My twin sister Nadia and I have played competitive soccer most of our lives. Playing soccer is my passion. So when we were asked to join our ODP (Olympic Development Program) Region Team for the Interregional tournament I was more than excited. I have been training hard with this program for several years. Over my first few years, I’ve made it through the early tryouts and started playing for my Florida State Team. And eventually selected to the Region level.
Making it to the Region Team’s pool was an honor for sure. But it wasn’t until I was actually called up to play in the Thanksgiving Interregional Tournament that I realized that all my hard work of training has actually helped me break through to the next level. My Sister and I have been pushing each other practically every day to improve ourselves mentally and physically. Whether it be training with Coach Baker and club Team Boca, putting ourselves out there at high-level ID camps, weight training in our school’s gym with our strength trainer Coach Garrish or even setting up our own agility courses in the backyard, we are doing it all. I was determined to make the most of this opportunity and be 100% prepared to be a game changer out on that pitch come Thanksgiving week!
As the final week of the ODP Interregional approached, my anticipation and excitement built. I knew that there would be coaches watching from Universities that I highly respected and I did not want to disappoint. But I was excited to play with the team of girls that shared my passion, girls from all over the country who bring different styles of playing, new stories and experiences. These are my teammates and friends that I only get to see once in a while. Some of them, including my sister Nadia, have been here before. But for me, this was my first big event and I wanted to make them proud by being their go-to player that they can count on come game day.
As ready as I was, I hadn’t prepared for what happened the night before I headed to my tournament. It’s something I’m assuming most players like me never really consider. I’m the type of player as they say, leaves it all out on the field. And unfortunately in my high school game that night, it was no different. I was all in and I ended up getting injured! Not extremely bad. I didn’t get knocked off my feet and thankfully it wasn't a torn ACL injury. I broke my wrist. Simply tracking a player by moving backward and falling on my arm after getting caught up in the turf. Of course, it hurt and looking down at my wrist did freak me out, but this was not as scary as knowing that I just blew my chance of something I had worked so hard for.
My wrist was broken and so was my dream of playing in the Interregional. Fortunately for me, I was still able to attend and support my team. What I ended up getting out of my trip proved to be just as valuable as being out on that field. Over the next several days, It wasn’t so much physical but more mental training that I gained. Being part of my team during our matches, I stood and watched every play. I listened to every instruction and studied every move of some of the best players in my age group. This has proven to be my most valuable training yet. Another notch for experience. Things hadn’t gone as I planned but I now have a new lesson in life.
I’m humbled by that fact that as an athlete, you can get injured at any moment. Your plans can change. But I now know, playing in the game isn’t the only way to become a better player. Standing on that sideline, I gained more responsibility, insight and now have even more appreciation for the sport I love.
Thank you to my coaches, my parents and my sister for being so supportive. I will be back at it with a new fresh perspective in a few short weeks! :)
-Olivia DeMarinis 03 Class of 2021