Top 5 Reasons To Attend A Gay Soccer Team Fundraiser
#4 - Gay soccer changed my life.
I can say without hesitation that the most defining moment of my coaching career came in July 2006 at the Gay Games in Chicago. To give you a little bit of background, I was going on my third year as the Head Women’s Soccer Coach at NYU and had worked my socks off with little to show yet - although out of conference I was doing well, my conference winning percentage was hovering around a staggering 20%. Ouch.
This photo of the New York Ramblers was taken in Soldier Field at the Opening Ceremony for Gay Games 2006.
So, heading into the 2006 Gay Games with my beloved Ramblers, I selected a First and Second squad to travel to Chicago. Sadly both teams lost just about every game in the opening rounds. One of my players told me I was a f*ing joke of a coach (when I took him off the field), and another blogged he would seek revenge on me because I benched him after scoring an own-goal. I was convinced that coaching was not in my blood.
I walked back to the hotel with one of my players, and found myself complaining about the entire series of events. He stopped me mid-sentence. I can hear his voice as though he’s sitting next to me today. “Amanda… can I tell you something? Uhm…. I’m HIV positive.”
Wide-eyed and speechless, I stopped sniffling.
He continued. “The Ramblers are more than a soccer team to me,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t care about the wins and losses. Sure, the competition keeps me sharp, but this organization has provided me a place for social support and a healthy lifestyle that I wouldn’t have received anyplace else on this earth.”
It was this moment I knew that my ability to affect change through soccer, and not just gay soccer, was greater than I ever imagined. My outlook on my responsibilities as a coach completely changed, and I’m sure my players could feel this confidence as we went on to beat the #1 seeded team and take 3rd place in the tournament.
CLICK HERE for another article by Amanda.