Guest Blogger: Courtney Hofer
People often ask me how I’ve gotten to where I am, and my answer has always been hard work. I put my head down and grind, relentlessly pursuing my goal of playing professional soccer. However, after signing my contract with Empoli FC women’s team and reflecting back, my answer to that question has changed.
Working hard has allowed me to have success, but I now get to live my dream of being a professional soccer player because of the people around me, the people who have unconditionally been there for me, the people that have picked me up and helped me back to my feet. The people I have surrounded myself with, by choice, by luck, and by happenstance have all played a critical part in my career.
I have been extremely fortunate to have many incredible people in my inner circle. Like many athletes who have reached the professional ranks, I have endured heart-wrenching obstacles from career threatening injuries to being benched. My rise to becoming a pro was anything, but smooth. But, no matter how low I was feeling, the people around me were always there to pick me up. When I was too exhausted to keep fighting my way back from injury, they took over and carried me until I was ready to fight again. When things were hard, they were the shoulders I cried on, and the people I sought for advice and mentorship. Not only do these people help me during the hard times, but they are also the ones that push me farther than I would manage alone and bring me out of my comfort zone, helping me grow, making the good days better.
When I was given my contract, the first thing I did was call my parents: the people who have provided everything I could have ever asked for and allowed me to “do me”. After I got off the phone with them, I immediately started texting my inner circle. As I sat there, full of emotion, I was so grateful. It was not just my contract, but our contract. Each person sacrificed something to help boost me up and push me forward. I am eternally grateful to have these people in my life. The intense gratitude I have for their support and encouragement is immeasurable. Through the good and bad days along the journey, in the gym, out on the field, in the classroom, and in life, I know I am never alone.
My biggest piece of advice to aspiring athletes is to surround yourself with people who are there to pick you up and keep you on track. Find people who will support you unconditionally and help you achieve your dreams and goals on the field and in life. Seek out coaches for whom you want to play, find teammates and other athletes that will push you on the field and in the weight room. Alone you can probably be darn good at your craft, but when you surround yourself with the right people, you can be great!