Farida Salem

A Heartfelt Message That Changed My Life.

August 21st 2014: As the light began to slowly creep into my bedroom, I opened my eyes and quickly shut them again. “No, I don’t want to wake up now. No no no, let me just slip back into my dreams.” I was drained, both physically and mentally.

My body was completely shattered, all achy and bruised. “What am I doing here? Why am I doing this to myself? I’m clearly not nearly half as good as I thought I was. Might as well call it a day and book myself a flight back home. And even there, I wouldn’t be welcomed as a hero anymore. I have failed everyone I know,” I thought as I curled up in bed and decided to stay here all day.

I held nothing back from myself simply because I had every right to be mad. We are halfway through the season and I still cannot measure any improvement in my game. The people who matter are happy and think I’m doing a good job, but I know that I’m not. I lay there in my bed of sorrows with the words “SPRINT” and “keep pushing” resonating through my head, contemplating all the life decisions that led me to this day. A while later, I sat up and slowly started regretting all the steps I took, all the sacrifices I had made, and all the time I invested in this soccer dream. “I should have stuck to tennis or squash or something,” I whispered to myself, fidgeting, amongst many other ridiculous scenarios that I would never in a million years just so much as consider. Maybe I should have stayed in my comfort zone after all – my kingdom, my utopian world – a place where I was the champion who had already reached her goal. Back there, I was just good; never felt the need to be “better”. Instead, I was bitter, and totally out of control. I felt so alone.

A little later, I was abruptly interrupted by my phone buzz all the way across the room.

“Hey, are you coming to practice today? Do you need a ride?” asked my buddy Carli. I had never missed a session since the beginning of preseason, up to that very day. And just as I was about to say, “Not coming,” I found a message from Cairo. This little angel whom I had never heard of before sent me a beautiful text on Instagram that simply turned my life around.

“Farida,

I’m ______ _______, a 17 year old.

Frankly, I hesitated so much before finally deciding to write this. Actually I thought it was way too lame and cheesy, at least that’s what everybody thought when I took their opinion. But I thought what the hell.

I just wanted you to know that you made a great influence in my life. I love soccer and I’ve played the beautiful game since I was 9, as I specifically remember the first tournament our school team played in when I was in the 4th grade.

However I have never played in an official team in my life. I only played for the school team. Because I never thought it can ever happen to me, and that it never will and never did happen to anyone (a girl). So I gave up and drowned myself in depression. Watching the USWNT being my inspirational team. Till coincidently, I saw you on YouTube and watched all the interviews and practically stalked you but of course with no false intentions hahaha.

Anyway I didn’t want to bother you with all this. But I just wanted you to know that you were someone’s role model. Because after I saw you, I knew then at the exact moment that when you do work hard God will pay you off real good. To equalize all your hard work and passion. Because whenever I’d talk about my love to soccer or how bad I want to be a part of a team people would take it for granted and make fun of girls playing soccer. At least that’s what most of my family members did; they didn’t want me to play and did not encourage me at all. That’s when I took an individual decision to get a summer job. To join a soccer academy and earn every second playing in it. After I took that move people started joining my side and gradually started seeing how this was important to me. And it was a first step to pursuing my dream. As day 1 in the academy was a nightmare, every body treated me as the new girl, but I refused to give up after all the hard work and I vowed to work even harder to prove myself. And thankfully I did, where I jumped from “Group C” to “Group A” just after 3 days of training in the academy.

In conclusion, just keep on doing what you’re doing maybe you’re not only my inspiration, maybe you’ll be the reason that some other girl will pursue her soccer dream. And maybe who knows I could be someone’s role model also later on in my life.

Thank you (I’m grateful),

______ _________.”

Farida Salem

I now understand that I have a bigger purpose in life. I understand that my own personal success (or failure) is not about me anymore. It is about this girl who fought for her dreams, and is (up to this very day) refusing to give up, no matter how hard the road gets sometimes. So I got up, wiped the tears that were streaming down my face, put my cleats in the bag, and grabbed my phone.

“Hey Carli, yes please pick me up. I’m ready!”

3 Comments
  1. Izzy 6 years ago

    Hi Farida, great post! I expect you succeed in achieve all your goals and to continue inspiring young players to pursue their soccer dreams. 😀

  2. Asa 6 years ago

    Thank you Farida

  3. Gina West 6 years ago

    Wow, Farida, you brought tears to my eyes with another beautifully written and inspirational blog. I am so proud of all your achievements so far, your dedication to the game, the positive influence you have on aspiring players and I am really enjoying following your women’s soccer journey, thank you again from all at WSU for sharing it with us, I believe you are a role model to many around the world.

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