In this blog post, University of Florida senior goalie Olivia Cole was kind enough to share her story. Many of us, including myself, faced the hardship that comes with being the star in high school and coming to college and suddenly realizing it's not exactly the same. For many of us, you work hard and you trust improvement and playing time will come. However, sometimes that is not always the case. Sometimes, that's just not meant to be your role. It doesn't mean you aren't good, as Olivia says, but it changes your role on the team. This happens to a lot of players, but mainly to goalies, since only one can play at a time. If you're in this position and find yourself not playing despite your best efforts, please keep reading. Thanks again Olivia for sharing.
I started every game in high school, had over 500 career saves, played in 3 state and conference championship games, was a 2 time all state, all conference, and All-American. I felt on top of the world my senior year of high school when I was selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game and it was a dream come true, I helped my high school win its first state and conference championships.
I was heading to the University of Florida one of the top lacrosse programs in the country, I was hoping that I would get there and make an immediate impact. I had a good fall ball I was playing well with and against some of the top players in the country that were on my team (Shannon Gilroy and Nora Barry). Going into the spring I felt that I deserved to be starting and playing good minutes, I was unfortunately very wrong. I did not play a single minute in the first 3 games of the season, I couldn’t remember the last time that I was standing on the sideline. After the year was over, I felt that I needed to go to the head coach and asked what I could do over the summer to get better and improve my game to hopefully get more minutes during my sophomore year. I did everything that she asked of me over the summer and was determined to have a better sophomore year.
Going into the fall of my Sophomore year I felt good and was more determined then I had ever been. We now had three goalies on the team and all of us were good. Throughout the fall, I was not doing as well as I had expected to and because of that our freshman goalie was getting played over me and I was bitter about that. Well that ended up transferring into in the spring where I played less minutes then I did my freshman year. My sophomore year was one of the toughest years mentally for me in all of college because of it. I questioned my coaches’ decision every game of why I wasn’t played when I thought that I deserved to be playing. I was so bitter and angry with everything that was happening, and I had thoughts of transferring and going to a school where I knew I would play. A conversation I had with a goalie who graduated 3 years earlier changed my mindset about the whole situation.
Long story short, I am now a senior and I still have never started a college game. I accepted the fact a long time ago that I may never start a game in my career and I am totally ok with that. Yes, I know that may sound crazy, but it is something that I accepted a long time ago. I was told by the former Florida goalie, “If the coaches did not think that you were good, then you wouldn’t be here.” I realized that me working my butt off in practice to make it hard for the attackers and midfielders to take better shots. Them working on taking better shots in practice will translate to them scoring the goals in big games and in the post season. As a goalie, working hard in practice everyday will not only help the shooters on the team but also the defenders and the other goalies (if there are any). If you ever find yourself in a situation similar to the one that I am/was in, then always remember that you are a good goalie regardless of the amount of playing time that you are getting. You would not be where you are at today without the hard work that you have put in the offseason and keep working hard because the hard work does pay off, although you may not see it right away it will come.
If you ever want to reach out with questions, comments or concerns then just email me; firstname.lastname@example.org