The Parallels Between my Athletic and Professional Careers

February 7, 2024
3 min read

I played soccer competitively for 23 years; doing so for all those years equipped me with many valuable skills applicable both on and off the field. Being a teammate, I developed effective communication, collaboration and adaptability skills, all of which are essential in a professional setting. Additionally, it helped and equipped me to navigate challenges, motivate others and recognize the importance of teamwork. 

When I started playing, I was surrounded by female athletes in my family and my coaches; as I got older and played more competitively, I had access to a broader support network. Having a larger team around me, including athletic trainers and team support staff, helped me realize how vital it is to feel supported in everything you do, both on and off the field. Feeling supported and providing that in return to others helped me build and foster meaningful relationships between  my teammates. As our coaches told us repeatedly, you win together as a team. The same is true in a corporate setting. 

During my high school and collegiate years, I had to juggle my commitments to soccer, attending classes, completing coursework, working a part-time job and having a social life. This experience helped teach me time management and effective planning skills, both personally and professionally.

Through my soccer career, I became a leader by being vocal during practices and matches, mentally motivating myself and my teammates to play our best. I learned that different teammates needed different motivations at different times. As a leader, I rallied the team not just in moments of celebration but in challenging times too. The same is true today. 

Prior to working in a corporate environment, I was a teacher for 8 years. As a teacher, my students all looked to me to guide and encourage them. Together with my fellow teachers, we worked tirelessly together toward achieving the same goals, just as my teammates and I did for all those years.  In my role as an account manager at Next League today, I recognize more and more how much my athletic career has helped me be as successful as I am today. While practicing for a match involves different (physical) skills than preparing for a big presentation, I approach them the same way - practice, prepare and approach with confidence. 

Though I have ‘hung up my boots,’ the learnings and experiences from my athletic career are with me every single day. Between managing concurrent tasks, working with many people, continuously learning new things and providing and receiving feedback, the similarities between my athletic and professional careers are profound. I would not be the person I am today without those experiences. The best part is that although I am no longer playing, I still feel connected to the sport as the memories and lessons learned live on daily.