At the end of January, everything was good to go. I was signed with one of the five WPS teams. My offseason training was optimal, and I was feeling ready to go. Suddenly out of nowhere, an email was sent from the WPS Union President. WPS was ceasing operations.
The two weeks after this email, I was an emotional roller coaster. For a few days, while I tried to get my head around the situation, I played the blame game. My family and friends did not understand what happened, so they questioned my career. They asked if playing was really still worth it. Once I realized there was no use to figuring out why it happened, I nervously weighed my options.
Unlike some players, retiring just because there was no WPS, was not an option. I had been training hard this past offseason, in preparation to compete in the best league in the world. I wasn’t going to let that go to waste. I never even gave myself the choice to stop playing.
A few of my friends and former teammates entered the “real” world for numerous reasons. The money W-League and WPSL teams were offering weren’t enough. Or they didn’t want to try out the experience abroad.
The players that were looking abroad, were left in the dust. With WPS folding the time that it did, European clubs already had their allotted foreign players signed or no money was left for the club to give to American players.
Agents were slammed with new client requests. The pool of available American players grew exponentially. Talented and amazing players were stuck with nothing but to wait.
During this time, I felt like that every day that passed was another missed opportunity to find a team to play for. Luckily with the help of my own personal connections and my agent, I signed with a team overseas. When I sent in my contract, it was a huge load off of my shoulders.
I would not trade my experiences playing professionally for anything in the world. My gratitude for the talents and opportunities God has placed in my life outweighs any doubt I had ever had about playing because of what I have gone through.
But it is time to share the dark side. The three years that I have played professionally and the four years I have played semi-professionally, my teammates and I have dealt with corruption-filled drama, greedy backstabbing, and gluttonous egos.
This is not just about the ball.