“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion,” Mia Hamm
In life we all experience disappointment, hardships and set-backs. These are the facts of life that impact each of us. The same is true in soccer. We may not make the team, we may get cut from the team, we will experience defeat, injuries, new teammates and personal crisis, however, you may choose to define it.
How we handle these circumstances when they face us is extremely important. River City United Soccer Club believes that when these issues arise, it is our sense of community and teamwork that will carry us through.
I hope to provide resources to our soccer family of coaches, parents, and players in dealing with these types of situations.
Every couple of months you will find a real-life story, like the one below, that highlights a courageous soccer player. It is our hope that you will be encouraged by their stories and be able to share these experiences with your players when they face hardship.
Have a great season!
Community Outreach Director
River City United Soccer Club
Story #2 - Ricardo Kaká , Attacking Midfielder for Real Madrid, Brazil National Team (posted 5/6/11)
Sports, especially soccer, has its ups and its downs. Sometimes things happen that stop you from being able to play: an injury, illness, family obligation, etc. How we deal with these challenges makes all the difference in our future success. It all comes down to our attitude. We may not be able to choose what happens to us, but we can chose how we are going to respond.
Ricardo Kaka knows all about overcoming the setbacks and elements that could have stopped him from being able to play professional soccer . But his attitude, faith ,and determination to continue drove him to succeed. To truly appreciate all of these successes, it is important to look back at what Kaka has overcome.
“When I was eight, I moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil (from Cuiaba, Brazil) where I began to play soccer (football). I have always loved to play soccer. I played on the Junior Team for Sao Paulo in 2000. We were in the middle of the Paulista Junior Championships when I received a yellow card. I was suspended for the following game, so I took advantage of the free weekend to visit my grandparents, who lived in Caldas Novas at the time.
My brother, my parents, my grandparents, and I went to a water park. As I was coming down one of the slides into the pool, I hit my head on the bottom of the pool and my neck snapped. I fractured the sixth vertebra in my neck. At the time, I had no idea what happened.
I came out of the pool with a strong headache, and my brother who had come down the slide right after me, asked me what happened. I told him I hit my head on the bottom of the pool. He saw that I was bleeding and convinced me to go to the first-aid center. From there, we went to the hospital where they took an x-ray of my neck. According to the x-ray, everything looked fine. I got a few stitches in my head and that was that.
I returned to Sao Paulo to train on Monday, as well as on Tuesday, all the while with a broken neck. On Tuesday, I called the coach and the physical trainer and told them that I couldn't bear the pain any longer. They sent me to see a doctor at the hospital where they took another x-ray. It was in this x-ray that the fracture in the sixth vertebra was shown. Everyone, including the doctors, told me I was very lucky that nothing more serious happened. They told me that I could have become paralyzed and lost my ability to walk and to play soccer. I believe it was not luck. I believe God was protecting me during that time from anything more serious.
The accident happened in October of 2000 while I was playing in the "base" position on the Sao Paulo junior team. Throughout November and December, I had to wear a cervical collar and could not play. I began to play again in January of 2001, and after about 10 or 15 days, I was called to play for the Sao Paulo professional team. Because of this, I believe God had a purpose in that accident. It is something that happened just before I had the great blessing of starring as a professional in Sao Paulo and initiating my career as a professional soccer player.”
Today, Kaká is a Brazilian football midfielder who currently plays for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team. Kaká started his footballing career at the age of eight, when he began playing for a local club. At the time, he also played tennis, and it was not until he moved on to São Paulo FC and signed his first professional contract with the club at the age of fifteen that he chose to focus on football.
In 2003 he joined AC Milan for a fee of 8.5 million Euros. While at Milan, Kaká won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2007. After his success with Milan, Kaká joined Real Madrid for a world record fee of 56 million Euros, smashing the previous record of Zidane, 49 million. In addition to his contributions on the pitch, Kaká is known for his humanitarian work. In 2004, by the time of his appointment, he became the youngest ambassador of the United Nations' World Food Programme.
On 5 August 2010, Real Madrid announced that Kaká had undergone successful surgery on a long-standing left knee injury and will face up to four months on the sidelines.Kaká returned to training after a long lay-off and his manager Jose Mourinho said that having Kaká back was like a new signing.
After an eight-month absence, Kaká returned to play by entering as a substitute on January 3, 2011 His first league goal (and his first of the season) after his return from injury came with an assist from Cristiano Ronaldo on a 4–2 victory over Villareal on January 9th. Then in March 2011 Kaká suffered from Iliotibial band syndrome which kept him sidelined for several more weeks, until his most recent return to the game as a substitute.
Kaká did not let his circumstances or his setbacks stop him from pursuing his dream to play professional soccer. Through his faith and the support of his family, he continued to have a positive attitude and was determined to succeed.
When you encounter the setbacks and hardships that make you feel like giving up, remember Ricardo Kaká .
To read more about Ricardo Kaká , please visit the following sources.
"Kaka out for up to four months after knee surgery". ESPN Soccernet. 2010-08-05. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=811890&sec=europe&cc=5739. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
"v-brazil.com". v-brazil.com. http://www.v-brazil.com/culture/sports/football/player/kaka.html. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
Hughes, Rob (1 December 2004). "SOCCER: Kaka able to see beyond dollar signs". International Herald Tribune. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/01/sports/01iht-soccer_ed3_.html. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
Story #1: Mariel Margret Hamm
Mariel Margret Hamm, better known as Mia Hamm, is considered one of the best female soccer players who has ever lived. Born into a military family, Mia spent much of her childhood moving with her family from one Air Force base assignment to another. Mia wasn’t comfortable having to make new friends wherever she moved. In fact, she was shy and didn’t have a lot of self confidence. You see, Mia was born with a partially clubfoot that she had to overcome by wearing a brace as a young child. She was also small for her age and other kids didn’t want her to play on their soccer teams. However, her older brother always watched out for her and made sure she got to play on his team. When she did play, others were surprised to see that even though she was small, she was fast.
When Mia was 15 years old, her speed, aggressive drive and dynamic attacking style, won her a place on the USA national team as the youngest player ever. For the next 17 years Mia helped her team, and country, reach tremendous accomplishments including two FIFA World Cup Championship victories and two Olympic Gold Medals. In 1998 Mia Hamm scored her 108th international competition goal, becoming the all-time world leader. In March 2004, Hamm and former U.S. teammate Michelle Akers were the only two women, and the only two Americans, named to the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living soccer players selected by Pelé and commissioned by FIFA.
“No one gets an iron-clad guarantee of success. Certainly, factors like opportunity, luck and timing are important. But the backbone of success is usually found in old-fashioned, basic concepts like hard work, determination, good planning and perseverance,” Mia Hamm.
For more information about Mia Hamm, you can read her book, Go For the Goal: A Champion's Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life.