top of page

Old passions made new

A blonde woman looking at a soccer field with a '22' jersey.
Courtesy of Kyra Tolley

By Kyra Tolley

Staff Writer

My dream since as early as I can remember was to be a professional soccer player.

I played soccer for 11 years out of the first 16 years of my life. It was my everything. I felt so passionate about it I never thought I could feel that way about anything else. 

When I was 5 and playing on my first team, I was told that I would one day have the ability to play in college. I was even compared to girls who were playing Division 1 soccer at Boston College. 

I traveled around the country and made some of the best memories of my life. My dad and I spent countless hours in the car together listening to Journey albums on the way to tournaments, games, and practices. 

I even got to spend my 16th birthday in the Rocky Mountains with my teammates and then competed at nationals the next day. 

There were definitely days that were difficult, where I was too hard on myself, and felt like I would never accomplish my dream. 

But those years were some of the best times of my life. 

A few months after nationals, my career was finished when I got a concussion.

I had worked so hard since I was in kindergarten to get to such a high level in the sport. It was all thrown away by a competitor’s rogue shot at a college recruitment tournament when I had the goal of playing at the highest level I could imagine.

Ever since my concussion, I have been afraid of anything to do with soccer. I wanted nothing to do with the sport I once loved. 

I banned any and all things soccer from my house for years. I threw away every uniform I owned and every soccer ball that I ever used was gone. I had ditched any remnants of all of the accomplishments I was once proud of.   

I let a concussion ruin who I was and it took away anything I had ever enjoyed about soccer. 

If I could turn back time to the day I was told I could no longer play, I would tell my teenage self not to let this turn into an identity crisis.

Soccer was a big part of me and it still is, but it has never been all I am. 

Recently, I picked up a soccer ball again - just out of curiosity. 

Reconnecting with soccer five years after my career came to a halt has been incredibly rewarding. 

My fear of soccer that used to consume me has dissipated and I no longer feel like I have to ignore it anymore. The fear came from a place of self preservation - of moving on. 

But I can be free from that now. I feel like I can finally acknowledge what soccer used to be to me and what it still can be. 

Previously, my disappointment didn't allow me to welcome any bit of the sport back into my life, no matter how small. 

Today, I enjoy just kicking around a ball in my backyard all by myself. There’s no pressure, just fun. It makes me feel like a kid again and reminds me of how passionate I once was about this game. 

The emotions I felt when I was younger, knowing I had lost something so immensely important to me, have faded away and become something worth being excited about. 

The fact that I will never be able to participate in the sport at the capacity I once did doesn’t mean I have to abandon it all together. I think I have found a new way to love soccer. 

I know a lot of serious athletes understand the feeling of not being able to play anymore due to uncontrollable circumstances. 

It shakes you when you realize you have to find a way to move past something you spent so much time dedicating yourself to. 

Sometimes, it even feels like I wasted a decade of my life. 

But, I’ve come to the conclusion that soccer was never a waste of my time despite how that chapter of my life ended. It taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of.

It may have been the end of an era, but new ones started soon enough. I’ve found myself loving new things and now I’m thrilled about revisiting old passions, too.

If you can, pick up a past love of yours. Whether it be reading, painting, a sport, or anything else you can come up with. Try it out. 

You might just fall in love with it all over again.


Recent Posts

See All


  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
bottom of page