I will never forget when people would ask me that infamous question when I was young, what do you want to become when you grow up? I always said professional soccer player. Yes, indeed, I did have players and heroes that I idolized and had their posters in my room but one thing was for sure, my hero was always the me I was chasing.
Down the line, chasing the dream, I’ve come to the realization that the journey is more important than the destination. That means that I challenged myself to chase my hero, the kid in me with all the dreams and fantasies of being a famous soccer player with all the adulation, the love, the support of the fans that comes with that.
Even though, sometimes when it didn’t go my way, when I thought I couldn’t chase that me anymore, I lost the meaning in my life.
After being released from my first pro contract, I stopped training for a little bit, I stopped acting and being an athlete. I was still around soccer with coaching but I felt I wasn’t chasing my dream anymore which made me feel like I wasn’t living anymore. My life was based on going to training in the morning then going to coach in the afternoon. I loved that life. I was doing exactly what made me happy. But as soon as I felt like playing was taken away from me, coaching became dull. I had no motivation whatsoever to do it even though I loved it. It’s like it came in a package and playing had to be in it because every morning my heart still pumps for it. GO AFTER WHAT MAKES YOUR HEART RACE.
At 23 years old, I knew I could still bring something to the table. I felt I was mature and even more physically and mentally ready. I knew I couldn’t let my dream end this way.
The funny part, the way it works in this sport, one day you are here, the next day you are on another continent with a new language to learn and a new environment to settle into. It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you take off in a plane and you don’t even know what to expect. You just risk it all and go for the unknown because that’s where the adventure and happiness is. You don’t know what you are going to get into but you just jump in and wish for the best. Ask yourself a question, what’s the worst that can happen? A new experience and adventure, I’ll take that any day over a boring life where you wake up and you know exactly how the day will go.
Everything happens for a reason, and when I was least expecting it, I received a call to go to Iceland, I didn’t think twice. It was an opportunity to play, that’s all I wanted. I took it, left everything behind, as I’d done before. It wasn’t new to me, the jump, I knew that kind of sacrifice.
When I landed in Iceland, I was relieved, even though it was different from where I’d come from where I’d had a girlfriend, many friends, my brother, coaching, and a good life I was enjoying. But there wasn’t that kid chasing his dream. I felt I wasn’t living anymore because that was the most important thing, chasing that kid, with all his dreams, down the line.
The first month in Iceland, I was in a hotel and the highlight of my day would be going into training getting ready for the season to start. I was getting paid to do what I love even though I was bored out of my mind all day in my personal life. But even though I’d sacrificed a lot, I was still happy because I knew I was chasing that kid with those dreams of playing and I was doing it every day. See, that’s the thing about sacrifice, if you want something, you will go and get it, no excuses, you will sacrifice what you have. Even if it means the impossible, you will sacrifice everything because it means everything to you. So, when I hear people telling me I want to do this and that and then they find excuses, it just means they don’t want it bad enough and it doesn’t mean much to them.
What most won’t ever understand is that chasing your dream will take you places you would never have thought you’d go. That dream might become reality or it won’t and its okay if it doesn’t because down the line your dream might change. It’s the willingness to chase your dreams that is the important part.
Every soccer player’s ultimate dream is to play for a big club in Europe such as real Madrid, FC Barcelona. Manchester united and represent their country at the highest stage to name the best of it the world cup. So, if you didn’t get to play for this teams or never reached the level you wanted but you ended playing a decent career in Asia or America or average mid-table teams, doesn’t matter the team, that doesn’t mean you didn’t chase your dreams because you did, and it’s all about the journey. “It’s not about achieving your dreams, it’s about chasing them.”
Funny how we are too focused on the prize usually, that we forget to appreciate the small things that are making us live to the fullest every day.
You don’t know what you have until you lose it, be grateful. this is one of my favorite quotes because indeed as human beings we tend to be ungrateful sometimes, and when we lose what was meaning a lot to us, then we appreciate it more when it’s gone and we make sure it’s a learning experience towards the next adventure that we won’t take for granted.