Izzy’s College Essay


I have never been particularly good at soccer. I am not the most athletic person and I do not like running that much. When I played “travel” soccer with my town, my nickname was Big Foot Izzy, because I always kicked the ball to the other side of the field whenever it came to me. It was pretty effective when I was nine years old, but as I got older, the technicality of the game exceeded what I could do and I quit. At the time, I did not fit in with the other players on my team; they were more skilled at soccer and popular at school, while I tended to hang with the quirkier crowd. I eventually decided that soccer was not right for me and moved on to other sports such as field hockey and volleyball. The truth is that I never really found my home in soccer until I stopped playing and started watching.

During the 2019 Women’s World Cup, I tuned in casually until the final game. I am pretty sure the only reason I watched it at all was because my mom was enamored with Megan Rapinoe. But I planted myself on the couch for all 90+ minutes of the final, never taking my eyes off the TV as the excellence and technique of the players mesmerized me. Right after the final whistle blew, I opened Instagram and followed every single player on the United States National Team. 

From that moment, I fell in love with women’s soccer. I watched every game I could, even ones at 3 a.m. I learned all of the technicalities of the game, figured out how to recognize nuances in play, and enjoyed cheering on my favorite teams. I even watched two or three games at once, when there was just too much good soccer to choose just one game. 

It was not entirely the game of soccer itself that sparked my interest, but more so the players, their values, and the environment surrounding women’s soccer. The twenty-three women I had watched play the highest level of soccer in the World Cup were also in the middle of a very high profile lawsuit, demanding to be paid equally to their male counterparts. Additionally, there were many LGBTQ+ athletes on the team who were unapologetic about who they were. As a young lesbian woman, seeing myself represented by famous professional athletes allowed me to feel more comfortable with who I am. I remember thinking that I wanted to be just like these powerful women who were so confident with their identities and core values.

As someone who does not play soccer, it might seem strange that my role models are professional soccer players or that I spend so much time dedicated to women’s soccer, but I found a home within the sport. I may not be able to curl a crazy shot from the 18-yard box straight into the top corner of the net like Christen Press or juke out defenders with my gorgeous footwork like Tobin Heath, but I can adopt the values they embody in my daily life and feel confident speaking up about injustices as they do. I will never be a professional soccer player, but I can still be just like my favorite players by fighting for what I believe in and deserve and inspiring others to do the same.  I look forward to continuing to watch women’s soccer games and even supporting my local or school teams. I am sure I can find inspiring heroes in many sports, and I plan to keep my eyes open for them wherever I go in the future.

Photo Citations:

Reyes, V. (2018, April 3). Photo by Vienna Reyes on unsplash. Soccer field photo – Free Madrid Image on Unsplash. https://unsplash.com/photos/soccer-field-qCrKTET_09o?utm_content=creditShareLink&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unsplash