobby quickly turned into my whole life. Something that I couldn’t go a day without thinking about. When I was working, in school or just doing everyday life activities, soccer would always be on my mind.

When I was 15 years old there was nothing I wanted more than to be a professional soccer player. It was something I manifested to the point where I thought it was inevitable. I trained almost every day from early mornings to late nights to pursue my dream.

However, at 18 years old, reality hit. I was playing for Futuro, which was a very good team in Ottawa. I did my job. I worked harder than anybody and played my best on the pitch. But although I had some college interests, I was not willing to move away because I didn’t want to leave my family and friends. I knew play time would be limited as I would be a new player and it wasn’t something I was willing to sacrifice leaving my loved ones.

So, I made that decision and after that, my life changed. I went from playing something every day to just stopping. Not only did I stop doing what I loved, I had to find another career choice.

I know that other students or people my age have change their goals when they get older but It feels a bit more different when you visualize a blueprint, and the idea doesn’t go as planned. Now, what I have to figure out and others like me, is what to do with uncertainty after have being so focused for so long.

Like me, Matin Ljajic, made the decision to change his goal.

“I got an opportunity to go to Portugal to tryout to play soccer professionally. I played there for two weeks and played very well with my age group,” said Ljajic

“The team really liked the way I played. They invited me back for another two weeks to tryout with the first team. The coaches were telling me how much they wanted me on the team.”

“They offered me a U23 contract which was only 50 euros a month. I didn’t want to take it. I was only going to sign there if it was for the first team because 50 euros a month would not be livable as an 18 year old with no education yet.”

“Now I am uncertain if I will get another opportunity again, I will keep working hard and see what will come from it.”

David Shvartsman also made a choice.

“Soccer here in Canada is very expensive. If you want to be professional, you need to play for the best teams which cost a crazy amount of money,” said Shvartsman.

“I probably had enough to be able to pay that amount, but I just didn’t think it was worth it. I didn’t want to pay that much just for nothing to come from it. I made a choice not to fully pursue it.”

In my case, soccer was my life, I wanted to do something that involved the sport. I took the journalism program at Algonquin College to write about soccer and sports.

This was something I really enjoyed. When I think everything is going right, another roadblock hits. I learnt the difficulty of securing a job with a sustainable salary while writing about sports.

I have a coaching job that I do which I really enjoy. It’s for sure something I can see myself doing for a very long time. There could be ways I can make it a career, but it’s most likely to end up a hobby.

This is where my uncertainty lies. I have opportunities to do jobs that I like but won’t likely make enough financially.

This uncertainty won’t be for long. I will find a way. I always do in the end.

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