Aolani Perry, CSC PFA Swarm, GU-16: February 8,2014
"Soccer isn't just a sport to me. I missed playing with the Swarm in the fall and felt that I let them down because I couldn't be 100% for them. I am preparing for major spinal surgery to correct scoliosis of my spine in February. I am very nervous about the surgery, but I have one of the leading specialists in the country whose goal is to get me back to playing as quickly as possible. I've missed several ID Camps at key colleges but remain excited about my future. I am an introvert and in my years of playing, I've learned how to be part of a team, move at a fast pace, overcome challenges on the field, and work together towards a common goal. I've learned to be more assertive, which has translated to knowing when to take the ball and run with it and where to contribute best based on my strengths. My team and I compete, devoting a lot of time for practice, games, and tournaments and other sports, to be the best from Southern Maryland. I've learned to manage my time, classes, homework, and personal interests when I play soccer. Soccer opens up opportunities for me because I have gotten to travel and experience how my style of play has evolved over the years. It has taught me to trust that the girls on my team have each other's backs. This translates to my high school life because I am more deliberate, competitive, supportive, and creative. I study biotechnology and not surprisingly, my teammates are equally driven and amazing young women. They are the best in their respective schools and serve as inspirations for other people. We all help each other assess situations and overcome challenges. I still have a long way to go, but at the end of the day, I am proud to call myself a Southern Maryland Girls Competitive Soccer player. For those out there facing challenges, strive to be your best. Thanks to my team and my coaches for all of development and encouragement. Fingers crossed for getting back on the pitch!